iPhone users have steady diet of food apps

August 19, 2009

It’s obvious how connected consumers have become with foods they know, in a period when many find it tough to trust in much.

It’s obvious how connected consumers have become with foods they know, in a period when many find it tough to trust in much. It’s also incredible how Apple can barely meet demand for its iPhone while millions of households struggle to afford to eat well.

Toss these two trends together, shake vigorously and you have a spicy surge of food marketers “trying to hitch onto the iPhone’s success to grow their own revenues,” as Information Week put it.  

Why not? Traditional media ads can’t provide the same interaction, immediacy, utility or fun as an iPhone app that’s on a consumer’s hip when she wants to shop, cook, find a coupon, or locate an eatery where her kids can eat for free. Then there’s the “generally high rate of e-purchases made from iPhones, its unique viewing and touch capabilities, and the tendency of proud iPhone users to show off their apps to friends,” the tech publication noted.

While SupermarketGuru.com wrote about Kraft’s iFood Assistant recipe application when it launched last winter, the e-space has grown crowded since with other CPG, retailer and restaurant converts. Among them: the Whole Foods Markets recipe app and Pizza Hut’s app for ordering meals online.

Dozens of other food-related apps available at www.iphone.com reflect the diverse ways iPhone users relate to foods and the cultural aspects surrounding them. A small sampling:
•    Syncs from Chefslittlehelper.com include recipes from nearly three dozen cuisines for multiple eating occasions. Users can add ingredients to a grocery list or post recipes to a screen in their home kitchen.
•    International cocktail recipes.
•    Pasta recipes.
•    A game called Cooking Dash: DinerTown Studios, in which the player must help feed cast and crew with items from TV-themed restaurants.
•    GroceryiQ from www.coupons.com, and coupon codes from retailmenot.com.
•    Film trailers for serious entries like Food, Inc. and kid’s films like Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs.
•    At “Where Do Kits Eat Free Today?” users can expand the list of restaurants with “cheap or free kids’ meals,” the descriptor says.

There’s plenty of room to grow with this app strategy. This looks to us like a direct way to align a brand with the lifestyles of iPhone users, who love their gadgets for the way they help to simplify and organize each day. CPG, retailers and eateries that delay their entry in this space risk lagging behind their more tech-savvy competitors.