Ed Kaczmarek, Director of Innovation, Consumer Experiences at Kraft Foods says that the goal of their iFood Assistant smartphone application is to engage the consumer in a meaningful and relevant way. It does this by trying to mak

e life easier and get closer during the point of purchase. He explained further in his eMarketer interview today.

The iFood Assistant first launched in November 2008, and released its 2.0 a year later. $0.99 app has over 7,000 recipes, cooking tips, a shopping list builder and how-to videos with Kraft brand ads. The What's On Hand search enables the user to type in up to three items and the app will find recipe suggestions for those items.

Kraft promotes the app to consumers through all of its various channels - KraftFoods.com , KraftCanada.com, and a weekly e-mail. But they have concentrated on the mobile ad network, and because of this are able to track actual conversion.

Integration of the app with KraftFoods.com enables users to access their iFood Assistant information, recipe box and shopping list on the Web site as well. This usability gives the iFoods platform a social hook, since users can e-mail recipes or shopping lists to themselves or friends. So far, members cannot upload their own recipes, but push notifications means that users can set reminders of Recipe of the Day or Dinner Tonight, and they receive the announcements even when the app is off.

Kraft Foods does not share download information, but their numbers show sixty percent engagement after six months. This is compared to about five percent continued engagement after two months, in Kraft's own statistics.

The customers that actually use the app were surprising to Kaczmarek. About 25 percent of users are men. "Also, over 90% of the people signing in to the iFood Assistant are new to the Kraft Foods environment." He observes that "when people share recipes, they definitely e-mail them more than they send them via text message."