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Almost 26 years ago, the Food Network introduced the world to all-day culinary entertainment. From the loud beginnings of Emeril Lagasse to the pleasant presence of the Pioneer Woman, the Food Network has been at the center of creating a nationwide addiction to watching food.

Now they plan on elevating the visual taste pallet, once again, by bringing the Food Network directly into the kitchen.

Food Network Kitchen

Discovery has launched a streaming service in partnership with Amazon called Food Network Kitchen, which will cost $6.99 a month (or $59.99 annually) and feature live cooking classes taught by chefs like Martha Stewart, Bobby Flay, and Guy Fieri.

As part of a three-year agreement, the app will be integrated into Amazon Alexa devices like the Echo Show.

Subscribers will also be able to use the app to buy recipe ingredients and have them delivered to their homes via Amazon Fresh, Peapod, and Instacart.

Dami Lee, The Verge

The kitchen is one of the main use cases everyone’s been proclaiming for Echo devices from the beginning. So it’s good to see a major move happening for the Echo Show in the kitchen. It seems to be a bit expensive at $7 per month. But the Food Network is comparing themselves to Peloton – given the similarities in “top talent teaching classes”.

Back in January of 2019, I outlined an identical vision (down to the Echo Show) for BuzzFeed’s Tasty food network. Right vision. Wrong cooking brand, I suppose.

Why We Watch Food

The question I wonder though is whether people actually watch celebrity chefs and Tasty in order to imitate and improve their own cooking.

I’ll watch all of these Chopped episodes and criticize the contestants for forgetting to deglaze a pan or baste the pork chop (terms I’ve picked up from watching the show). Meanwhile, I’ll hop off the couch and go make a ham, egg, and cheese sandwich for the fifth time this week.

Ryan

I think a lot of people watch cooking shows and videos for soothing, cathartic entertainment. Not necessarily for culinary tips.

In fact, one survey about people who regularly watched Tasty videos found that more than 51% of people had never made a Tasty dish and an overwhelming 93% made a Tasty dish less than 5 times. These are numbers I’d presume are representative of the population, as well as people who watch the Food Network.

Criticism aside, there is one extremely genius part about this whole thing.

Impulse Grocery Purchases

The vertical integration with Amazon Fresh is the most fascinating part. Here’s how I see it:

Mom wakes her kids up for school and starts cooking breakfast. The family watches maybe 2-3 of these quick, family-friendly cooking videos during breakfast. The kids tell mom which one they want for dinner.

Mom tells Alexa to order the ingredients for the braised lamb from the Bobby Flay episode, omitting anything she already has. The order is placed. Amazon Fresh delivers it by 3pm.

Voila! A painless way of figuring out what to eat for dinner.

The kids chose a meal that wasn’t chicken fingers or mac ‘n cheese, which makes mom happy. Mom learned how to cook a new meal from front to back, which makes mom happy. Mom purchased groceries from Amazon from a $7 Amazon-partnered streaming service… Amazon is very happy!

I know I’m refuting what I said earlier about people not intending to cook what they watch. However, the above scenario seems far more plausible to me.

Amazon profits every step of the way:

  • They sold the hardware – $80-230 Echo Show
  • They sold the entertainment on the hardware – $7 per month Food Network Kitchen subscription
  • And then they sold the items in the entertainment – $30 in groceries (multiple times a week?)

In a sense, this partnership with the Food Network is more of an acquisition channel for Amazon Fresh than anything else.

On a side note, I wonder if Amazon could replicate this process for other products they’d like to sell on Amazon. Perhaps other household chores/activities. Cleaning videos with Clorox that lead to purchases of cleaning supplies. Home workout videos that correlated with yoga mats, jump ropes, etc.

Evolving This Idea

Lastly, since I already guessed this vision once before, there’s one way I could see this idea being even better.

Most culinary media out there makes you watch the program, get inspired, and then go out and purchase the required ingredients. But the alternate would be much better – a meal search engine based on what’s in your fridge.

An Echo Show application that partnered with Supercook, MyFridgeFood, or AllRecipes would be able to achieve this idea.

Essentially, these are “meal search engines” where you can input the ingredients you already have at home and then they’ll generate what meals you can feasibly create.

Imagine reading off your fridge contents to Alexa. Supercook finds a recipe. And Alexa finds a subsequent video tutorial to that recipe to watch on your Echo Show.

Now, that’s a practical and useful evolution of Food Network Kitchen.

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