From Cookbooks to Wellness Apps. A Market Evolution.

I was standing at the kitchen bench the other night, knife poised scanning my phone for my next dinner ingredient. I then wiped a little olive oil off the screen, when it suddenly occurred to me that my whole recipe finding methodology had completely changed in the last few years. Gone are the days of my spaghetti sauce stained cookbooks sprawled across the kitchen bench.  I glanced at my top cupboard where once well-thumbed tomes stood looking a little forlorn and stained. With a guilty thump I thought, too much effort.

I’ve also said a happy farewell to charging down the supermarket aisle with my scrawled lists on the back of an envelope and vague menu planning references to recipes in various cookbooks. Menu plans that took me a good hour to put together. These days, I select my recipes for the week and I generate a shopping list on my phone or tablet with a tap of my finger. Done. I do this through a variety of apps. Usually through my favourite chefs or cooks. They do tend to fall into a new category as well.

The Wellness Chefs.

A millennial term for a group of chefs who specialise in producing health packed, allergen restricted formulas for culinary goodness. These chefs have also embraced blogging, podcasts and YouTube and own the social media and culinary wellness space. People like Sarah Britton and Ella Woodward have become social media celebrities with their mobile recipe apps.

It is no longer good enough to “just” produce a cookbook. Now, the expectation is to create a recipe app that includes recipes, shopping lists and menu plans. The wellness chefs are taking it one step further again and creating wellbeing apps. These apps include things like allergen advice, calorie information and various health and wellbeing tips. Chefs, like Australian Peter Evans, have even created their own online wellness ten week program.

The wellness app market is one of the largest growing markets and mobile health is predicted to generate $21.5 billion by 2018 according to BCC research*. Kim McCosker is a cook who has recognised the new trend and embraced it wholeheartedly. Kim is creator of the internationally best-selling 4 Ingredients cookbooks. In fact, the 4 Ingredient cookbooks are Australia’s highest selling self-published cookbooks. Created for busy mums, she originally sold the cook books door to door.  Eight million books later and with over twenty titles to her name, she is one of Australia’s most successful business women.

The 4 Ingredients team moved into the app realm in early 2012 with their highly successful recipe app.  They recognised that people are now following a specific eating plan for health reasons and still want to lose weight and have convenient meals. 4 Ingredients recently launched their latest app 4I Wellness as a result. Created by Appfactory for 4 Ingredients, the app is not just a list of delicious, easy to prepare healthy recipes. It also includes simple shopping lists and detailed allergy advice for those with medical concerns.

4I Wellness app recognises that we want it all. We want healthy eating, deliciousness, just a few cupboard based ingredients and not too many calories. It delivers.

One of the things that marks the the 4I Wellness app as unique, is that it has a special search function enabling you to select meals in a certain calorie range. Wanting to eat paleo, sugar free or gluten free? The app enables you to also search via dietary type.  Losing weight and wanting to stick to a particular way of eating has never been so easy. Most people who use the internet to find recipes usually search via ingredient. The 4I Wellness App has also incorporated that functionality into it’s search engine.

In the year 2014 to 2015 cook books sales declined by 11% in the UK based on research by Rachel’s Organics*.  The research also suggests that half the women over 55 don’t use cook books anymore. They prefer to go online and use apps for their recipes.  Most cooks would be cringing at the growth in the mobile wellness market and decline in cookbook sales. Kim McCosker, however,  has embraced the new trend. She has made all her recipe books available for purchase electronically via the app at a fraction of the price.

4 Ingredients and Kim McCosker are taking the wellness app market by storm. This app transcends cook books and traditional recipe apps. It embraces the health and wellbeing benefits that nutritious food brings and incorporates that with lifestyle tips that nurture  your wellbeing. In her own words, “It’s about the food that will nourish, benefit and heal you.” She is well and truly part of the wellness app evolution.