The key to organizing something is having a system to follow. Any seasoned organizer will tell you this is the second step after getting rid of items that you no longer need.
Kitchen management is especially tricky. Food is essential. Every trip to a membership grocery store comes with the responsibility of making sure that the items you buy in bulk do not expire on you.
There are basic things that you can do to avoid this from happening, such as making sure that new stock is placed behind old stock. That way, you can reach the ones that were bought earlier first. A list is also helpful; however, constantly updating it has its challenges.
Enter applications that are available in Playstore and Apple Store that can help manage the pantry and the kitchen. You can pick according to your needs. Most of them help with grocery lists to avoid food wastage. We picked two apps for comparison.
My Kitchen app is developed by Steljoy. The app is divided into four sections: fridge, freezer, pantry and grocery list.
Inventory-building is the most time-consuming part of using this app. You need to check all your stocks to see what you have and what you don’t. You can input items manually or you can scan the barcodes of the products for easy addition.
If an item is not in the database, you can add it manually. Adding requires uploading a photo of the product. It sounds like a lot of work, but it’s very easy to do. It just requires you to type the name of the item and voila, it’s in the system. Users after you will also be able to benefit from your efforts.
Once it’s in the database, you can add it to any of the sections that it belongs to. You can add the quantity and the expiration date. You can also update the quantity so you’ll know if your stock is running low. This is especially useful for beverages.
You can easily transfer items from the other sections to the grocery list and vice versa.
There are many things that we appreciate about this app, first of which is that there is no functionality locked behind subscriptions. While it’s free to use, you can pay P67/month to support the developer and completely remove the ads.
The design is very straightforward. The icons on top are easy to navigate. Expirations, for example, are color-coded with appropriate emojis. A green smiling emoji for good, straight-faced and yellow for those going bad today and sad red ones for those expired.
It also has an option to create a group. The group allows you, your family and other household members to share information including expiration dates and grocery lists. This is especially useful for the grocery-challenged members of the household (We see you!). The photos, names and even barcodes will help them fill their carts with correct items. No more frantic video calls in the grocery aisles to check if they got the correct item.
KitchenPal: Pantry Manager, Grocery List and Recipes by Icuisto is similar to My Kitchen. But think of it as the fancier and more detailed version. It is highly recommended by its users for good reason.
The sections are divided into Fridge, Pantry, Freezer, Spices, Beverages and Others. We discovered that a lot of imported items are already in its database and photographed professionally.
If you can’t find an item, you upload your own by scanning barcodes. But it does ask more questions than My Kitchen. It includes ingredients, brand and unit. The free version only allows you to scan up to 100 items.
The app keeps scores in its database on the healthiness of the product. If you scan something with a low score, the app will not mince words to tell you that it is a “Poor choice!” and that “You should look for healthier alternatives.” If you do not want a phone app to judge your life choices, you can easily turn it off in your settings.
Your profile will also ask for preferences and restrictions such as gluten-free, no alcohol or pregnancy-friendly. It also asks how many people you are cooking for and how often you exercise.
The reason you should patiently answer these questions is that it suggests recipes based on what’s available in your pantry. It also adjusts the ingredients according to the number you are cooking for. If all you’ve inputted in your items are flour and sugar, you are most likely to get baking suggestions. The suggested recipes are likely to be international dishes, but we did find adobo in the mix.
The recipes also include the cost of each serving.
Some of the recipes are available for a limited period if you are on the free version. But it will never run out of suggestions. This is perfect if you are unsure of what to cook for the day.
KitchenPal also takes note of the food wastage and the money saved. To get the full version, the cheapest option is the annual subscription, around P60 monthly; otherwise, you pay P180 for a month or P365 for three.
Which of these two apps is better will depend on your needs.
If you only want something for your basic grocery and stock needs, the free version of My Kitchen will suffice. But if you want something to help you with food planning, weight loss, cooking for a certain number of people, then the KitchenPal is for you.
But if you don’t like both, there are plenty of similar apps available out there that you can also try. It’s your kitchen, make it personal.
Get the latest lifestyle news delivered to your inbox