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New 'Food & Drink' category goes live on Apple's App Store

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After notifying developers about an upcoming "Food & Drink" designation in the App Store, Apple has launched the new category with thousands of iPhone and iPad apps.

MacStories reported in early July that Apple had sent out emails to relevant developers that their apps would be switched over to the new category. On Thursday, MacRumors noticed that the App Store section was now active.

The category currently has 2,824 paid and 4,040 free iPhone apps and 1,121 paid and 1,039 free iPad apps. It is reportedly meant to include software related to cooking and baking, mixing drinks, recipes, restaurants and bars, and social food recommendation. According to MacStories, "diet, grocery shopping, coupon clipping and food-related game apps" won't be counted.

Apple has been steadily making minor improvements and changes to the App Store in recent months. In May, Apple added an Editor's Choice section to the App Store and began free App of the Week promotions. In March, the company introduced a "Catalogs" category to the store.

Even as it works to improve the digital storefront, the iPhone maker is enjoying the rapid expansion of the so-called "app economy." During its Worldwide Developers Conference in June, Apple revealed that there are over 650,000 apps available in the App Store. Total downloads have surpassed 30 billion and more than $5 billion has been paid out to developers. After expanding to 32 new countries last month, the App Store is now available in 155 countries.