Talking tech since 2003

We have Pandora for understanding our musical tastes and Netflix for TV and movies, but what about food?  The food industry is a $2 trillion business and a company called Yummly wants to be at the center of it.  I recently sat down with Dave Feller, founder and CEO of Yummly to learn more about the company and where it is heading.  Dave got the idea for Yummly when he realized he couldn’t find a way to search for recipes and exclude anything with mustard (he hates mustard by the way) and thus Yummly was born.

The app launched this past September in the App Store and has consistently been ranked among the top free apps in the Food & Drink category.  Yummly is different from traditional recipe apps because it uses technology to map and connect ingredients to make recommendations.  The app also can understand different tastes and calculate nutritional information for each recommended recipe.

A recipe i found on Yummly.
A recipe I found on Yummly.

When I heard about Yummly I knew I had to try it.  If you don’t know much about me, I’m a notoriously picky eater — things have to taste “just right” for me to enjoy them.  I downloaded the app and did a search for chicken, then I used the filtering technology in Yummly to tell it I didn’t want any kind of chicken that included lemon or nuts, that it had to be easy to prepare (meaning it takes 25 minutes or less), and that it should be a main dish.  And bam! (excuse me while I channel my inner Emeril) — Yummly delivered.

Scrolling through my choices I found my first really interesting result: Buffalo Chicken Burgers.  The buffalo chicken burgers recipe has 10 ingredients, 180 calories per burger, and takes about 25 minutes to prepare.  Perfect.

Another aspect of the app I really like is the way it integrates photos of the food, when it comes to food presentation is always key, especially if you’re looking to try something new. The app also offers the ability to add recipes to section in the app called “My Yums” which is basically equivalent to a favorites section.  If you find a recipe that looks appealing or that you tried and you really like, tap the “Yum” button to add it to your “My Yums” section so you can easily access it again at a later date.  The number next to the Yum button shows the number of people who also favorited that particular recipe.

So far Mr. Feller says the feedback from users has been excellent, including from people who are dieting or vegetarians (both of which can be very difficult to make happy with recipe apps).  The reason for the happy users?  “People are getting accurate results and recipe recommendations,” he said.

Where does Yummly go from here?  For starters, both iPad and Android versions of the app are being considered.  But perhaps even more near term (in the next year or so) is integration with fitness apps.  Fitness integration seems like a logical next step for a food app as exercise and eating can be very intertwined.  Other possible integrations include restaurants, but that poses an interesting problem for Yummly.  It’s a problem more complicated than just knowing a restaurants menu, it’s a problem of whether or not the restaurant serves a particular dish well.  That’s definitely an interesting problem and one Dave and team will be working to figure out.

Have you tried Yummly? What do you think?

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