- Kraft Heinz has launched a food-focused digital platform called What's Cooking in partnership with celebrity chef Edward Lee, per a press release. The platform is an innovation out of the company's digital lab in Toronto.
- Formerly a print publication, What's Cooking will allow food creators to share content, engage with audiences and collaborate with other creators. During a beta phase beginning this month, the platform will showcase Lee before adding other food creators who will be able to commercialize their content.
- The content push is part of Kraft's larger efforts around digital technology, and follows the creation of an advanced data platform, per the release. It is also part of a broader trend by CPG brands that have looked to boost the creator economy.
Kraft Heinz's What's Cooking digital platform seeks to help the CPG marketer engage with home cooks. As the press release notes, many people have discovered or rediscovered home cooking during the pandemic, and are now looking to add some excitement and variety to their routines. Notably, What's Cooking will be targeted at these home cooks, offering everyday content rather than the trending, cutting-edge material found in many food publications. This approach could help the marketer demonstrate new ways to use pantry staples like Heinz Ketchup, Kraft Macaroni & Cheese and Philadelphia Cream Cheese as it looks to build on pandemic-spurred gains.
To launch the digital platform, the marketer has tapped Chef Lee as creative director. The Louisville-based, Korean-American chef has appeared on "Iron Chef America" and "Top Chef," and won a James Beard Award for culinary writing. The partnership with a leading food influencer could help extend the reach of the platform.
Beyond Chef Lee, Kraft plans to use What's Cooking to boost a variety of food creators, who will be able to manage and monetize content while they engage and grow their audiences. These creators will be able to work with Kraft Heinz brands but also showcase food that is unique to their style, heritage and audience, per the release. This focus on partnering and boosting authentic creators comes as marketers including P&G, Doritos and Häagen-Dazs have launched initiatives to boost diverse creators across the art and advertising worlds. What's Cooking is currently recruiting creators on its website.
The digital platform comes as Kraft Heinz invests in digital technology and talent, including the advanced data platform mentioned in the press release. The company expects to spend $100 million more than what it spent on marketing in 2019 and has plans to create an internal digital arm focused on new content and the "speed of culture," said Kraft Heinz U.S. President Carlos Abrams-Rivera at the Consumer Analysts Group of New York in February.
To that end, Kraft Heinz also recently teamed with Walmart to feature the CPG marketer's food products across Walmart Cookshop, the retailer's video shopping hub that is powered by interactive technology firm Eko. Both the Walmart partnership and the What's Cooking platform can help Kraft Heinz engage with consumers who are spending increasing amounts of time on digital content, a trend accelerated by the pandemic.
Additional reporting by Megan Poinski.