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BonAPI | About
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Mission

Our goal is to offer suitable ingredient replacements to allow people to prepare any dish without being constrained by dietary preferences or restrictions.

Through proposing alternatives that share key characteristics, such as flavour and nutritional composition of an ingredient that does not meet dietary requirements, we hope to make foods and recipes available to everyone.

Approach

Each time you search for alternatives to an ingredient, we combine curated results with analysis of all ingredients on 5 different criteria to find the best alternative. Through a penalty system that captures whether an ingredient has incomplete information, we avoid finding good matches on a limited number of attributes while not knowing how they would fare on the missing attributes.

Some ingredients, such as eggs, do not have direct vegan alternatives for example, in which case we also offer custom alternatives, which are the result of combining several ingredients together to create a similar effect, in this example the binding of other ingredients. For these custom alternatives, succinct instructions with measurements are provided, and these also are dynamically filtered on dietary requirements and their compositional data shown for comparison.

The attributes and sub-attribute weights (given full information on the ingredient) are displayed graphically within each criteria below. Should there be less attributes available for an ingredient, the weights are adjusted accordingly inter-criteria or inter-attribute as appropriate.

Relative attribute weights - Nutrients Nutrients
Nutrients are substances that we need for energy, growth and bodily functions. Macro-nutrients are those nutrients we need in larger quantities and can be broadly broken down into carbohydrates, fats and proteins.
The macro-nutritional information of the ingredients we use to find viable alternatives is based on a total of 13 attributes and sub-attributes.
Relative attribute weights - Minerals Minerals
Micro-nutrients are nutrients we need in smaller quantities. Minerals are a part of these micronutrients and broadly consist of the major minerals found in the human body and ‘trace elements’.
The major minerals found in the human body are calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and magnesium. Among the trace elements are iron, copper, zinc, manganese, iodine and selenium.
We have collected information on 11 these minerals to be used when finding alternatives.
Relative attribute weights - Vitamins Vitamins
Vitamins are a part of micronutrients and broadly consist of fat-soluble and water-soluble vitamins.
Fat-soluble vitamins include vitamins A, D, E and K while water-soluble vitamins include vitamins C and B (including folic acid).
We have collected information on 26 attributes and sub-attributes to be used when finding viable alternatives for an ingredient.
Relative attribute weights - Flavours Flavour
Through analyzing the flavour molecules found in foods we have developed a flavour profile for the ingredients.
These 18 attributes are the result of boiling down over 700 different flavor descriptions of flavor molecules and attributing these parent attributes to the ingredients based on their content. The occurrence of each flavour description is then measured and its weight in describing the flavour profile of the ingredient captured.
Relative attribute weights - Structure Structure
Structure is a key criteria that defines whether an alternative can be used for the same purpose as the target ingredient to replace. We used the ingredients’ water content as well as scores we attributed based on their structure to capture both solidity and crunchiness to develop their structure profiles.
This helps to identify viable alternatives that share common structural traits for the cooking process.

All criteria are used in finding viable alternatives for the target ingredient, but for more insights each can also be selected individually to find the best alternatives based on the attributes in that criteria only.

On the website, should a generic form of an ingredient be searched, only generic forms of other ingredients will be proposed as alternatives. This does not apply to the API as searches can be refined with more specific parameters. By default only the best match of an ingredient's variants will be returned, should you wish to receive the best alternatives including all variants and each ingredient, this can be opted for by selecting the checkbox on the website. In the Alternatives BonAPI you can specify how many variants of the searched ingredient type as well as how many variants of other ingredient types should be returned - again, by default this is set to 1 for the potential alternatives.

Optional Constraints

You can choose to further refine or filter your search so that only ingredients that meet certain requirements are taken into account when determining the best alternative. These requirements can include specific dietary preferences, allergies and intolerances, as well as specific cooking techniques.

Dietary Preferences

Dietary preferences can be restricted to only include ingredients suitable for a pescetarian, vegetarian or vegan diet.

By default all ingredients are searched through to find the best alternative.

Allergies & Intolerances

One or more allergies and intolerances can be selected from a total of 13 different ones; including:
Mollusc Allergy; Sulphites Allergy; Mustard Allergy; Sesame Allergy; Gluten Allergy; Lactose Intolerance; Soya Allergy; Egg Allergy; Fish Allergy; Celery Allergy; Crustacean Allergy; Peanut Allergy and Nut Allergy.

Ingredients containing the selected allergies or intolerances will not be included in the results.

Preparation Techniques

If you require the alternatives to allow for a specific preparation technique, one or more preparation techniques can be selected from a total of 21 different types; including:
Stir Frying, Dry With Fat; Pan Frying, Dry With Fat; Deep Frying, Dry With Fat; Sauteing, Dry With Fat; Searing, Dry With Fat; Sweating, Dry With Fat; Grilling, Dry; Roasting, Dry; Searing, Dry; Broiling, Dry; Baking, Dry; Smoking, Dry; Steaming, Moist; Poaching, Moist; Simmering, Moist; Boiling, Moist; Stewing, Moist; Sousvide, Moist; Braising, Combined; Raw and Pickling, Raw.

Only ingredients that allow for selected types of preparation technique will be included in the results.

Data

Our algorithm calculates suitable alternatives based on 2 main pillars of information type: the nutritional content of the ingredients and the flavour composition of the ingredients.

For the nutritional information we have gathered our data from various sources so as to generate ‘average’ nutritional profiles of ingredients and for information completeness.
These sources include:

In order to build the flavour profiles of the ingredients and base these on the flavour molecules that they contain, we have used multiple sources in order to collect the different information types required to understand and construct them.
These sources include:

If you have any questions or would like to get in contact with us, please do so through our Contact page.