PORTLAND, Maine - Hannaford Bros. is the latest supermarket retailer to test recipe kiosks in selected stores.
ShoptoCook, Buffalo, N.Y., recently installed kiosks in two Hannaford stores, one in an upscale Portland community, and the other in a rural area in Gorham, Maine. Each store has two kiosks - one in the fresh meat and seafood department and one in fresh produce. The retailer declined to comment on the test, but officials at ShoptoCook told SN Hannaford is evaluating the kiosks and does not have immediate plans to add them to other locations.
"The usage has been very high," said Richard Engl, ShoptoCook's executive vice president.
The touchscreen kiosks are designed to attract shoppers - and ultimately boost sales - by providing access to recipes. After customers scan the bar code of any meat, seafood or produce item, they are given three recipe options. They can print the recipes or further refine their search based on need, such as kid-friendly menus, healthy options and meals that can be made in under 30 minutes.
Each kiosk is store-specific, both in design and content. Typically, the content changes on a daily or weekly basis, depending on the season and events going on within the store. In the Hannaford stores, the units include many of the retailer's corporate-brand "Inspirations" recipes.
ShoptoCook also installed kiosks in three Bloom stores, a Food Lion banner, in Greenville, S.C., with four more planned for later in the year and five scheduled to open in Charlotte, N.C., in addition to the one already there. By the end of the year, 40 Washington-area Food Lion stores will be relaunched as Bloom stores, and will be set up with the recipe centers.
The Bloom stores already had similar kiosks set up at the time they opened, but not with the ShoptoCook content. It includes produce information, recipes, wine information, a kid's corner and price checks, said Bloom spokeswoman Karen Peterson.
"Our kiosks have been very well-accepted and the customer reaction has been excellent," Peterson said. "We certainly anticipate that this new technology will be well-received as well."
ShoptoCook kiosks, programmed with thousands of recipes that shoppers can print out and take home, have been set up in approximately 250 stores with several more coming in the next three months. Frank Beurskens, chief executive officer of ShoptoCook, anticipates having about 1,800 in food stores by the end of next year.
Research has shown that 70% of consumers do not know what they are having for dinner even by 4 p.m. With those folks in mind, supermarkets have enhanced food-service departments and increased the variety of prepared foods. But for people who want to make their own meals, the recipe centers are billed as a solution to the dinner dilemma.
Providing consumers with easy recipes also encourages them to try new foods, Beurskens said.
"If you picked up a kiwi, you could find plenty of options for what to do with a kiwi besides just eating it," he remarked.