Food-Tech Innovations, Websites & Apps

by Charles Platkin, PhD
There are some many great things occurring in innovation – here are a few stand outs:

Pepperplate (

Overview: At first glance, I wasn’t too sure what Pepperplate does. As it turned out, is a meal-planning site that gives you great flexibility. Type in your own favorite recipe or the URL of one you find online, and Pepperplate puts it into a calendar for you. The thing that impressed me the most was the ability to import a recipe from another site simply by pasting in the URL.

From Pepperplate: “Pepperplate is a seamless digital cooking platform, which now syncs across almost any type of computer, smartphone and tablet. … Manage your recipes, create menus, shop with ease and cook like a pro. … Share your favorite recipes with friends and family via Email, Facebook and Twitter. … Import recipes from your favorite sites and add your own from cookbooks, magazines or old family recipes. … Combine recipes into menus for dinner parties or holiday meal planning.”

Cost: Free


Overview: MenuStat is an impressive sortable database of nutritional information from almost all restaurant chains that was created by the New York City Department of and Mental Hygiene. The most interesting aspect of the site is that it can be searched, sorted and filtered based on many different variables. You can view nutrition information by menu item, food category or restaurant, and even track nutrition changes over time. For example, in one click you can see all the nutrient information for appetizers in a particular restaurant and then sort by sodium.

From MenuStat: “Foods eaten away from home are a big part of the American , accounting for one third of caloric intake and almost half of the average household’s food budget. As people eat out in greater numbers, there has been increasing interest in learning more about the nutritional content of foods consumed in restaurants across the United States.
“By sharing restaurant nutrition information in a way that is easy to search and analyze,

MenuStat provides a valuable resource for individuals and researchers interested in the nutritional content of restaurant foods and beverages. MenuStat is a free nutritional database of thousands of foods served by the nation’s largest chain restaurants. It aggregates nutrition information posted on restaurant since 2012.”
Cost: Free

Edamam (

Overview: When you type the name of a dish into Edamam’s recipe search engine, you’ll see photos from all the best recipe websites (as well as all the other websites and blogs that post recipes). Additionally, if there is a recipe for which you want a nutritional analysis completed, all you have to do is cut and paste the entire recipe into the online dialogue box, and in seconds Edamam’s “nutrition wizard” will do an instant nutritional analysis for you.

From Edamam: “We are about eating better. Our goal is to capture the world’s food knowledge and distill it to help you make informed choices at the store and in the kitchen.”

Cost: Free to use the basic service, but if you want to use the Nutrition Wizard Plus, you have to pay $5.95 per month. You can, however, use the code RDNutritionist!! to get an entire menu’s worth of nutritional information and labels free for 90 days.

Culinary Agents

Overview: A focused job-matching site for people seeking jobs in the food industry.

From Culinary Agents: “Culinary Agents is a professional networking and job matching site designed and dedicated to the food, beverage and hospitality industry. … Unlike other static job boards we have an automatic matching process which tees up opportunities to talent and talent to businesses along with the tools to support applicant matching, messaging and management. Our focus on building the professional network with our partnerships and inspiring industry professionals with our ‘Get Inspired’ platform uniquely positions us as extended recruiters for talent and businesses.”

Cost: $49 per post for a restaurant, and $100 for unlimited posts. Free for jobseekers.

FarmersWeb (

Overview: What a great idea­a site that acts like a virtual wholesale market for local food products.

From FarmersWeb: “FarmersWeb helps chefs and purchasing managers order fresh produce, meat, poultry, dairy, and other products from local farms.”

Cost: There is no cost at all to buyers; for farms it’s free if they just want a profile or a flat monthly fee if they want to use all e-commerce functionality ($40/mo for 1-4 products, $75/mo for unlimited products)

Cook Smarts (

Overview: Each week Cook Smarts creates a meal plan that includes four simple, balanced dinners. There is also a grocery list, and every meal comes with gluten-free, paleo and vegetarian versions.

From “Our subscription meal plan service gets you out of your dinner rut while saving you time and money. We create weekly dinner menus so that you never have to stress about, ‘What’s for dinner?’ again. Select from gluten-free, paleo, and vegetarian options for each meal, and get a grocery list in just 1 easy click.”

Cost: They have a free component, but the whole plan is between $6 and $8 per month.

( –

Overview: Another very cool mobile app created by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. It helps cooks calculate and reduce calories in recipes by offering swaps from its list of more than 400 ingredients and their calorie counts.

From CalCutter: “With CalCutter, restaurant chefs or home cooks can enter the ingredients and number of servings in a recipe and the app will calculate the number of calories per serving in the finished dish. CalCutter will then suggest alternative ingredients or cooking methods that reduce the number of calories in the dish.”

Cost: Free

AmpleHarvest (

Overview: This is a really interesting website that connects home gardeners with excess food to food pantries that help feed the hungry.

From AmpleHarvest: “We are a nationwide non-profit that educates, encourages and enables America’s 42 million home gardeners who grow food to easily find a local food pantry eager for their excess garden bounty, thereby helping to end food waste and hunger. is now helping more than 7,000 food pantries be accessible to local gardeners and other donors.”

Cost: Free (depends upon donations)

Raddish (

Overview: A great way to get your kids involved in cooking. At first glance, I thought Raddish actually sent you the food to cook.,, and are all subscription food services that send boxes of pre-portioned ingredients and recipes to your doorstep. That’s not the case with Raddish, but they do send you a kit with recipes, talk cards and creative activities – all with the intention of getting your kids involved in cooking healthy, tasty foods. I haven’t tried the service, but I thought it was a bit pricey for what they offer, even though it seems like a great idea.

From Raddish: “Each month you’ll receive a themed box that includes the following: 3 illustrated recipe guides, 1 skill card, 2 creative activities, a shopping list, a table talk card deck and an iron-on Raddish patch.”

Cost: $20 to $24 per month

SideChef ( )

Overview: This app makes it easy for anyone to cook. The recipes include step-by-step simple instructions with large photos.

From SideChef: “SideChef makes learning to cook accessible, easy, and fun at any skill level by giving you step-by-step photos, instructions, and voice commands. It also makes every step easily shareable, from browsing recipes to purchasing ingredients to celebrating the final meal.”

Cost: Free

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