Food52 Breaks Into Retail With Provisions

Foodie site headed by ex-Times scribe sells kitchen and home goods

Food52, a cooking and recipe site backed by Lerer Ventures, has launched Provisions, an online retail space.

The new site is stocked with cookware products, kitchen utensils, spices, etc. The idea is to make Food52 a comprehensive destination for people who love food, said co-founder Amanda Hesser, who previously wrote about food for the New York Times. For example, cookie recipes are featured next to oven mitts for sale in Provisions. 

"Provisions is our opportunity to provide our members and visitors with the goods to go along with all of the cooking content we [produce] everyday," said Hesser.

Food52 waded into e-commerce last year with a test store, which gave the startup experience working with vendors and gaging which products users would go for, explained Hesser. "We took everything we learned and built Provisions," she said.

The Provisions store itself is organized around categories, which include Collections, Kitchen, Table, Outdoors, One-of-a-Kind and Pantry. Collections feature multiple products inspired by a theme or ingredient—such as all the necessary tools one might need to throw a rooftop party. Some products will be exclusive to the site.

Hesser called Provisions "an incredibly natural extension" of Food52, adding that cooks want a place to find trusted recipes and products presented in a compelling way.

To help stock Provisions, Food52 also recruited "scouts" to scour Pinterest for potential sellable items. The scouts initiative meshes with the site's commitment to its community, Hesser said, and in fact the site will feature a scout each week.

These scouts will be incentivized to pick winners. If a scout discovers a product that makes its way into the Provisions store, Food52 will send him or her that item.