Although the company often develops technology for other companies as well, MotionMobs recently released Recipe Crafters as an in-house product. The app is an online tool to help users plan meals and reduce waste in the kitchen.
It’s not hard to see why that’s important. Approximately one-third of the world’s food supply is lost to waste every year. “That is a staggering figure,” says Robert Hahnemann, chief executive officer of MotionMobs.
Even with so much food going to waste, worldhunger.org estimates that one in eight people suffers from undernourishment. That’s 870 million people.
Since the world already produces enough food for everyone — 2720 calories per person, if divided evenly — reducing food waste at the local level is a beginning to working on that problem.
That was the topic of discussion between MotionMobs cofounder Taylor Peake Wyatt and Kavita Shukla at the 2013 Coca-Cola Scholars Leadership Summit. Both women are Coca-Cola Scholars and came together on an idea that connected both of their businesses.
In 2010, Peake-Wyatt and Josh Grenon founded MotionMobs in Birmingham. “[We] wanted to provide businesses with better strategy, design and implementation resources for application development,” Peake-Wyatt says.
After Grenon moved to San Francisco in 2011, Peake-Wyatt bought out his shares and kept growing the company.
Today, the company features six employees who work out of a renovated, historic building on 1st Avenue North.
2002 scholar Shukla founded Fenugreen, a social enterprise whose aim is to reduce global food waste with a simple product she invented: FreshPaper, which keeps fresh produce fresher longer.
MotionMobs already had Recipe Crafters under development when Peake-Wyatt and Shukla met, but now the app had a higher purpose: reducing food waste. “We were really interested,” Peake-Wyatt says, “in becoming part of that movement.”
MotionMobs’ interest lies in reducing food waste at the household level. “Restaurants have less waste than residential households,” Peake-Wyatt says.
One source of food waste in homes is leftovers that go bad. For that, MotionMobs developed a digital pantry. Users sign in and update their digital pantry with up to ten items at a time, including the amount of each item.
The app works for all food items but is particularly useful for finding ways to incorporate items that may go to waste. “I’m only entering things in my pantry that are expiring soon,” Peake-Wyatt says.
Every search brings 12 options for each course.
Of course, there are limits: “If you have only bananas and chicken, you’re going to have to go to the grocery store,” Peake-Wyatt says. But “fundamentally, it’s going to save you time and money and trips to the grocery store.”
For those unavoidable trips to the store, Recipe Crafters assembles a grocery list and sends it to the user. Unlike some other digitally created lists, this one is divided into specific dishes and servings so the user can make adjustments in the store.
With access to more than a million recipes, the possible combinations seem endless, ensuring the app is also good for trying new dishes. “It lets me branch out and explore different things,” Peake-Wyatt says.
The app features cuisine of all types, from Mediterranean and Moroccan to Indian and Italian.“I love the Indian cuisine the most,” Peake-Wyatt says. “I know that if I type in ‘chicken tikka masala,’ they’re all going to be good recipes.”
The recipes come from reputable sources online, and any recipe that receives lower than a two-star rating overall is discarded.
“I love all the recipe inspiration on Pinterest,” Peake-Wyatt says. “[Recipe Crafters] provides a more reliable way to find top-rated recipes with specific allergy and diet restrictions.”
After uploading food items to the digital pantry, users can check boxes for certain dietary restrictions, from gluten- and dairy-free to an allergy to peanuts.
The app also shows the nutritional information by serving at the top of the screen, and learns your preferences. “It’s very smart,” Peake-Wyatt says.
Recipe Crafters, which works across platforms on devices running on operating systems including Apple, Android and Windows, also automatically resizes to fit your laptop, tablet, cell phone or any other device screen.
The monthly subscription ranges between $5.99 and $9.99 with the highest plan including cocktail pairings.
“We’ve created one place that provides the best online recipes by the top experts for users with diet and allergy restrictions, families concerned with eating healthier, busy moms, picky eaters and anyone concerned with wasting less food,” said Motion Mobs Chief Technology Officer Matt Clark.