Recipe App Handpick Launches Online Meal Kit Service for the 99%

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Walmart or Costco, the price of a Smart Groceries bundle could be lowered, he says.

Handpick is drawing on the data it amassed for its recipe app to devise Smart Groceries menus from the items found at Safeway alone. The startup has analyzed more than 100 million food-related posts on Instagram, which are searchable by hashtags such as #vegan or #salmon. It discovered trends, such as the ingredients most frequently paired by home cooks, and collected millions of recipes.

Customers will not be required to subscribe to the Smart Groceries service, and they can switch freely among five different menu types: Seafood, “Meat Lovers,” Asian flavors, vegetarian, and gluten-free. The ordering process through a mobile app can be completed with a minimum of taps unless the customer wants to change a default setting, such as the number of food bundles ordered.

So how will Handpick attract customers away from its competitors—or entice people who have concluded that meal kits are beyond their means? Nejati says the company will start by marketing to the thousands of users of Handpick’s recipe app. Once Handpick figures out how to make home cooks in California happy, it will start Smart Groceries pilot programs in other regions, he says.

But he knows the company will need to adapt its recipes, and its categories of cuisine, if Smart Groceries is to gain traction outside the Golden State. The trends picked up by Handpick’s recipe search engine made that clear.

“In Chicago, the top ingredient is bacon,” Nejati says. “In California, it’s kale.”

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