Preparing your recipe content for the digital age 🤖

As the world continues to moves online, your food and recipe content needs to work in a variety of new digital formats – from website widgets to mobile apps.

Here is a short guide explaining some of the ways you and your team can make sure your recipe content thrives in the digital age.

Use the most suitable units of measure

This sounds obvious but it’s often overlooked.

The basic principles are:

  • Choose the measurement system (metric or imperial) that best suits your audience. (Our software can automatically convert between the two systems.)
  • If it’s a volume measurement, then use teaspoon, tablespoon, cup, fluid ounce, gallon, milliliter, liter (etc).
  • If it’s a weight measurement, then use ounce, pound, gram, kilogram (etc).
  • If it’s an imprecise measurement, then use slice, piece (etc).
  • For whole ingredients (e.g. “1 apple”), don't specify a unit (select "none").

There are exceptions for some store-bought ingredients. For example, canned and jarred goods can sometimes use ounces (oz) and other times use fluid ounces (fl oz).

For reference, here is a list of the units of measure we support and their groupings.

Be consistent across your recipes

This is perhaps the most difficult: be consistent across your recipes.

Here is an example of when it goes wrong:

Three avocado rows are showing because this person has used different ingredient names (“avocado” and “avocados”) and different units (“piece” and none).

Even complex AI systems will struggle to accurately determine what "1 piece" is relative to a whole avocado, as it can vary.

And this is what it should look like:

To achieve this:

  • Be consistent with ingredient names. For example, you could say that you won’t pluralise ingredient names (except in some cases, like “oats”).
  • Be consistent with the units of measure you use (see section above).

If you have a team, we recommend creating a recipe style guide. Go through your recipes and write down examples of best practice. Start small and add to it over time.

Put quantities in the ingredients, not the steps

Digital recipes need to be scalable – for example, if I want to change the servings from two to four, then everything else needs to double in size.

So, we recommend putting quantities in the ingredients list only. Any recipe steps or notes should not include the ingredient quantities.

Here is an example of what not to do:

Instead, put the ingredient name in the steps and the quantity in the ingredients list.

If you need to include things like “add a splash of water” in your steps, then either add "water" as a proper ingredient, or just describe how much to add, like this:

Use the correct mark up (HTML)

Properly formatted recipe pages make it easier for machines to understand your content — whether that is for SEO, using your recipes in a meal planning software, or some other digital use case.

On the flip side, if it's poorly formatted, your content could be virtually unusable outside of a static page or PDF.

If you're interested, maintain a standard recipe schema (format). Fortunately, you probably have a plugin or site builder that handles this for you.

But be aware, not all software does — vanilla online course builders and membership platforms often don't do this, so make sure to check!

Got questions?

If you still have questions or need help, then get in touch.

– Liam & the MealPro App team