A Redditor has shared a new tool that generates recipes from the ingredients in your cupboard.
Posting into the r/ZeroWaste subreddit, one Redditor shared how they built a website called Gumbo from scratch to help people use what’s already in their kitchen, which would cut grocery bills and food waste.
Gumbo is a recipe curation website, which scans the internet for dishes you can cook with whatever ingredients you input into its search bar.
Simply add the ingredients in your kitchen into its search bar, then let the algorithm do its work. Gumbo will display whatever recipes that match the ingredients you’ve requested.
It’s a not-for-profit venture for now and completely ad-free.
“As someone who cares deeply about food waste and reducing my environmental impact, I’m really proud of what I’ve built,” the creator wrote. “I’ve put a lot of time and energy into making Gumbo as user-friendly and effective as possible.”
How it’s helping
Approximately one-third of all food produced for human consumption is wasted globally. Americans throw out the equivalent of 130 billion meals a year, which costs consumers $408 billion in wasted food. Cutting food waste would help to ease household budgets, which is crucial now when food prices are rising.
In the U.S., Western states are also seeing a historic megadrought, which is impacting some of the nation’s key agricultural areas. California, which produces a third of the nation’s vegetables, and two-thirds of its fruit and nuts, has lost $3 billion due to drought.
This reduction in food produce is hitting consumers’ pockets — food prices were 11.4% higher last year than in 2021.
Cutting food waste is good for the planet too. When food waste breaks down in landfills, it releases the polluting gas methane, which has 80 times the warming power that carbon dioxide does for the first 20 years that it is in the atmosphere.
If we stopped wasting food, we could reduce global greenhouse gases by 6% to 8%. Using a tool like Gumbo has measurable benefits for sustainability – and it does so more efficiently than other similar tools, like Supercook.
According to Gumbo’s designer, it relies on an AI algorithm to select recipes, unlike Supercook, which uses a pattern-matching algorithm. Gumbo recognizes more ingredients – it knows 4,000, while Supercook knows 2,500. Gumbo also has a vetting process to make sure all the recipes it recommends are good quality, and Supercook has a more “inclusive” approach.
What everyone’s saying
Redditors have been quick to applaud Gumbo’s useability and to point out how it could help cash-strapped households.
“Saves me sticking my fridge contents in Google with the word recipe and doing some mental gymnastics to throw something together from the results (which is something I do at least once a fortnight),” one user commented.
“I’m in the process of moving and have small amounts of food in my cupboard that I’ve been trying to figure out how to use and not move with … this is the solution,” another user replied.
Another user said: “I love that this reduces food waste and could also help people with limited access to groceries/different foods find new recipes.”
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