A revolution in meal planning and food shopping is about to take place in your computer – homemakers have never had it so good.
There’s fun shopping, and then there’s drudge shopping – the kind of shopping you do at the supermarket. But that could all change soon, thanks to Israeli startup Recipping, a site that helps you to figure out what to make for dinner, which ingredients you’ll need, and how much they’ll cost, while saving you money at the same time.
We all have to eat, so a trip to the market is in order, at least once in awhile. But the current model for where people get their food and how they make their food purchase decisions is a recipe for inefficiency, says Shlomo Shamy, inventor of and chief investor in Recipping’s novel approach to meal planning and food shopping.
While some people have fun shopping at the mall, most don’t find that food markets are such enjoyable places. It takes time to get there and they tend to be crowded. Also, food shopping is a “commitment.” Comparison-shopping is terribly time-consuming and most of us aren’t willing to spend the better part of a day dashing from store to store. Most of us choose a supermarket and hope for the best.
Shamy tells ISRAEL21c that Recipping takes an original approach to food shopping. He calls it ‘holistic’. “We guide the shopping experience for consumers from recipe to plate, helping them to organize their shopping lists, find the best price for products, and have their order delivered right to their door. Consumers save time and money; they get the products they need and want, quickly and painlessly,” he claims.
It all starts with the recipe
It all starts with a recipe, either from your kitchen or from an online recipe site. You can write out your own shopping list, or choose a recipe from one of the affiliated recipe sites, and have Recipping make up a shopping list for you. The site’s application then checks out the prices at local or national chains and presents you with the information.
You can then decide where you want to order your products from, and have Recipping connect you to the supermarket’s online order site, where your shopping basket is already filled with the products you picked on Recipping. All you have to do is click “buy,” submit your payment and delivery information, and the ingredients for dinner are on their way.
Currently, Recipping, based in Rosh Ha’ayin, is in beta, with a Hebrew-only website that links you to recipes on two large Israeli foodie sites, and connects you to the online shopping service at Israel’s two largest supermarket chains (Supersol and Blue Square). “We are working to smooth out all the bugs in the beta, and expect to be able to deploy in the US within the next year,” Shamy says, pointing out that building and maintaining the database for Recipping is a lot of work.
There are sites in the US (and in Britain, another eventual target market for Recipping) that let you compare prices at supermarkets, both online and offline, and there are supermarket sites where you can place orders. But there are no sites, says Shamy, that let you push your recipe ingredients or shopping list to the Internet, check prices at rival sites, and have an order delivered to your house.
“Recipping’s uniqueness is that it takes an overall approach to food shopping,” says Shamy. “Most recipe sites that have links to ingredients are usually sponsored by a food manufacturer, so that’s the product you will be directed to, price notwithstanding. And supermarket sites are usually a hassle to navigate – you choose products by category, so you have to scroll through dozens of options for each item, so making an online order often takes more time than actually going down to the market for your order.”
Recipping born out of a four-hour shop
In fact, says Shamy, it was just such an experience that set off the idea process that resulted in Recipping. “I was in the hospital with my father and had to make sure that the family had supplies. So I checked out a supermarket website and started filling my basket. Between the clicking and price comparing, it took me four hours to make the order.”
Recipping, he says, does the footwork for you, tracking down the products you need and finding the best price, using a unique algorithm that parses Recipping’s extensive database. Not only that – the program even finds you the right package size, so if your recipe calls for eight ounces of margarine, for example, Recipping will present you with the nearest size product options, so you’re able to purchase just the amount you need, at the cheapest price.
As Recipping rolls out in various regions, the company will develop partnerships with supermarkets that already have delivery services, as well as regional and national grocery delivery services, like PeaPod. “We don’t intend to get into delivery ourselves, so we will be able to work with a variety of companies. We also have many new services we intend to include, but that’s for later on,” Shamy says.
One thing’s for certain – all the company’s eventual services will harness the power of the Internet to make life easier for food shoppers, saving them time and money in the process. Shamy is confident that once shoppers get a taste of the Recipping style of shopping, they’ll never want to shop any other way.