LAS VEGAS—Publishers continue to invest in food verticals, from The New York Times’ recent expansion into multi-day events centered on its Cooking app to BuzzFeed building a new line of business around ecommerce with Tasty, and Condé Nast creating a food-centric OTT app with Bon Appétit. Today, food website Yummly is diversifying by getting into the hardware business.
Yummly went live in 2009 as a recipe website catering to particular cooking styles and dietary restriction before it was bought by Whirlpool in 2017. In its next iteration, the two brands are releasing a thermometer, called the Yummly Smart Thermometer, that will let users cook a dish remotely, the company announced today at CES 2o20. The thermometer, the first piece of hardware for Yummly, will be released this spring and retail for $129.
The thermometer can be controlled via Yummy’s app, which can alert users when the dish is ready to advance to the next step (like being taken out of the oven). Or it can be synched with Whirlpool’s smart oven to cook entirely on its own. In this scenario, the thermometer would communicate with the oven about when to turn off the heat or set it to broil, and the oven would adjust accordingly.
“It’s a switch from all this digital content and app development to now getting into physical products,” said Andrew Grose, head of business development and operations at Yummly.
The new product also led to a different way for celebrity chefs like Andrew Zimmern, who contribute to recipes on the Yummly Pro paid app, to think about how to write the how-tos, said Joel Gamoran, the app’s featured chef and content collaborator.
“There’s never been a recipe written like this,” Gamoran said. “It’s literally foolproof. It’s making it so you can multitask, so you can do whatever you want to do and not screw it up. That’s what we’re all freaked out about.”
It’s not the first time a food website has gotten into hardware. BuzzFeed’s Tasty, for example, created the Tasty One Top induction burner that sets its temperature based on the cooking instructions in the app. The rights of that appliance were ultimately sold to Cuisinart to expand the product internationally and a new line of appliances. The Whirlpool and Yummly relationship, meanwhile, was an in-house collaboration.
“We want to be that one-stop shop platform that allows consumers to do anything they need in their food journey,” Grose said.