Take that Jamie Oliver! – F,F & T the app-ening thing

By Peter Kerr 07/08/2012

Today New Zealand, tomorrow the world, the Fast, Fresh & Tasty app is ready to be adapted for any region’s local produce says Emily Loughnan

There’s something intrinsically appealing about a company that plies its trade as digital media consultants pulling off a coup in the smart phone app area.

Wellington Click Suite, an 18 year veteran in the interactive space, “uses our skills for our clients during the day,” says managing director, Emily Loughnan.

“We use our skills for our own purposes by night,” though strictly speaking, its Fast, Fresh & Tasty app gets used all during the day; particularly around the 5.30 – 6pm slot as people decide what they’re going to cook for their evening meal.

The NZ$5.29 app recently went to the top of Apple’s food and recipe apps (beating Jamie Oliver and Nigella Lawson among others!), and Loughnan takes great delight in tracking its metrics, plus comments about FF&T through different social media. It’s about now that thoughts of walking the walk and talking the talk filter through the subconscious.

This included the investment of $50 on Facebook advertising over a month. “That allowed us to test a whole lot of ads,” Loughnan says. “We could see in realtime what worked, what was making a difference.”

FF&T grew out of a Karen Grice idea to set up a kiosk in a supermarket that had recipes. The challenge of being reliant on one of two supermarket chains in New Zealand showed that the business model couldn’t work.

“But we did find that there were a very high percentage of people with mobile broadband who searched for a recipe while they were in the supermarket,” Loughnan says. “Other research showed that most New Zealanders have five to seven dishes that they cook on a regular basis.” “So we knew people had a limited repertoire, but were searching for new ideas”

The Click Suite goal was to inspire, extend and collaborate with makers of local produce.

The app is a collaboration with some of these; for example Silver Fern Farms lamb and venison products.

“In the minds of consumers, we wanted something useful in the ‘what’s for dinner tonight?’ scheme of things,” she says. “We’ve answered that, and given brands an opportunity to be in an app space, at a fraction of the price of doing their own, and give them some cut through to the consumer.”

The app itself provides a number of routes to solution for the ‘what’s for dinner’ question.

Consumers may start with a main ingredient, and can click through to various recipes for say chicken. Along the way a consumer might have an ingredient such as saffron quickly explained.

Alternatively, a consumer may be interested in a particular style of food such as a salad, a soup or barbeque food.

At the same time as they’re browsing, consumers can add products required for a recipe to their shopping list (as part of the app), which in turn can be texted or emailed to a friend if so desired.

However, the killer feature of FF&T, and where none of the global competition has yet gone, is the seasonal approach to providing recipes. The classic hockey stick sales growth graph is proof that the approach is working.

“Normally when people use a recipe app, they use it a bit, but after a while don’t go back to it,” Loughnan says. “But FF&T is used really regularly.”

Part of the reason for this is each season, several new recipes are provided. Currently there are 150 recipes, “which is cheap for a whole cook book with updates.”

Loughnan says that Click Suite went through the same process it applies to outside clients using the digital media company’s services.

This included an initial briefing and research as well as testing throughout development using real consumers.

Click Suite also made a mock up of what the app could look like on an iPhone (without doing any coding), in order to find out peoples’ priorities for functionality.

“That way, we didn’t build functions that weren’t required.”

Loughnan’s clear that FF&T isn’t for every home cook.

“It’s for people who have a high value mobile device, are often busy, and want tasty weeknight meals,” she says. “They’re also more likely to spend more on good quality ingredients.”

The app must be doing something right as there were over 12,000 access to it last month alone.

FF&T’s up for three awards in the upcoming TVNZ Marketing Awards. It is a finalist in the best new emerging business, best technology and best marketing awards.

It also has an exciting international expansion plan underway; bringing local seasonal food ideas to regions all around the world. But that’s another story …

If they win, expect this to be part of the ongoing story as well.

Find out more at www.FastFreshandTasty.co.nz