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    Meal Planning App Development: How to Develop?

    Updated Date: March 27, 2024
    Written by Hemendra Singh
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    Whether we are actively engaged in physical activities and exercise or not, the very first factor that determines our overall health is our food-eating habits and our meal planning throughout the week or month. However, it is not easy for everyone to hire a dietician or ask a physician to prepare a good, tasty, and nutritional meal every few days. That’s where the meal planning app walks in.

    Thanks to people’s increasing concern about their eating habits and reliance on mobile apps for different daily tasks, meal planning app development is now a burgeoning trend. Additionally, integrating features for workout routines and fitness tracking makes these apps even more comprehensive, catering to a holistic approach to health management.

    According to Statista, the nutrition apps market is all set to achieve a valuation of $5.4 billion by the end of 2024. The market is further expected to show a CAGR of 11.31% to achieve a valuation of $8.29 billion by 2028. Let’s understand the significance of meal-planning apps in the daily lifestyle of people and how a meal-planning app development company, among mobile app development agencies of USA, is all you need to invest in the burgeoning idea.

    Nutrition Apps Worldwide Statista Market Forecast
    Source: https://www.statista.com/

    What is Meal Planning App?

    Meal planning apps are the software that makes it easy for people to maintain a healthy meal and eating habits. First of all, there are hundreds and thousands of recipes pre-installed in the application that help people with different nutritional requirements. Moreover, the user can also access the grocery list that is required to prepare all the meals and recipes suggested by the app. This feature makes it easy for users to shop all the necessary ingredients and keep their diet plan disciplined.

    The meal planning app is flexible and thus you can change your overall goal periodically. For the same, you can get a different diet and meal plan after every week or month. Similarly, you can increase your protein intake, fiber intake, or iron intake by feeding the right goals into the app.

    Moreover, for those interested in intermittent fasting or other fasting regimens, integrating exact intermittent fasting apps can provide additional support and guidance in achieving their dietary goals while maintafining a healthy lifestyle. This combination of meal planning and fasting apps offers users a comprehensive toolkit for personalized nutrition and wellness management.

    Meal Planning App

    Top 5 Meal Planning Apps

    There are numerous meal-planning apps that you might find on different platforms. However, not all of those are worth trying. The reason is pretty simple. Most of them would deny you suggest anything before making a good monetary transaction while others will just suggest some random recipes to you. So, we are hereby listing some of the best meal-planning apps that you can use for your meal management throughout the week or month.

    1. Paprika


    Paprika Recipe Manager is one of the most used meal-planning apps with 500K+ downloads on the Google Play Store alone. The application comes with a range of functionalities that helps to organize the recipes, plan meals as well as download the best recipes from preferred websites. First of all, the user can download the recipe from any website as well as upload their own recipe.

    Another feature of Paprika creates a smart grocery list that combines the ingredients and sorts them by aisle. The Pantry feature keeps track of the stock of ingredients which informs the users when a certain item is about to expire.

    Key Features:

    • Download and upload recipes on your favorite website
    • A smart grocery list that informs whenever any item is about to expire
    • Meal planning for every day, weekly, or monthly
    • Reusable menus to add favorite dishes to the meal plan
    • Synchronization between recipes, meal plans, and grocery lists
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    2. Mealime

    Build Meal Planning App

    With over 1 Million downloads on the Google Play Store, Mealime is a popular meal planning app around the world. The meal plans and recipes in this application are highly customizable and can fit to everyday eating habits of people with different tastes and lifestyles. At the same time, Mealime not only suggests the grocery list to be purchased but also delivers the complete groceries to your doorsteps. Moving ahead, this app carries a huge recipe database from which the recipes can be prepared in less than 30 minutes. These recipes are effectively curated for people living away from their homes.

    Key Features:

    • Personalized meal plans
    • Grocery delivered to doorsteps
    • Simple meal recipes for people living alone
    • Minimal food waste

    3. Prepear


    Similar to other apps, Prepear also gives you access to a wide range of recipes curated efficiently to meet different nutritional requirements. Moreover, the user can collect the recipes from any sources to add them to the Prepear monthly meal calendar. The whole meal plan can be customized and rearranged within seconds with its drag-and-drop feature. Prepear also comes with an automatic grocery list and delivery system that fetches all required ingredients from your recipes, prepares the list of required ingredients, and gets the items delivered to your home. So, the app makes meal planning easy and simple for everyone.

    Key Features:

    • Intuitive meal planner to manage the diet
    • Automatic grocery list and delivery facility
    • Personlized meal ideas
    • Easy cooking recipes

    4. BigOven

    Develop Meal App

    With 1,000,000+ integrated recipes and meal plans, the BigOven app makes sure that you take every nutrition in your every meal throughout the deal. For the same, it doesn’t only suggest the food to eat, but it also tells the complete recipe to prepare the food ingredients that will be required to prepare the food and even deliver the grocery items to the doorsteps of customers. Moreover, there is a big user community on the app that shares their recipes and experiences on following a particular meal plan. Favorite recipes can be clipped to be found easily and cooked again.

    Key Features:

    • All the recipes in one place
    • Inspiration from a broad community base
    • Grocery list management
    • Reduced food waste

    5. PlateJoy


    PlateJoy is a specially designed app that helps users to achieve their fitness goals with the help of a diet plan, nutrition intake, and healthy eating habits. The customized meal plan enables users to enter their goals, provide their taste preferences, and get a list of hundreds of recipes ready on the screen. The personalized meal plans are available at PlateJoy for Paleo, gluten-free, weight-loss, kid-friendly, vegan, vegetarian, low-fat, prediabetic, and more.

    The app is integrated with a lifestyle quiz which helps you input your data and eating habits and thus get a meal plan accordingly. For those seeking additional support, PlateJoy also integrates with exact weight loss apps, ensuring users have a comprehensive approach to achieving their health and fitness goals.

    Key Features:

    • Lifestyle quiz to get personalized results
    • 50+ different datasets to get a customized menu
    • Convenient and healthy recipes
    • Feed fitness goals to get relevant suggestions

    How to Develop a Meal Planning App? (Step by Step)

    How to Develop a Meal Planning App

    Developing a meal-planning app is a complex task that requires efficient planning and strategy at the workplace. Certain steps help to make sure that the project is being completed according to plan so that the timeline and budget stay within budget always.

    1. Define the Project Scope

    The first step of the meal planner app development project is dedicated entirely to the documentation and formalities of the project. To ensure that the stakeholders of the project share the same information, the client and the development team brainstorm on the project scope. It includes the features of the app, the APIs that will be integrated, the overall budget of the project, the time it would take to complete the project, and much more.

    At the same time, there are big decisions regarding targeted platforms (Android or iOS), technology stack, scalability, etc. are taken at this stage. The mode of payment is also finalized in this step.

    2. Choosing the Right Technology Stack

    Moving ahead, it is vital to choose the right technology stack. The complete architecture of the software is dependent on the tech stack being used. Be it developing the front end, designing, or building the back end of the application, a good choice in the tech stack will enable the meal planning app to serve a huge customer base without impacting on user experience.

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    3. Building the Prototype

    This is the phase where the outline of the meal planning app will be completed. An MVP or the prototype of the application is delivered to the client. This prototype portrays the overall layout, features, user experience, navigation, and all the other things so that the relevant stakeholders can provide their feedback on the software.

    4. Core Coding

    Once the client is satisfied with the features, navigation, designs, and themes of the application, the very next step is core coding. This is the most important part development process as it consists of coding the front end and back end of the application. Moreover, tasks like API integration, payment gateway integration, third-party support, and many other important tasks are carried out during this phase. The fourth step of the meal app development process brings the prototype of the application to life by making it functional.

    5. Testing

    As the name suggests, this phase of meal planner app development is dedicated especially to the quality analyst team so that they can ensure the smooth functioning of the software. A good meal planning app development company will make sure to conduct several tests like speed testing, functionality testing, bug removal process, performance testing, etc. It helps ensure that once the software is available to the target audience, it can work according to their expectation and doesn’t bring down the user experience.

    6. Deployment

    This is almost the final stage of meal planning app development where the development team will launch the app on respective platforms (Google Play Store and Apple App Store). A good meal app development company will adhere to all the regulations and compliances of a particular app store to ensure seamless deployment. Google Play Store charges a lifetime fee of $25 while the Apple App Store charges $99 on an annual basis.

    7. Maintenance and Support

    Further, it is important to ensure that your software is backed by a good software development company to fix any bugs or issues. However, choosing the maintenance and support from reputable software development companies in the USA will add dollars to your meal planning app development budget. Investing in reliable support services ensures prompt resolution of any technical issues that may arise, thereby enhancing the overall user experience and maintaining the app’s functionality at its peak performance level.

    Meal Planning App Development Features

    Meal Planning App Development Features

    There are hundreds of meal-planning solutions that you can find in the market. So, it all depends on the features and functionalities of your application that will help you stand out from the crowd and secure competitive advantages. Here are some of the features that you must ensure with your meal planner app development company during the project-

    1. Good Collection Recipe

    The foremost reason for people looking toward good meal planning apps is getting to know about the recipes that can bring all the nutrition to their plate. So, your app needs to carry a good collection of recipes, both for vegetarian and non-vegetarian people. At the same time, make sure that you curate the recipes for people with different tastes and lifestyles.

    2. Periodic Meal Planning

    Most of the people have particular reasons for their weight gain or loss journey. So, your app must carry the feature of periodic meal planning where the user can plan their diet for particular weeks, days, or months. It enables them to take the perfect diet for a specific period of time and achieve their small or measurable goals.

    3. Grocery List

    This is one of the novel features of the meal planner apps that you should also integrate. The grocery list provides insight into all the ingredients that will be needed to make the suggested recipes. This feature makes it easier for the user to get ready for their diet or meal plan without scrolling too much on different search engines or YouTube.

    4. Offline Accessibility

    It is important that the user can use your app in the offline mode. During meal planner app development, there must be an option that allows the user to access their saved recipes, meal plans, and grocery lists without an internet connection. It will make it easier for the users to use the app even when they are in flight mode or out of network.

    5. Favorite Dishes and Recipes

    This is a basic feature that allows users to save their favorite meal, plan, or recipe in the app. The saved dishes are easily accessible for the users even in the offline mode. At the same time, the user can also download and share the recipes, or meal plans with their friends, fitness trainer, or anyone. Additionally, integrating with a workout app enables users to synchronize their meal plans with their workout routines seamlessly, ensuring a balanced approach to health and wellness management.

    6. Publish Recipes

    Just like downloading or saving the recipes, some features help to upload or share your own recipes on the app. If you are a fitness trainer or nutritionist and want to share your knowledge with the large community on the app, this feature will allow you to share your recipes or weekly/monthly meal plans with other users.

    7. Grocery Delivery

    As the name suggests, this is the feature that prepares the grocery list and even delivers it to your doorstep. For the same, they either have their departmental stores, else they have partnerships with the local grocery stores to send all the items to the doorsteps of customers.

    8. Notifications and Reminders

    Good meal planning apps come with notifications and reminder features that inform users about their meal time, grocery shopping, and much more. For the same, they use the notification and emailing system so that the user can get the reminder even when they are not active on the application. At the same time, the technology stack also determines the streamlined functionality of the meal planner apps.

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    Tech Stack to a Build Meal Planning App

    Choosing the right technology stack is incredibly important to build a strong architecture for the app. When building a meal planning app, the software has to be scalable to support a broad audience base. It’s crucial to select technologies that can handle the complexity of features required to efficiently build meal planning app and ensure seamless user experience.

    Web app front-end development JavaScript-based on AngularJS or ReactJS.
    Web app back-end development  Node.js
    Native android development  Kotlin, Java
    Native iOS development  Swift, Objective-C
    Relational Database Management Systems  MySQL, PostgreSQL
    NoSQL databases  MongoDB, Apache Cassandra

    Meal Planning Mobile App Development Cost

    Starting at a few thousand dollars, the cost of meal planning mobile app development can go up to multiple hundred thousand dollars. The overall cost depends entirely on a range of factors which combined helps to get an estimation of the project cost. Generally, the cost of meal planning mobile app development ranges anywhere between $30,000- $300,000. However, dollars can further be added as per the requirements of the clients.

    Let’s have a glance over the factors that play an important role in determining the meal planning mobile app development cost.

    Features and complexities  The foremost cost-determining factor is features and functionalities. For example, if the features in the application are advanced, it will cost more dollars to invest in the meal planning app development. 
    Location of the development team  Another factor is the location of the meal-planning app development company that you hire for your project. Hiring a team from Western countries like Australia, the USA, the UK or Europe might cost you twice as compared as a country like India. 
    Development platform  There is a big cost difference between the iOS app and the Android app. So, you will have to decide the platform where you can target your audience more effectively to get the best cost estimation.  
    Time-taken  Most of the meal-planning app development companies work on an hourly basis. So, a longer duration of the project will automatically increase the cost of your software development. 
    Maintenance and support As interpreted in the section above, it is important to have technical maintenance and support to ensure the smooth functioning of the software. However, hiring the technical team for maintenance support increases the overall cost. 
    Third-party integration  Another factor is the third-party integration that determines the cost of meal planning app development. Third-party integration includes API integration, payment gateway integration, etc. 

    How to Monetise a Meal Planning Mobile App?

    How to Monetise a Meal Planning Mobile App

    Meal planning mobile app development requires a good investment and thus the foremost concern of every app owner is to get a good return on investment. When it comes to making money through software and applications, there are a range of monetization models that help the app owner to get back the money they invested in the software.

    In addition to traditional methods such as in-app purchases or subscription plans, app owners can also explore innovative avenues like integrating cash advance apps, which provide users with financial assistance in exchange for a fee or interest. By diversifying monetization strategies, app owners can maximize revenue streams and ensure a profitable venture in the competitive app market.

    1. Advertising

    This is one of the most used and best monetization models being used in the different meal planner apps. As long as you manage to bring good traffic to your application, there are different businesses who would approach you to display their product on your application. For the same, many business owners offer a good amount as a fee for advertisement.

    2. Paid Apps

    This is another widely used method to monetize the mobile application. In this method, the app owner can decide to deploy the software in the category of paid apps where the users have to pay a certain amount before downloading or registering into the application. This is mostly a one-time fee for the users.

    3. Subscription Model

    As the name suggests, the subscription model is the technique to charge for mobile app services on a periodical basis. However, it is important in this method that your application is delivering the worth of their monthly subscription or they might not prefer to pay the next subscription.

    4. Freemium Model

    When we mix the free and paid model of the application, it is called the freemium model. In this method, the customer can use the basic features of the application for free while they have to pay for more advanced features and functionalities. For example, the basic meal recipes can be accessed for free while the user has to pay for video conferencing with nutrition experts.

    5. In-app Purchases

    This method is similar to that of the freemium model. However, this model doesn’t come with any premium features. There is some digital content that the user can unlock and use by paying for it. For example, a meal planning app can offer extremely customized meal plans from the best nutritionists in exchange for a certain amount for users.

    Why Choose The NineHertz as a Meal Planning App Development Company?

    The meal development software market is moving forward with a very fast pace which makes it very important for you to partner with the right meal app development company to get the most out of investment. Be it the feature implementation or timely delivery of the project, a good meal app development company will help you ensure everything. By minimizing the app’s time-to-market, the company helps to bring down the development cost and increase the ROI. Here are some of the reasons that make us a perfect choice as your meal app development partner.

    • 15+ years of experience
    • 24*7 maintenance and support
    • Least time to market
    • Cost efficient solutions
    • Broad technology stack
    • Niche expertise

    Conclusion: Meal Planning App

    Meal planning app development can be a great investment option when you want something that demands the least of your time to give you the maximum return. Increasing concern of people toward their health and diet has increased the demand for meal-planning apps and software. Some of the top meal planning apps are serving an active user base of millions and earning good money from different monetization models. If you are also looking for a meal-planning app development company, The NineHertz can be the right choice for you. Sign up for a free consultation with our development experts and begin your digital journey.

    FAQ’s: Meal Planning App Development

    Q.1 What Team is Required to Develop a Meal-Planning App?

    It is important to have a good meal-planning mobile app development team to ensure quality output. The team should atleast consist the roles such as project manager, product owner, quality analysts, designers, front-end developers, back-end developers, and business analysts.

    Q.2 Which is the Best Meal-Planning App Development Company?

    The NineHertz is one of the best meal planning app development companies with over 15 years of experience and a team of experts in this particular niche. The company delivers the project in the least possible time and decides the budget.

    Q.3 Why Do We Need a Meal Planning Mobile App?

    A meal planning mobile app is a significant solution that helps health-conscious users get a perfect diet plan to achieve their health goals in the least possible time. Moreover, most of these are free software solutions that make personally curated diet plans more accessible for everyone.

    Q.4 What are the Benefits of a Meal-Planning Application?

    The meal-planning mobile app makes it easier for users to get their personalized meal plan for the week or month. At the same time, they can also download the grocery list as well as order the groceries from the app.

    Hemendra Singh

    My name is Hemendra Singh. I am a Director and Co-founder of The NineHertz, IT Consulting Company. I am having a keen interest in the latest trends and technologies that are emerging in different domains. Being an entrepreneur in the field of the IT sector, it becomes my responsibility to aid my audience with the knowledge of the latest trends in the market.