Now that smartphones have been around for a while, and the technology is starting to plateau, it’s interesting to see how people are using them. In my observation (no research to back this up,) smartphones have really become a distraction, time killing, entertainment device, occasionally used for communication. Think about it. When smartphones first came onto the scene, it was all about productivity paired with connectivity. Now, we’re primarily using our phones to browse through Twitter, scroll through Facebook, get sucked into a Reddit rabbit hole, play games, etc. This is something I haven’t paid attention to until I downloaded the Food.com app for Android and realized, “Hey, this magic device along with this app can actually make my life easier.”
FINALLY AN APP THAT LEGITIMATELY MAKES SOMETHING EASIER.
I like cooking (though my wife does the majority of it) but I literally HATE meal planning and grocery shopping. So, finding an app that helps with both of those, and does it well, is amazing. Food.com’s new app allows you browse through recipes with large photos, reviews, and details such as prep and cook time. As with most food apps, you can search by food category (types of meats, dish type, etc.) to find a recipe your interested in. Users can also save and categorize their recipe for later preparation. So what’s the big deal?
Let’s start with the design of the app. The Food.com app looks and feels like it was created for Android. In fact, I’d go as far as saying it almost seems like a Google app. Most apps I use these days have one or two material design elements (maybe a hamburger menu or something) but Food.com takes material design all the way. Holding your finger on various buttons results in the bubble animation in which the button slowly fills up with a shade of grey. The header image with text overlay inside of recipes fades into a solid header when scrolling down the page. The hamburger menu found at the top left corner of the app brings a hidden menu out from the left. Users will also find a familiar floating action button in various locations of the app.
The material elements combined with the pale color palette really make me feel like this app is an extension of the Android experience. It feels familiar and easy to use, and it just looks good. Job well done here, Food.com.
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One thing that has annoyed me in the past about recipe discovery apps is that once I’ve found a recipe, I’ve then got to use another app to list out the ingredients I need to make a grocery list (again, my wife typically handles this. Thanks, boo!).
Food.com’s app eliminates the need for the extra app by integrating a grocery list component. Once you’ve found a recipe you like, hit the “Grocery List” button and all of the individual ingredients are added to your grocery list. What’s even cooler (more cool?) about the grocery list in the Food.com app is that it automatically categorizes your ingredients into sections such as baking, produce, meat, canned, etc. so you aren’t spending an extra 15 mins running around in circles at the store.
TAKING IT LOCAL
Another feature that goes a long way in making this app extremely useful is the localization aspect. The Food.com app allows you to add local stores to the app, magically integrating sales and offers. Once you’ve added your favorite stores, you can start your recipe hunt by finding what ingredients are on sale and going from there. Additionally, if you’ve added a recipe’s ingredients to your grocery list, the Food.com app will recognize ingredients that are on sale at your local store so you know before you go.
IT’S NOT PERFECT
As great as the app is, and as useful as it can be, the app isn’t perfect. Using the app for a few days, I noticed a few minor things worth noting. For me, and this could be just an issue for me, I had a lot of problems creating an account. I continuously received error messages when trying to create an account with my email, and trying to use social accounts to set it up wasn’t a great experience either. I finally managed to create the account, but now, it’s logging in that is the problem. I’ve reset my password and all that jazz to no avail. I’ll continue to work on it and see if I can find a solution myself or with the help of the support team.
I also noticed some text formatting issues throughout the app. I don’t know much about coding or building apps, but it looks like some of the code didn’t translate when syndicating reviews from other sources (see image). I don’t think this is a huge deal, as the error doesn’t seem to appear too often.
Given that the app is brand new, it’s to be expected that there will be some bugs to work out, but there is more good news. Food.com is a part of the Scripps Networks Interactive portfolio, which also includes big name brands such as Food Network, Cooking Channel, DIY Network, HGTV and Travel Channel, so there is likely a lot of money and resources behind this app. I expect that because of this, the app will receive frequent updates, new features and a substantial support platform.
Overall, I’m a huge fan of this app and highly recommend it for anyone needing help finding recipes, planning meals, and building shopping lists. If you’re interested in checking out the app, you can download it for free on the Google Play store or from the App Store with the links below.
What do you think about Food.com’s new app for Android? Are there any other cooking/recipe apps that you prefer over this? Let me know in the comments below or connect on Twitter – @HOOKDin! Be sure to subscribe to receive next week’s ‘Weekly App Review’ the second it goes live!