Improving Ingredient Search With Data
One of the things I love about ReciPal is that it is cloud-based. Instead of traditional nutrition label software where everyone downloads their own copy of the software, our data is stored in the cloud.
Harnessing the Cloud
That's better for security, accessibility, and backups, but probably most importantly it allows us to leverage the experience of all our users. For example, when you create a new public ingredient, other users can use it in their recipes instead of having to add it to their database as well. When you find a good ingredient and add it to your recipe, we can learn from that for the next person.
What Needed Fixing
For a while our search results were fairly primitive and only based on the name of an ingredient and how it matched your search term. That would sometimes result in lower quality results showing up first as you can see in the image below. The warning sign is our key for an unverified ingredient.
Improving Search With Data
We want to avoid that, and started using our data to better rank results.
Now, ingredient search results are still based on the search term like before, but are also ranked based on data quality (verification, votes score) and usage rate (how often each ingredient has been added to a recipe).
After all, an ingredient that's been chosen hundreds of times is probably a better search result than one that's never been used. And you should want ingredients with high data quality. The double check mark is our key for USDA ingredients and single check marks represent verified user created ingredients.
This should lead to more users choosing higher quality ingredients in their recipes and finding the right ingredients more easily. All of which makes it easier to make your nutrition labels.
The Results and Feedback
We're very happy with the results in our initial tests, but this is just the first step as we keep improving ReciPal search. There are other intricacies to the search ranking, so feel free to chat us up to learn more.
What do you think so far? Are your ingredient searches looking better? What other improvements can we make? Would you want to be able to search only for USDA or verified ingredients?