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New App May Revolutionize the Online Recipe Landscape

Chicory is the latest company to tackle grocery delivery — with a twist.

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Between FreshDirect, AmazonFresh, and Instacart, there is no shortage of services that specialize in grocery delivery. On the other side of things, Plated and the James Beard Foundation's new app assist would-be cooks with meal idea boxes, complete with recipes, ingredients, and instruction. Wired reports that a new company has joined the fray: Chicory is merging the concept of grocery delivery with online recipes. Online recipe editors that partner with the app can display a "Get Ingredients" button at the bottom of each recipe. Want to make that salade Niçoise but don't feel like running out to Whole Foods? Chicory can help: "When users click the button, they can get all the ingredients they need for a given recipe delivered to them from one of Chicory's online grocery partners."

[I]t's reinventing the idea of digital shelf space.

What makes Chicory especially interesting is the marketing power behind its model. As Wired notes: "[I]t's reinventing the idea of digital shelf space." Merchandising in any retail space is big business. The biggest brands pay top dollar on "slotting fees" to secure "prime real estate" on grocery store shelves. Yes, there's a reason Heinz is always front and center in the ketchup aisle. Chicory's Get Ingredients button offers those same marketing advantages to the brands who want to pay for them: "Brands can pay Chicory to guarantee that their products will be the first ones suggested to users for certain ingredients." Does Martha Stewart's favorite macaroni and cheese recipe call for cheddar cheese? Kraft can pay Chicory to be listed as the default cheddar available for instant delivery. Powerful stuff.

Chicory is currently testing its service in New York City with grocery partner Peapod and a few major recipe sites, including MyRecipes.com. With a business model that guarantees profits from both consumers and ingredient providers, Chicory shows a lot of potential. It just has to take off.