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Company Review: RecipeMatcher

The meal is greater than the sum of its parts

Technology trends and news by Aylon Steinhart
September 10, 2008
Short URL: http://vator.tv/n/3eb

 

 Were Aristotle alive today, he might be a fan of RecipeMatcher. His philosophy - that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts - is very true when you think about the making of a sand castle with millions of single grains of sand, or sounding a beautiful harmony by combining different voices. In like vein, RecipeMatcher, whose founders likely didn't delve into the philosophical significance of their endeavor, is an online service that enables users to make a whole lot more, with less.

The idea of RecipeMatcher is as useful as it is simple. Whereas the typical recipe Web site allows you to search for recipes that you already know of, RecipeMatcher exposes you to new recipes in the most logical way. It allows you to consider what “tools” you have to work with.

This is how the service works: A user creates a personalized account with RecipeMatcher. Through this account, the user edits his or her ePantry.

The ePantry is simply a list of the ingredients in the user’s real pantry at home. The user goes through a large list of possible ingredients to be found in his pantry, and selects the ingredients he wants to add to his ePantry.

Once he has specified the ingredients he has to work with, the user can search for recipes on the basis of those ingredients. This is personalized search specifically considering the user’s available ingredients! The search results gives you information on what percent of ingredients necessary are in the ePantry, what other key ingredients are needed, and all the standard recipe information. Additionally, if there is an item in the pantry that the user knows he will never buy, he can remove it from the option list all together.

The personalized results for the search provide the user with relevant recipes and new recipes. People often buy the same ingredients and mundanely prepare the same dishes while they could easily be preparing new and interesting dishes from the same ingredients. And if the user does find a particularly exciting dish, there is a ‘favorite recipes’ option which stores recipes to the user’s private profile.

Although RecipeMatcher offers the less-conventional personalized search option, it also provides the traditional search options. A user can search either through keywords in the recipe or by category. These results, however, still take into consideration the contents of the pantry by informing the user what ingredients are missing for preparing the dish.

Overall, the idea behind RecipeMatcher seems useful and convenient. The personalization experience follows the successful movement of individual consumer to producer interactions.

Given some time for growth in its user base, the user-friendly and simple layout of RecipeMatcher seems to have the right mix of ingredients to satisfy a variety of eaters, from college students to Greek philosophers.                   


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