The way Chicago-based entrepreneur Corey Anand sees it – it’s all about time management for busy 21st century parents.
“They want to be inspired to try things, but time is just so limited,” he said. “The primary motivation behind KitchIn is to inspire meal ideas and creation, saving time and making life simple. Planning and preparing meals at the end of the day is exhausting, and this is where our app comes into play.”
Unlike current recipe apps that provide a list of ingredients to be purchased, KitchIn works the other way around, linking food items purchased at the store to recipes that can be prepared from ingredients on hand.
“It’s food management; it’s reducing waste; it’s helping people eat healthy by suggesting lower fat ingredients,” Anand explained.
KitchIn is one of seven startups chosen to participate in the 2014 class of Straight Shot, Omaha’s e-commerce and software-as-a-service startup accelerator. Anand said he developed the idea for this “digital kitchen” while working alongside a busy executive mom who struggled to balance family meal prep with her hectic schedule.
“She would mention – after her long day, she’d have to go on these grand grocery shopping trips where she’d buy hundreds of dollars’ worth of food. The thing was, once she got home, she had no idea what ingredients she had on hand or what meals to prepare with her current groceries,” he recalled.
Anand launched KitchIn a little over a year ago and has partnered with some independent grocers in Chicago for private beta testing. The app links with a store’s inventory database; a quick smartphone snapshot of a grocery receipt allows the app to catalogue and store purchased items in the user’s virtual pantry. From there, Kitchin will suggest the best professional recipes to prepare utilizing those available ingredients. Users can modify their search results based on cuisine, taste or diet, all on the go. The app has been enthusiastically received among tester grocery stores.
“It comes back to the time element,” Anand said. “It’s not just saving time in preparation in the kitchen, but by capturing shopper’s habits and directing them right to the aisle and shelf they need while they’re in the grocery store.”
Anand, who was invited to present at last year’s DEMO Conference in Silicon Valley, said the positive feedback has been gratifying. He is particularly excited about being included in this year’s Straight Shot class.
“We’d been actively seeking an accelerator program and interviewed with several of them, but with Straight Shot we finally found the right fit” he said. “They really understood the model and everything that we had been working for up to that point. It’s so exciting to be working with people who share that vision and at the same time have the leadership and ability to take us to the next level.”