Nick Holzherr has told FoodManufacture.co.uk that he is planning to launch a recipe app in five to six weeks.
The Birmingham-based technology entrepreneur was among the final four candidates, picked from 16 by Lord Sugar to compete for £250,000 and become his business partner.
Holzherr’s business plan was for an app that reads any recipe on the internet, analyses the ingredient information from the recipe and cross references it to the inventory in online supermarkets.
It selects the best options for the user based on factors such as taste, price sensitivity and dietary needs, creating a shopping list.
It then transfers the shopping list to the online supermarket on the user’s behalf, where he or she can arrange for delivery or continue shopping.
Reduces food waste
The app, which is free to use, also works out what ingredients will be leftover from cooking recipes by comparing pack sizes with the amount needed. It will suggest new recipes to cook with leftovers and work out “optimum” portions to cook in order to use leftovers, which fits with the current trend to reduce food waste.
The plan did not receive an enthusiastic response from Lord Sugar, who eventually settled on recruitment team leader Ricky Martin as his business partner.
But Holzherr is still pushing ahead with the new app, called Whisk, which he claims on his website “has the potential to change the way people conceive of recipes and purchase the ingredients”.
He told FoodManufacture.co.uk: “The business name is Foodient but we trade under Whisk. Information about the team and investment will be announced in the next few weeks.”
He added: “I've had feedback on this concept for two years and have done various market research studies to tweak the business concept.
“We've been given very positive feedback from technology investors and experts, who understand this market well.
“My mistake, I believe, was over complicating the explanation of the business to Lord Sugar. I should have explained it more simply, also focusing on the need for it in the target market - which is quite big.”
Whisk is targeting three markets; technology geeks, foodies and mums but other applications may lie ahead.
It will follow the patterns that govern users such as the supermarkets they shop at, the ingredients they buy and brand loyalty as well as cost, freshness and health, building up a profile.
Initially the entire shopping list will be for a single supermarket.
But Holzherr sees opportunities for users’ local butchers, greengrocers, farmers’ markets or cooperatives getting involved and fulfilling some parts of the shopping list, with the remainder coming from one of the larger players.
Meanwhile delivery will rely on the supermarkets’ existing distribution mechanisms.
Holzherr said: “Some of the supermarkets do charge for delivery at the moment, although Waitrose don't. “We see a lot of innovation happening in this space in the near future though, as the large supermarkets attempt to drive more of their business online.”
Last month, Jane McEvoy – also fired by Lord Sugar – bounced back with the launch a range of organic, allergen-free, fresh baby and toddler soups.
The Irish entrepreneur’s new soup range, Harry’s Little World, will be targeted at the multiple retailers to plug what she described as “a large gap in this growing category”.
To read about the launch, click here .