Birthday cake in a jar, deep-fried pickles and a perfect vegan lasagna. These are a few of the recipes you can find and share with Foodily, an online recipe index. Today the company released a new Facebook app, establishing it as more of a social tool than just a browser for food.
The Foodily Facebook app helps food lovers tap into recipes from thousands of food blogs and websites without leaving the Facebook platform. A visual recipe search and a social feed of friends’ recipes help people discover, share and comment on food. Foodies can invite and follow new friends, or follow popular topics to stay updated on the latest food trends (kale in, spinach out).
“I get most of my recipes from my friends and family,” says Andrea Cutright, CEO of Foodily, during a visit to VentureBeat HQ. “Food is one of the most social things we do. We include people in the whole process, from finding recipes to eating together.”
In other words, food is a social experience from soup to nuts. (I couldn’t resist.) The Foodily Facebook app offers more refined and friend-approved recipes than you would get by plugging search terms in Google. Foodily’s app displays how many friends have recommended a recipe on a food website and who has added a recipe of their own. Foodily could very well mark the end of my recipe book collection.
“Foodily means everybody participates in one really awesome cookbook,” says Cutright. “We’ve been in beta for five months [with the Facebook app] listening to our users. Getting food right requires that level of attention.”
This app will help set Foodily apart from other food websites like Epicurious, which also does a great job of helping people find recipes. Unlike Epicurious, Foodily aims to be more of a social experience than just a food-finder. There’s also a social network called FoodCandy (currently in beta), but Foodily has paid more attention to user interface and design. GroupRecipes is another food network, but it focus more on “what’s popular today everywhere” than “what’s popular with people you follow.” Foodily is hoping their social focus will set it apart from the pack of food networks.
Before founding Foodily, Cutright (on the right, with co-founder and CMO Hillary Mickell), spent nearly a decade at Yahoo in roles spanning domestic and international marketing. Cutright is perfectly put together. She wears pearls and a cardigan, looking like an Anthropologie model. She can cook food that requires several unusual utensils and exotic ingredients I’ve never heard of. What’s more, these dishes probably all come out perfectly and are served beautifully. I really want to dislike her. But I can’t.
“Two-thirds of Foodily visitors were already sharing recipes on Facebook,” says Cutright. “And the average Facebook user has 40 page views per visit. We’ve been focused on the quality of engagement, since this is a social platform. Ten-percent of Foodily visitors are consuming 200 or more page views per visit.”
She adds that two million recipes are “touched” a month on Foodily. During our demo session, we looked at about 30 recipes in 15 minutes, including a fried pickle recipe that uses Saltine Crackers.
Foodily’s recipe index sources mainstream food sites to independent food blogs. I did a search for “vegan burgers” and 271 recipes appeared, all of them relevant. There’s also a search option for “without” so you can search for recipes for your allergic friends and family. People can search by diet-type, calories, fat content and other nutritional values.
Based in San Mateo, Calif., Foodily is backed by Index Ventures. It isn’t turning a profit, yet, but the company will be able to make Facebook’s platform a conversation started between brands and foodies. Brands will be able to reach people, about 750 million of them, who already care about their products on Foodily.
“Saltine Crackers can reach out to the people who use that fried pickle recipe and offer deals or other recipe suggestions,” says Cutright.
I notice she has something tiny in her front tooth while she says this, and I point it out, evilly gleeful to have finally found something imperfect.
Photo Credit Sami Naffziger