A smart kitchen assistant app helps users plan, shop and cook. Saakshi Jain, co-founder of Zelish, suggests that a meal plan with recipes can be easily prepared at home. The app understands a user’s food preferences such as likes, dislikes, allergies.
After successfully completing the Bosch-supported Techstars program in Munich, the app was launched in April 2020. Currently, the platform has over 120,000 active users who avidly follow the app’s recommendations and take advantage of their culinary experiences from their home kitchen.
Excerpts from his interview:
Tell us about Zelish, what is it for and how does it work?
Based on the meal plan, a grocery basket is automatically generated with all the ingredients needed for the week. In addition to that, there is a step by step video guide that helps users to easily prepare their meals.
The registration process is fairly straightforward and takes less than 30 seconds. All you need to do is answer a few questions about your preferences and you’re good to go, it works like a bespoke kitchen assistant. The algorithm built into the AI can help create a complete personalized menu by simply selecting the number of days for a meal plan.
How does it help with food waste?
Meal plans are developed with the shelf life of ingredients in mind, reducing the risk of spoilage of perishables. If there are any extra items stored in the fridge at the end of the meal plan, just tap and feed the app while the AI makes sure to readjust the ingredient usage accordingly. of their perishability.
Plus, there are over 150 recipes that help users customize and creatively reuse leftovers or any additional dishes.
Did you encounter any difficulties launching the application?
Initially, the app launch was scheduled for July 2020. We were in Munich as part of the BSH Techstars 2020 bundle, unfortunately due to the border closure announced by the government we had to return to India overnight and spend countless working days and nights to speed up the launch of the app. The app was finally launched just a week after the lockdown was announced. Since everyone was operating from different locations and had to wear different hats, we faced a daunting challenge to get back to things quickly, but ultimately communication and accountability helped us change things. things on time.
What is the inspiration behind this app and what was the Eureka moment?
We are three cooking enthusiasts who have always loved a good home cooked meal. We have noticed that while technology has infiltrated every aspect of our lives, the kitchen has sort of been left behind. The only things people focused on were either ordering food out or dining out, as the majority of meals cooked and eaten in Indian kitchens are usually quite mundane and basic.
People refrained from experimenting in the kitchen and preferred to try different restaurants and cuisines, but the lockdown inspired people otherwise.
Everyone wanted a change and started taking steps to improve their cooking skills and use kitchen appliances, but no one really focused on the software part. We identified this gap after speaking to over 550 people and deciding to address those needs.
Who is your target audience?
Our target audience includes working women and working households where both spouses work but are also responsible for managing their family’s daily meals.
To add to that, Zelish aims to be the go-to app for everyone who runs the kitchen – young adults who have left their homes, millennials who live alone, young professionals working in the city, housewives, individuals. who follow a zero-waste regiment, and men who need help with anything to do with their kitchens.
What are your future plans?
We realized that people like to replicate the dishes prepared by famous chefs and home chefs, which is why we are now making their recipes purchasable.
We already have famous chefs like Ranveer Brar, Ajay Chopra, Meghana Kamdar and home chefs like Hebbars Kitchen, Kanak’s kitchen etc on our platform.