Food Goes Mobile With Tastemade
Steven Kydd says he sees a bright future for mobile technology. It doesn't hurt that his view includes mobile videos of drool-worthy culinary destinations and milkshakes that beckon you to slurp them through the screen.
In 2012, Kydd, Larry Fitzgibbon and Joe Perez co-founded Tastemade, a platform that lets people create and share content across many kinds of screens, from smartphones to connected TVs.
Prior to Tastemade, Kydd held leadership roles at Demand Media, Yahoo! and 20th Century Fox. He says his Maine upbringing, combined with work assignments around the world, fostered a love affair with food.
“The first time you have Neapolitan pizza in Naples is extraordinary. A real Neapolitan pizza is fundamentally different from American pizza," he says. “[These] were formative experiences for me, and I wanted to create a consumer brand to focus on that."
Milkshakes for a Mobile Audience
Tastemade's first video, the Slacker Shake, highlighted an ingenious way to pull off a milk shake: Combining ice cream sandwiches and milk in a blender. The quick tutorial racked up almost 2.5 million views on YouTube.
“Historically, if you look at food videos online, they didn't look good," he says. "But this one did."
Soon after the launch, Kydd says inquiries came directly from companies that were impressed by Tastemade's content and the audience they reached through channels like YouTube, Facebook, Apple TV and, more recently, Snapchat.
“This younger generation of consumers is probably the most marketed-to generation in the business. They can smell an unauthentic or overly commercial message right away," he says.
Tastemade partnered with Chase Sapphire Preferred® to create the Off-Menu series, which follows chef Aida Mollenkamp's exploration of little-known food destinations in cities like Los Angeles, Nashville and Honolulu. “One of the things we have done successfully with Chase Sapphire is to tell amazing stories and show how Chase can help them learn about food and travel opportunities they wouldn't have known about otherwise," he says.
At the heart of Tastemade is it's community of 1,000 people it calls Tastemakers. “These people are our eyes and ears on the ground in different countries around the globe. This separates us from what others are doing and makes us more authentic," Kydd says.
Kydd hopes to continue to explore content on mobile devices, saying he'll now extend content creation for platforms like Spotify.
“We plan to lead on all of these platforms and forge more to drive value for advertisers. If we do that, we turn Tastemade into a valuable consumer brand like we see those brands from early days of cable TV," he says.
He also hopes to create more brand partnerships.
“It ties back to what we're here to do at Tastemade: To create cool, compelling content, whether it's a longer format like with Chase Sapphire Preferred® or a short milkshake video. We can run the gamut between both those types of formats," he says. “We're thrilled with our trajectory."
Andrea Lynn is a recipe developer and cookbook author, most recently of the culinary guidebook/cookbook, Queens: A Culinary Passport.