Get creative meal ideas at your fingertips by using the PantryPal App. Stop letting your food go to waste, start to save money by avoiding take-out and use what’s in your kitchen to put together a meal. Simply select the items you have in your kitchen and browse through recipe options!



Problem Statement  

How might we improve the experience of cooking food while also reducing the amount of food waste generated in the process? 

Problem Background  

The average sized family in Canadian households wastes approximately 140 kg of food each year. This equates to 2.3 million tons of wasted food on a yearly basis generated from Canadian households. One of the very many problems that lead to this food waste is that we may not know what to do with it. Often, people have access to many ingredients in their pantry, but don’t know what to cook or how to use them to prepare a meal. They may get overwhelmed with their options or think it may be too time-consuming to cook so opt for take-out instead.  In addition, if they don’t do the planning ahead of grocery shopping, they normally can’t just whip up a recipe they may want to try. 


User Pain Points

Our research included 20 survey respondents and 2 user interviews. The interviews and survey uncovered major themes and pain points including:

The research survey, conducted upon 20 millennials across North America validated these problems and revealed:

  • 70% of participants had thrown out food within the last two weeks
  • 60% of participants have researched and tried a new recipe within the last month
  • 75% of participants mentioned that the lack of time is a pain point of their weekly meal prep 
  • 75% of participants rely on social media for ideas on meal preparation
  • 50% mentioned that if they had ideas for what to cook based on their current ingredients it would be easier for them to cook at home
  • 65% of participants confirmed their decision to cook is influenced by what’s in their kitchen 
  • 60% of participants validated that time commitment is a big influence on their cooking decisions
  • 50% of participants end up doing take out when they can’t think of what to cook

During a user interview with a wife and mother of one, she mentioned “it would be perfect if she could go to her kitchen and have access to an easy recipe within a matter of minutes”. She also mentioned that her number one stressor is planning meals that can accommodate her daughter and spouse within a timely fashion. In addition, she mentioned that she wished there was a way to just think of recipes based on exactly what she had in the kitchen. 


Based on target users’ pain points, I knew I wanted to work on creating a way for users to have access to meal ideas based on the ingredients they already have.

In addition, I wanted to focus on achiving these goals with PantryPal:

  • Reduce food waste by providing meal options to use the items in the user’s kitchen
  • Offer nutritious personalized recipes based on items in an user’s kitchen
  • Monetize through advertisements or premium features – the app could draw revenue by displaying ads from food and kitchen appliance companies, and premium features such as personalized meal planning, recipe collections and others for a fee


The solution is a mobile app that delivers recipe ideas for the exact ingredients the user already has in their kitchen. The app will allow users to browse and search through images and select the food items already in their kitchen and any dietary restrictions. Once they enter in the items in their kitchen, it will provide them with meal options personalized based on their selections. They can quickly browse through recipes that indicate the total cook time and decide which meal to make. Whether users are looking for a quick 20-minute meal idea or 60 minutes, there will be options that display diverse meals suitable to their timing. 



  • Conduct further user research to have a better understanding of the problem space
  • Create a MVP and complete testing to ensure functionality
  • Add potential features such as functionality to allow users to rate recipes


Product Manager Learnings:

Dominique Watson

Co.Lab provided me with the following learnings as a PM:

  • The importance of conducting user interviews and surveys to learn as much as possible about your users
  • Focus on understanding the problem as much as possible before thinking of the solution
  • The ‘job to be done’ framework helps you to focus more on the specific user problem  
  • Building in public is an important way to gain credibility and gain support 

Designer Learnings:

Developer Learnings:

Developers Learnings:


Full Team Learning