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12/02/2021

Blue Apron voice-enables shopping, recipe help

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Blue Apron

A leading meal kit delivery service is expanding into an emerging shopping channel.

Blue Apron is now allowing customers with Amazon Echo Show voice devices to order select meal kits, with no subscription required. A selection of meal kits is available to order each week and feature a variety of Blue Apron categories, including Wellness offerings, Quick & Easy Family recipes, Butcher Bundles, and Meal Prep kits.

In addition, the company is making recipes available via the Amazon Alexa voice device. As a result, customers can prepare their Blue Apron two-serving and four-serving recipes with hands-free instructions on Alexa-enabled devices. The cook-along feature on Alexa-enabled devices allows customers to follow step-by-step recipe instruction prompts, with the option to set the pace.

Omnichannel recipe planning apps and services are becoming more common in the grocery vertical and beyond. For example, home goods retailer Williams Sonoma recently introduced a new recipe app, which provides access to thousands of the retailer’s recipes and instructional videos developed and tested in the Williams Sonoma Test Kitchen.

Users of the iOS app will also have access to exclusive content, how-to videos and tools that assist with building grocery lists, and creating virtual recipe boxes to organize recipes and assist with menu development. App functionality also enables users to browse recipes curated around a specific cuisine, season, ingredient, holiday, or kitchen appliance. A cooking classes section in the app provides recipe guides and videos to teach users cooking techniques or tips for working with various ingredients.

Albertsons and Walmart have also recently launched digital recipe planning services. Albertsons entering a new multi-year agreement with Pinterest to enable its customers to discover and shop food items via the visually-oriented social platform. Meanwhile, Walmart is teaming up with multi-platform media company Meredith Corp. to turn meal planning into a shoppable e-commerce experience. Through the partnership, Walmart is offering online grocery customers artificial intelligence (AI)-based services such as meal planning, shoppable recipes, visual search, and chatbots.

Voice assistants are becoming a more popular digital commerce channel, especially among valuable Gen Z consumers, according to a recent survey from Brightpearl. Results indicated two-thirds of Gen Z shoppers have used non-traditional ways of spending in the past year, with 35% using Amazon Alexa.

This collaboration with Alexa is part of Blue Apron’s plan to double the number of its partnerships in 2022, while continuing to invest in current brand and acquisition partners.

“We continue to add more product flexibility that addresses our customers’ diverse cooking interests and desire for unique flavors. Through this collaboration, Alexa customers in the U.S. can now prepare our delicious recipes in a new and convenient way,” said Dani Simpson, Blue Apron chief marketing officer. “This is just the start of our work with Alexa as we look forward to expanding this partnership in 2022.

“Our current work with Alexa, along with our plans to expand our partnerships throughout 2022, are part of our efforts to substantially grow our customer connections, which we expect to be a key contributor to increasing our engagement and retention rates,” continued Simpson.

For more information about Blue Apron’s partnership with Alexa, visit cook.ba/amazonalexa.

Launched in 2012, Blue Apron offers fresh, chef-designed recipes.