How to Build a Mobile App with Recipe Recommendations, Grocery List and Menu Planner?

“Eating is necessity, but cooking is Art” (c)

Cooking and eating are inevitable parts of our daily routines, right? A quick snack or a business lunch, a breakfast for kids or a romantic dinner... And in any case, it’s extremely helpful to have some mobile app to remind us that it’s time to get fed. In this fast and nervous rhythm of our lives we often forget to take care of ourselves, so, it’s highly reasonable that more and more mobile developers are interested in the idea to build a cooking app.

Previously, we talked about a food delivery app, but a mobile recipe organizer looks far more alluring, let’s agree on this one. This isn’t some super complicated science, but still. What should you know for starters? Is it your ultimate goal to create a menu planner app for a startup? What decision do you need to make to ensure your app success?.. All these questions need to be answered.  

Let’s try to find out those answers, shall we?

How to build a food app with recipe recommendations?

Food app with recipe recommendations

Luckily for you, we already wrote a quick guide on How To Build A Mobile App In 7 Easy Steps, in addition to this, we invite you to go for a ride and explore some valuable steps you need to take in order to develop a product that would enchant users with its quality and irreplaceability.

“No one is born a great cook. One learns by doing.” (c) Julia Child

Tip #1. Focus on technology aspects

The thing is, you should understand that technology issues are a 60% of the whole development process. And before you start coding take into consideration the next points. After you researched the subject and answered such questions as “what is the purpose of your application?”, “which problems it will solve?” and “what is your final goal?”, you have to decide:

  • On which mobile platform will your app work?

If it’s for iOS then you have to learn programming languages – Objective C or Swift. And if we’re talking about an Android product, then it’s going to be Java. Both of them, cross-platform in mind? Good for you! But be careful, it’s not gonna be an easy and cheap process.

  • Which type of application will it be – native or hybrid?

The decision depends on the features and functions you would like it to perform. But, for what it worth, hybrid apps almost always cost less than native, however, the reliability of the cross-platforms is a lot more at risk as usual.

  • Data storing – distant backend or in-mobile data handling?

The point is, you have to make up your mind when it comes keeping a data. There are two options for this purpose: storing your recipes in the mobile device or a backend connection. The first one is really complicated and troubled, ‘cuz every time you’ll want to do some changes within the app you’ll to update the application itself. So, it leaves us with the second option – servers APIs, a more suitable solution where a distant online server will store your app’s information.

To have some idea how it works, you should, probably, learn about client-server architecture concept, framework and communication mechanisms such as REST and other. Also, a server can be built by you, if you’re skilled enough to do it, but in most cases, it’s easier and cheaper to use third-party tools like Parse, which will save you some time and effort.

Nice, your first baby steps are made, now it’s time to experience a little adventure!

Tip #2. UI/UX Design & Wireframing

“Keep calm and cook on” (c)

While building any application you have to concentrate on two things – happy user experience and the customer’s desire to stick around on your product. To earn that kind of trust you must provide a super easy-to-use and polished UI/UX design. There shouldn’t be anything complicated in the recipe app – steady screenflow, convenient buttons, suitable text font, appropriate colors, and the fewer ads the better. Define the type of database design for the app need to provide users with requested information.

To make a mobile app for meal planning that would win the market spend some time thinking through the recipes format and all the other stuff that your app will contain. How will the list of ingredients and recipe directions look like? How will the recipes be ranked and added to the application? You have to design the user interface in a flawless way, efficient and allowing users an easy path to finding a right recipe.

What can we advise during this stage? Well, save to say, it’s in your best interest to do some good old paper sketchings of your app screens as long as digital wireframing. This way you’ll get the ability to test how your UI/UX design would feel like and hear a feedback from potential customers or investors. Quick tips on how to do such thing as sketching and wireframing you can find in our post ‘5 Best Ways to Prototype your Mobile Project’.

Tip #3. The features and functions your app are begging for

Food app functions

Speaking of a great success. Before you dive deep into developing the application features, that will ensure a huge number of your users, we recommend to research your competitors. Explore the market and find out what features are making the other recipe apps famous and appreciated by customers. Learn from their mistakes and high-rises. To make it easier for you, check out this great review about hottest on the market for iPhones and Smartphones – Five Best Meal Planning Apps and 12 Best Cooking Apps.  

Then, after you collected enough information, sort it out to make your own list of functions that would suit your purpose. As an eager startupper, you don’t want to build just a copy of some other recipe directory app. Your goal should be to create a somewhat unique product while taking advantage of all the technology available for you. So, make your app interactive and fun to use, enchant the user and pursue them to stay with you.

Must-have features when you plan to create a menu planner app

“A pinch of patience, a dash of kindness, a spoonful of laughter and a heap of love” (c)

Custom Recipe Application Development is a truly fascinating industry! Such a variety of different tools and applications that can provide a user with recipe recommendations based on the tools one have in the kitchen or how many servings is needed. Let’s imagine for a moment that your dream is big and you desire to make not only simple application for providing recipes, but to enhance it with menu planner and a grocery list? Attractive perspective, yeah? The possibility of success is definitely growing right before our very eyes, because you know what?

Those old-school cookbooks and simple apps with recipes directions are relics of the past – now is the age of handy mobile products that would effectively manage a couple of tasks at once, sparing you the need to install numerous different apps.

So, let’s see what could possibly help you to get an advantage in the competition.

1. Menu Planner Section should contain:

  • Calendar with hours indicator;
  • Calories calculator for each separate meal or for a daily total;
  • Calculator for nutritional value based on the ingredients of the chosen recipe.
  • Menu planner have to be seamlessly divided into categories – breakfast, snacks, lunch and dinner;  
  • User profile with the preferences paragraph and user’s pantry tracking;
  • Synchronization of customer’s data between all his/her mobile devices.   

Make sure you provide users with the ability to add their favorite food or recipes to the weekly or monthly meal plan. Also, it won’t hurt to consider an option of user’s templates for commonly prepared meals.

Menu planner section

2. Recipe Management Section provides the following:

  • In-app recipe books and the option to import them from the web;
  • Ranking and bookmarking system for favorite recipes;
  • Ingredients list and recipe recommendations – really plain and simple so that even a newbie in the kitchen would understand what to do;
  • Tracking ingredient amounts from the user’s pantry;
  • Marvelous and mouthwatering pictures/photos of the dishes to raise up user’s excitement and appetite;
  • There could also be video instructions on how to prepare the most difficult meals or the opposite – the short movie clips of your customers with their own tips on cooking;
  • For the benefits of your target audience integrate a grocery list in recipe app and you’ll see the impact it would make;
  • Don’t forget to include filters, categorizing system, and a search option – the users must have the ability to find a recipe based on one key ingredient they like or the type of meal they want to cook.   

In addition, you can include some on-point tips for the users who are just learning how to cook and let them leave their own notes in the chosen recipe if they want, for example, make some changes in the directions or rearrange ingredients. It goes without saying that in this time of social life expansion even in the mobile application for cooking should be a social media sharing button to let your customers post their favorite recipes on the Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram or Vimeo.

3. In the Grocery List Section could be next functions:

  • Direct shopping cart icon to show the exact amount of food a user gonna need for a specific recipe;
  • Local grocery stores adding option and their sales notifications;
  • Needed ingredients sorting by the availability in the chosen stores;
  • Grocery list needs to work in sync with the user’s pantry so that he/she can see what ingredients should be bought;
  • Shopping reminders for the food that still weren’t bought for the next meal in the planner.

When you’re up to the idea to build a mobile app with a grocery list there is a wide spectrum of possibilities for the developer, a huge variety of the bright innovations. You can look for the best ideas for your future product in such famous apps as Paprika, BigOven and Pepperplate which were reviewed in the article about Cooking Apps Handle Recipes and Grocery Lists.

“Computers are to design as microwaves are to cook” (c)

In a nutshell, a lot of work to do, as you see. And not to mention, that before submitting the whole ready application to the Market  Store, you have to prototype it, make an MVP and test it for the feedbacks and some bugs fixing. That way you’ll save your budget and a significant amount of time for developing process... Okay, let’s sum it up, yeah? No, wait a second, as a matter of fact, one more thing – you must protect the users and the product itself by ensuring the data security within the app.

Grocery list section

To crown it all

If you dream to develop a mobile app with menu planner, we’d like to point out that there is a decision to be made. You must estimate your programming skills – can you do this yourself? If not, just save yourself from troubles by hiring qualified mobile app developers to handle your ideas and choose the best software solutions for the job to be done with precision. How much does it cost to develop a cooking app with mobile app development company? Well, the price will strictly depend on the all the issues we described above. The more complicated and sophisticated product you desire the higher it will cost you.

But can we tell you something? It would be totally worth it... Just don’t give up on your dreams! Stay tuned for more!

Yours sincerely,
team TecSynt

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