Introducing Flavor Maker from McCormick: An app to inspire culinary greatness

by: | Sep 25, 2019

If you’ve spent much time in the kitchen, you know that the difference between an amazing dish and “meh” is seasoning. Spices and flavoring are everything. That’s why we’re especially excited to share our latest tasty creation, the McCormick Flavor Maker app for iPhone.

Similar to adding just the right flavors in cooking, building a successful app depends upon understanding how different ingredients in app development, together, can deliver a lovable experience.

When McCormick came to us last year, the company was in the midst of a massive digital transformation. The 130-year-old, $5.3 billion company, with a range of brands and products that are staples at grocery stores around the world, has embraced the opportunities that digital presents. McCormick has optimized product offerings for e-commerce, updated its supply chain and procurement practices, and even started using AI to help define new products. When company leaders considered mobile technology, they saw an opportunity to create a bridge between the brick-and-mortar experience and digital.

As Tom Rowe, McCormick’s digital marketing operations manager, said: “We approached Grey and ArcTouch with a rather simple idea — how do we engage consumers at-shelf and make it possible for consumers to scan our products to get more information. Their teams helped bring it to life with a compelling app experience that was beyond expectations. From strategy to execution to ongoing support, they continue to be tremendous partners in our digital transformation.”

McCormick Flavor Maker AppApp strategy and UX to inspire great food

Just like cooking a meal, a great app starts with great planning — or strategy. App strategy is, as we like to say, the “secret sauce” that can help transform a great idea into a successful app.

We kicked off the project’s strategy phase with a discovery session that included the McCormick digital team, our colleagues at Grey, and our own app experts. While the original idea was to build a scanning app and help consumers get more information about spices while in the store, during our session our teams aligned on a much more ambitious experience. We wanted to not only inspire the flavor obsessed but change how customers shop, use, and perceive McCormick spices.

We created the scanning feature so that you can build your own digital spice rack — and then use it to find recipes for your next meal. But then we also wanted a library of great content that might serve as inspiration for buying other ingredients and replenishing McCormick spices. In the app, you can:

  • Discover from an ever-expanding database of new recipes and how-to videos for any occasion
  • Stay organized by favoriting recipes and creating custom collections
  • Find relevant articles to sharpen your kitchen know-how
  • Build “flavor boards” for planning menus and new dishes to try
  • Add ingredients to a shopping list to track all your grocery needs
  • Purchase ingredients and spices via services including Instacart and Amazon Fresh

And perhaps my favorite feature is the new virtual reality content, dubbed “Fields of Vision.” The VR experience takes people back to the source of some of the world’s most important spices. On your phone or with VR goggles, you can instantly be transported around the world and learn the backstories about how, where and by whom those spices are produced. VR is pretty amazing technology — but the thing I love most is learning the inspiring stories of the people who produce the ingredients I’m about to use in my own kitchen.

McCormick Flavor Maker App VR Experience

The image at the top of this blog post is the original concept sketch that our app design team proposed for this VR experience, and the actual implementation in the app is shown here.

ROI that’s as satisfying as a gourmet meal

Our team has been excited about this project since the first day we met with McCormick. There are more product updates and delicious new content on the way. (We’ll update you on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn, so follow us!)

Of course, even at this early stage, it’s nice to see the rewards from our teams’ collective efforts. The app, as part of McCormick’s digital transformation, helped the company earn the #1 ranking among food brands — and the only “Genius” status — in the recent Gartner L2 Digital IQ Index.

And in the iOS App Store, the Flavor Maker app currently has a 4.6 rating. We’re pretty happy about that. But what do you think? Please do try out the app now and let us know. Your taste buds will thank you.