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Summary:

Community cooking portal Allrecipes.com recorded record traffic over Thanksgiving, but what’s most surprising is where that traffic came from: 41 percent of its visits came from a smartphone or tablet. Allrecipes started out as a web enterprise, but it’s quickly turning into a mobile one.

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As you might expect, Thanksgiving is a huge event for Allrecipes.com, the web’s leading community cooking portal. In the 24 hours before Turkey Day commenced, cooks visited its site 7.9 million times searching for sweet potato casserole recipes and watching instructional videos on how to brine large fowl. But what’s most interesting is how many of them were accessing its services from mobile devices: 41 percent.

In fact, the week before Thanksgiving Allrecipes recorded 12 million sessions from a mobile browser or app, up 97 percent from the same week the previous year. Home cooks aren’t just using the internet as a valuable culinary tool, they’re using their smartphones and tablets to bring that tool directly into kitchen. They aren’t just searching for recipes either. They’re often looking for instructions on cooking techniques. That week 1.6 million visitors watched instructional videos on the Allrecipes sites, an increase of 200 percent over last year.

Allrecipes wasn’t the only online cooking resource to have a big Thanksgiving. Crowdsourced recipe portal Food52 saw inquiries to its Hotline mobile and web cooking questions app jump 147 percent the week of Thanksgiving as compared to its usual traffic levels. Its recipe page views increased 82 percent for the same period.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock user koya979

  1. I love recipe websites – the astounding popularity of these sites doesn’t surprise me a bit. In fact, I’m always a little surprised when I see hardcopy cookbooks on people’s gift giving guides because they seem somewhat obsolete these days.

    The best part about the recipe sites is that they capitalize on the user-user interaction that we have grown accustomed to from social media. What did other people think of the recipes? What tweaks did they make? I think these features sound the death knell for hardcopy cook books in the next generation of cooks.

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    1. I Rebecca,

      Personally I love a good cookbook and I don’t think a loose collection of online recipes can replace it, but I think you’re definitely right: the hardcopy cookbook is threatened. I think cookbook authors need to adapt, release useful digital versions of their cookbooks (not just simple e-books) and provide means for those social interactions and other features you referenced. The problem is as soon as you digitize a cookbook you lose control over it. You can’t copyright a recipe.

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      1. I can certainly understand your affinity for real cookbooks. This Thanksgiving my mom (who is very up to date on tech for baby boomer) pulled out her old Renny Darling cookbooks that were relics from her childhood and it did give a warm fuzzy feeling. So I guess the good news for cookbook authors/publishers is that the people who will continue to use cookbooks will do so for their own personal reasons of preference, regardless of if they could find the same or similar recipe online.

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      2. I think Rebecca makes great points, but the other problem is that cookbooks aren’t very portable – they are heavy! I also agree that a loose collection of online recipes isn’t much more portable. AllRecipes’ mobile apps popularity proves that recipe portability is becoming more important. I’d note that their apps let you access AllRecipes recipes on-the-go, but I personally use BigOven to take ALL my recipes with me on my mobile devices wherever I go – in the kitchen, to the grocery store and on vacation. I like that I can add any paper recipes to BigOven privately – without typing – to make them ALL portable. (Disclaimer: I do work for BigOven but also use it myself)

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      3. Great lead Kate, thanks! I’m not familiar with BigOven but I’ll check it out!

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  2. Nicholas Paredes Thursday, November 29, 2012

    I cook well enough to use cookbooks as guides to the consternation of America’s Kitchen. But, quality is always hard to find! The sites the,selves are less useful than the sites of those who know a dish or cuisine intimately.

    Fans are interesting things!

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  3. Procera Networks Thursday, November 29, 2012

    Very interesting article. If you’re into Thanksgiving holiday broadband analytics, check out our Analytics in Motion page; we just published a blog with graphs/data extrapolating which top retail websites got the most traffic during Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and at what times:

    http://aim.proceranetworks.com/2012/11/27/holiday-broadband-analytics-shopping-shopping-shopping/

    Will be very interesting to see broadband analytics around the other major holidays coming up- stay tuned!

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