Archive for February, 2013

Feb 10 2013

Why isn’t there an app for that?

Published by under Tech

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It’s 2013.  We’re not just in the 21st Century, we’re hurtling through it at breakneck speed.  And as part of a busy, 21st Century family with busy, 21st Century lives, I live in eternal gratitude for the marvels of modern technology that make things easier.  The Mint that’s currently mopping my kitchen floor while I put my feet up, for example, or the streaming service that’s enabling me to catch up on my favourite shows while I write this.

But there’s something missing.

Today was supermarket day.  And, as is always the way on supermarket day, there’s a certain amount of organising to be done first – what do we need, what have we finished / used up during the week and so on.  Then there’s the inevitable refrigerator triage – throwing out the time-expired food that we never quite got around to cooking or eating.

C’mon, 21st Century, you can fix this.

The building blocks are already there:  I can go online right now and see a list of everything we bought; I can scan barcodes into any number of recipe or fitness apps and it’ll tell me everything about the product in question.  I can curate my shopping list on my ‘phone or iPad.  So let’s get smart and put this all together.

 

I want a cloud-based app which:

  • Connects with my supermarket bonus card so it knows everything we bought this afternoon
  • Lets me manually enter (or scan the barcodes of) stuff so it has a complete inventory of what’s in my kitchen
  • Interfaces with the supermarket’s stock control system so it knows the expiration date of all the above
  • Lets me scan products (or manually enter them) as I use them, to help me compile next week’s shopping list
  • Sends me alerts when something’s approaching its expiry date.  “Hey, James, you’d better eat those Andouille sausages today or tomorrow”.
  • Gives me recipe suggestions.  “In fact, you’ve got some celery that needs eaten, too, and plenty of potatoes onions and pulses.  So why don’t you make a sausage casserole tonight?  Here’s the recipe!”
  • Tells me what I have and haven’t got if I want to make a particular dish.  Even when I’m not in the house.  “You want to make a curry?  Sure, but you’d better stop off for cumin on the way home from work.”

None of this should be that difficult.  Green Egg Shopper does some of it.  So does 222million tons.  I want the whole package, though, even if we might need to reinvent the humble barcode a little to include use-by data.  Who’s up for the challenge?

There’s a serious point to this.  Depending on what you read and who you believe, almost half the food we grow goes to waste.  Surely there’s serious PR capital for whichever supermarket comes up with an app for that?

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