hen Jodie Blight worked in the finance industry, she had no idea that it was preparing her for the world of food and technology almost 20 years later.
“It was 1999,” Jodie recollects. “I was working for a start-up as their marketing director. They were pioneers, in that they were one of the first organisations to facilitate investment transactions entirely online”. To show potential clients what the platform would look like and how it could work, Jodie went ‘old school’ and developed a mock interface and ‘back-end’ using PowerPoint and Excel.
It’s a story Jodie shies away from but shouldn’t: the same process enabled her to develop her ‘recipeezi’ app, a platform that helps people create shopping lists by scanning the pages of their favourite food magazines or cookbooks. The data the platform collects can help food manufacturers and brand owners gain deeper insight into aspirational versus purchasing behaviour, and assist magazine publishers make better editorial decisions.
Although the app has been solving the “what’s for dinner tonight?” dilemma since 2014, Jodie says that she can trace things back even further.
“Everything started when we moved to Holland in 2004,” she says. “We were living in a small village and all the shops shut at 5 pm on week days. Nothing opened on a Sunday. Food-wise, I got caught out several times. Let’s just say there were a lot of cheese toasties!”.
To adapt, Jodie learned the art of buying in advance; but only just enough as she’d have to get everything home on bicycle. “I couldn’t meal plan for the entire week,” she explains, “but I did learn the art of repurposing. My husband and I love our food, so the thought of dry, leftover chicken just wasn’t palatable. But san choy bow was.So, I learned that I could creatively repurpose, but in a practical, easy way”.
On return to Australia, Jodie’s collection of recipes caught the attention of friends, many of whom encouraged her to self-publish a cookbook.
“The cookbook market is saturated,” Jodie says, “so I knew that I had to do something different. That’s where the idea of combining a cookbook with an app came from”. In what might seem a remarkable dose of Dutch courage, Jodie picked up the phone and called head of books at Big W. One conversation later and ‘thousands of copies’ were ordered.
Astonished, Jodie tightened her boot straps and self-published her cookbook ‘Summer TABLE’.
Now four years into her journey, Jodie comes to the Rocket Seeder program with the goal of scaling the app and developing increased traction with food manufacturers, brand owners, and magazine publishers.
“It’s got enormous potential,” she says. “I’ve developed the app myself and outsourced the coding to a developer”. The emerging tech entrepreneur says that the Rocket Seeder program has been crucial to help her determine the next steps for ‘Hello TABLE’ and ‘recipeezi’.
“Working in isolation has had its challenges,” Jodie says. “Rocket Seeder has helped me take off my blinkers and look at things in new and different ways. It’s also helped being with a community of founders. I’ve been able to narrow my focus and understand the true value proposition of ‘Hello TABLE’ ”.
While the ‘recipeezi’ app is a lifesaver for busy professionals and families, Jodie says that the inherent value is in the data. “We know our consumers. We know they like chicken more than pork and that the most searched recipes are breakfast and dessert. We know how many times olive oil or avocado gets added to a shopping list, and that’s just the start”.
Jodie says that ‘huge amounts of advertising money’ are poured into very large digital platforms, without much insight returned. “These platforms have extremely big audiences, but they don’t give detailed information as to what people are buying, making and eating. ‘Hello TABLE’ can help provide that insight. It’s exciting and I can’t wait to take it further”.