Walmart, Meredith look to make food media content ‘shoppable’

Walmart has teamed up with media company Meredith Corp. to help families buy ingredients for meals and prepare them more easily via artificial intelligence-powered meal planning, shoppable recipes, visual search, chatbots, virtual assistants and social media.

Under the partnership, announced Wednesday, consumers will be able to shop for Walmart food and grocery products across Meredith’s portfolio of media brands, including Allrecipes, Better Homes & Gardens, Parents, EatingWell and Real Simple. Through these new “shoppable ad experiences,” customers can access content providing meal solutions and add recipe ingredients directly to their Walmart online grocery cart for pickup or delivery.

Walmart said the partnership “takes the guesswork out of meal planning for busy families” by joining Meredith’s expertise in food content, hyperlocal consumer insights and proprietary technology platform with the long customer reach, broad product assortment, omnichannel presence, and convenient in-store and online shopping experiences of the world’s largest grocery retailer.  

“Finding ways to help our customers live a little better each day is at the heart of everything we do, and that includes helping them shop more quickly and conveniently for affordable, high-quality products,” Sarah Henry, senior director of content and influencer marketing at Walmart, said in a statement. “We know that customers today are increasingly looking to shop in the moment, both on and off our platforms. We are focused on meeting customers where they are discovering inspirational content and enhance the customer experience. This partnership with Meredith is an innovative way we can seamlessly help our customers while putting much-needed time back in their day.” 

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Consumers will be able to search for recipes and shop for Walmart food and groceries across Meredith’s media brands, such as Allrecipes.

Des Moines, Iowa-based Meredith — whose multiplatform media reach 95% of U.S. women — noted that consumers are actively seeking out food and recipe ideas as well as “cooking inspiration.” The company projected that views of “meal plan”-related articles and content will be up 30% across its sites in 2021.

“This wide-ranging partnership with Walmart includes first-party data-driven ‘Make It Easy’ and ‘Kid Foodology’ programs, which reimagine the shopping experience with highly personalized content and ad experiences that deliver unparalleled value every step of the way,” according to Corbin de Rubertis, senior vice president of Innovation at Meredith.

Proprietary tools and content from Meredith and Walmart to aid and encourage meal planning, recipe exploration, and online food/ingredient purchasing will include the following:

• Meredith content taxonomy and predictive insights — including concept demand curves and consumer decision frameworks — will be paired with Walmart’s API technology to match millions of products with consumers in real-time at scale.  

• Visual search technology will enable consumers to photograph ingredients that they have on hand and get meal suggestions using those ingredients.  

• “Allrecipes 30 Minute Meals,” a shoppable “bookazine” with editor-curated recipes, will become available for sale exclusively at Walmart stores this month.

• Allrecipes Action for Google Assistant, a new voice-activated service, will allow consumers with a virtual assistant-enabled smart speaker or smart display like the Google Nest Hub to search for a recipe by ingredient, keyword or dish name through simple language, such as “Hey Google, talk to Allrecipes.” Meredith’s natural-language processing and machine learning technology give a personalized suggestion for a complete meal solution at Walmart for pickup or delivery. 

• A social media promotion launched by Meredith and Walmart enables popular Allrecipes videos to become shoppable through ads on TikTok. Consumers tap the “shop now” button in the TikTok video to load all of the ingredients into a digital shopping cart on Walmart.com. 

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Shoppers will be able to pick meal items for purchase at Walmart straight from a webpage or screen.

“As children go back to school, parents return to the office and the fall season takes shape, Meredith and Walmart will help families prepare meals they’ll love and get them on the table faster,” de Rubertis added. 

Walmart noted that the Meredith partnership provides another catalyst for its growing grocery e-commerce business. The Bentonville, Ark.-based retail giant said Walmart U.S. e-commerce sales were up 103% for the two years through its fiscal 2022 second quarter, with the grocery category being one of the top performers.

“Grocery sales were up 6%, including the benefit from modest ticket inflation and increased low double digits on a two-year stack basis,” Chief Financial Officer Brett Biggs told analysts in a mid-August conference call on Q2 results. “That results in $2.4 billion of growth in food sales year over year and about $5.5 billion of growth on a two-year stack. Strong price positioning, great fresh quality and improved in-stocks are driving results.”