Recipe Platforms for Food Brands: Build vs Buy
Days when a food brand could have a simple recipe blog to meet customers demands are long gone. We are now living in a content-driven economy, in which customers are expecting beautiful and feature-reach websites from every brand, and search engines are setting the bar even higher.
When it comes to re-designing the recipe platform to fit modern demands (or establishing their first platform for new brands), food brands often face the same question: “shall we commission the bespoke development to an agency / in-house developers (build) or shall we buy an existing platform (buy)?”.
This article outlines core key factors to consider when making a decision on the new recipe platform. Specifically, a total cost of ownership of a typical bespoke platform is compared to the cost of ownership of Mealz White Label platform.
For many traditional IT buyers the idea of a one-off build is appealing. It creates an illusion of controlled cost, and cheaper long term ownership, - but in practice, it’s often much more expensive than buying a SaaS solution.
There are many hidden costs in build your own recipe platform, such as:
One-off platform development: $10,000 - $150,000 depending on complexity
Hosting fees: range from $75 to $200 per month
Maintenance fees: at $20 per hour, this will likely be in the region of $3,000 per annum
SEO service fees: from $300 to $2000 per month
Additional features, such as mobile app or Alexa skill: $5,000+
Overall, a typical brand will likely spend in excess of $50,000 to get to the fully-functionally, feature-rich platform that provides value to customers.
In contrast, a white label solutions from Mealz costs $495 per month - a much easier bill to pick up, especially for smaller businesses.
A typical development time for the bespoke recipe sharing platform can be between 3 and 6 months, and sometimes even longer with user acceptance testing included.
Once the platform is developed and launched, it will likely require additional few months to be customised and adjusted to user behaviour and content - generating both financial and opportunity costs.
In contrast, a white-label recipe platform from established software vendor can be deployed in a matter of days; and launched with end-to-end customisation within 2 weeks.
When developing an in-house platform, food brands often choose to limit the functionality to the very basics - such as recipe sharing, article sharing, and sometimes a shopping list functionality.
In contrast, a purpose-build recipe platform includes dozens of other features, such as meal plan publishing, cooking productivity tools, nutrition calculation, automated shopping cart generation and much more.
Each one of those extra features is used either to grow the engagement for the end users, or increase the conversion rate for online product purchases. That means that every extra feature, that is typically not present in an in-house platform specifications, is likely to increase your top line.
The technology evolves faster than ever. As one of the most popular sources of content, recipes will evolve together with technology - and the expectations of consumers will only rise.
Many custom-built platforms struggle to keep up with the changes. For example, in 2015s everyone had to develop an app, and in 2019 - a voice functionality is a must, with penetration of voice-assisted devices across kitchens worldwide. Such features are often neglected due to associated costs, and lead to lost opportunities in the long term.
In contrast, Mealz White Label solution is always up-to-date with the latest technology trends, as well as constantly updating requirements from search engines, and a myriad of new devices and browsers.
All new functionality comes at no extra cost, ensuring that customers who choose a professional hosted recipe platform are always at the forefront of the competition.
Many food brands are facing a build vs buy decision when it comes to establishing a new recipe platform. While one-off investment in a custom-build platform is perceived to be cost-efficient, in reality such route almost always ends up costing more to the brands - both in terms of dollars invested, and in terms of lost opportunities due to inferior functionality.