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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
- FoodData Central, USDA
- Canadian Nutrient File Database
- The Dutch Food Composition Database (NEVO)
- Swiss Food Composition Database
If you have any questions or would like to get in contact with us, please do so through our Contact page.