Free Business Idea!

This week’s Foodie topic has to do with my home away from home, the supermarket (head faked you there – it’s not the golf course!).  I don’t know about you but I seem to spend more time dodging folks yakking on their cell phones than I do perusing the specials as I’m pushing my cart around.  While it’s an almost infinite source of comedic relief, it also can be frustrating when items I need are blocked by someone checking their email or confirming a recipe with home base.  Of course, to me that’s a missed opportunity.  Let’s see what you think.

The interior of a T & T store

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I rarely go to the market with a menu in mind.  As my wife is sick of hearing, my philosophy is “let’s see what looks good” and building around that.  Once I’ve sorted out the best looking proteins and produce, I will often fire up a favorite recipe app to find inspiration and a bit of guidance (and yes, I stand off to the side and not in an aisle).  What’s missing in this app is the free business idea but it also points to something we all might consider as we’re developing new products.

None of the recipe apps I’ve found are integrated with their locations, meaning the store.  Wouldn’t it be great if the store’s price, inventory, and aisle data (where in the store the product is) could come up as part of the shopping list generated by the recipe?  I can’t tell you how frustrating it is to settle on an idea and then find out the store doesn’t have a key ingredient or they’re out of stock or it’s very expensive or I just can’t find it.

I can hear you telling me about the obvious problem:  all the various food companies and supermarket chains would have to cooperate to produce a common set of data, and why would they do that?  Why should Stop & Shop let Shop Rite see their pricing and inventory (as if it was a secret)?   Because it’s the right thing to do for the customer, and that’s the business point we always must consider.  The reality is that these chains don’t compete that much on regular pricing – a lot of it is on location and specials.  Moreover, if the app is designed to help the customer already in the store, so the cooperation is unlikely to cost much.

If you know of such an app, that integrates recipes with store information, please let me know.  Some smart chain will produce one that’s chain specific; we’d all be better off if there was something universal.  Who’s going to step up and take the free idea?

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