TV in the aisles: Metro’s recipe kiosks

Metro grocery retailer is installing recipe kiosks in its Ontario locations - digital displays that loop food ads on a touch screen and print meal-prep instructions for hungry shoppers.

Some shoppers cruise the grocery aisles aimlessly, looking for inspiration, but they might have an epiphany if they spot one of the new digital display kiosks installed in select Metro grocery stores in Ontario.

In-store promotions are popular among competitors in the consumer packaged goods category, usually vying for the attention of grocery shoppers through displays or flyers. But the kiosk developed by Metro and St. Joseph Content does double duty as it has an LCD screen looping 30-second videos of a meal being prepared. Consumers who have viewed the visual instructions can use the touch-screen display (called ShoptoCook software) to search for the recipe they just saw and print it out. Viewers can also browse a database of an additional 3,000 preloaded recipes, organized by ingredient list, theme or health requirement, such as low sodium and no sugar. The software also explains to the shopper which aisle they can find the ingredients in, and consumers can scan the barcode of a particular product to find out how to use it in a meal.

Brands can advertise on the kiosk, which is currently available at 15 locations across Ontario for the six-month pilot, by paying a monthly flat rate, explains Gillian Kerr, senior director, marketing, Metro Ontario. Brands already on board for the launch include Campbell’s, General Mills and Coca-Cola (for a braised ribs recipe that is made with cola).

‘Everybody has that ‘what am I going to make tonight?’ problem,’ Kerr says. ‘It really simplifies the ‘what’s for dinner?’ task by providing inspiration and ideas, as well as the specific recipe,’ she says.

It’s ideal for the retailer because it increases consumer engagement and sales, but also for brands because they can target consumers at the time they are prepared to spend their money, she adds. ‘They can spend their broadcast dollars on where [consumers] can purchase the products as opposed to a person’s living room.’