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59pc of millennials use smartphones as sous-chefs: Google

Millennials are increasingly relying on their smartphones for help in the kitchen, as 59 percent claim they cook with their tablets or smartphones nearby, according to a new study from Google.

The revelation of smartphones becoming sous-chefs for a significant portion of the millennial demographic bodes well for culinary brands seeking to target customers on mobile with new applications, recipes and products. These consumers? tendencies to rely on smartphones while whipping up meals also suggests that smart kitchen technology will be on the rise in the next few years.

?This study further highlights the empowerment of the consumer,? said Ken Madden, senior vice president, head of engagement, Shoptology, Plano, TX. ?The behavior revealed in the study is 100 percent led by the needs of the consumer.

?The study showed that 40 percent of millennials choose a brand featured in a recipe because it adds unique flavor,? he said. ?Unless the brand offers a unique value and fulfills a consumer need, it will not stand out.

?And where brands try to insert themselves in a self-serving way, it actually turns the consumer away. For brands that truly understand their consumers and offer a solution that finds the right balance between consumer and brand needs, they will truly connect.?

Aiding culinary processes
The report, commissioned alongside Kraft Foods and mcgarrybowen, found that 59 percent of consumers in the 25 to 34 age range cook with their mobile devices handy, while those over 35 are most likely to use a print recipe for guidance.

Therefore, this posits that younger consumers appreciate having their smartphones and tablets nearby to experiment with new recipes and learn cooking skills, prompting them to enjoy the culinary journey just as much as the final product.

However, 31 percent of millennials surveyed admitted that selecting what dish to cook was the least attractive part of the cooking experience, leaving a wide berth for recipe apps and mobile sites to recommend meals for mobile users.

If consumers become frequent users of a particular cooking app, they would most likely appreciate receiving recipes for previously-made or favorited dishes. This would save time during the culinary process as well as keep users? preferences in mind to offer a customized experience.

However, millennials claimed that adding a personal touch to a recipe is the most important part of the process, with 41 percent interested in learning new kitchen tricks.

Brands may tap into this interest by ensuring their recipes are as searchable as possible on the mobile Web, and targeting repeat visitors with new content.

The right avenues
Marketers in the cooking sector must also realize that millennials typically head to Google Search or YouTube for help, with 75 percent of YouTube?s growth in viewership stemming from mobile.

How-to videos are particularly popular with this demographic. A great way to leverage this would be to team up with a celebrity chef to conduct a training video on how best to cook a dish.

It is imperative for brands to have a presence on mobile and on social sites during the discovery and consideration stages of cooking.

Lastly, when it comes to guidance tools, voice search is indispensable. Twenty-three percent of respondents claim they use during the cooking process, while 68 percent of millennial moms prefer to have videos running while preparing meals.

The commerce potential that abounds following this last step is also massive. Consumers may realize they are running low on a particular ingredient or need a specific kitchen gadget, opening a marketing opportunity for brands.

As consumers? tastes for mobile during cooking are becoming even more heated, smart kitchen technology such as a frying pan that syncs with a smartphone or a system that communicates with other home appliances will likely become more commonplace.

?Brands can also connect through the process, enabling the cooking experience,? Mr. Madden said. ?This is great news for the future of the smart kitchen, where discovery and education platforms will be built into your cooking surfaces and appliances.

?Brands that invest now in platforms that serve consumer needs in the kitchen will set themselves up for future wins,? he said. ?Unilever invested heavily in Yummly at a time when they were also experimenting with owned recipe solutions.

?The jury is still out but this was a smart move. We've seen brands move away from these owned solutions primarily because they just don't make sense.?

Final Take
Alex Samuely is an editorial assistant on Mobile Marketer, New York