First comes the recipe, then the deal


Companies out for cold hard market share will try just about anything these days. Most efforts, at best, are mediocre. Some of the worst are downright funny. But I did find this one intriguing. In the United States, Conagra has launched a recipe website,

Nothing new there right? Manufacturers have had recipe sites for years and some are amazingly popular. Kraft, I'm told, gets visitor numbers that most old-school media companies would drool over. And it's mobile iPhone Assitant app has been a massive hit. Other popular sites: General Mills' and, where you can check out recipes and tour the old man's office.

So what's new about Conagra's site? Here's what: It tells viewers whether the food products used in the recipes are on sale at their local supermarket. It does this using a back-end system developed by a company called Grocery Server that keeps track of weekly flyers in grocery stores in some 55,000 postal codes in the United States.

So when a customer living in one zip code is on the site browsing, say, a spaghetti recipe, the website informs her whether Conagra's Hunt's sauce is on sale down at the local Supervalu.

It's pretty cool stuff. Whether it drives sales remains to be seen. But it does promise one of the holy grails of advertisers these days: hyper-local marketing that reaches people online one neighbourhood at a time–and send them to your store.

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