Friday, August 18, 2017

3rd-Parties Win on Meal Plantastic SaaS

Xilution, Inc. is the software development company behind Meal Plantastic. We create API-Based Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions that give developers the flexibility to build their own GUI built on cloud-based pay for what you use technology. 

Meal Plantastic SaaS is Xilution's first API-Based SaaS product, focused on the multiple Meal Planning segments from recipe content creation to the meal kit industry. While we are developer-focused, we also provide many opportunities for monetizing recipe content created by 3rd-parties within our platform.

The Meal Plantastic Marketplace allows 3rd parties to use Meal Plantastic as a place to sell access to recipe content that can be used by developers for many different food service related applications. Do you have some special recipes? Perhaps you've developed recipe content that is focused on weight-loss, or dietary restrictions, heart health, muscle building, or simply recipes that taste so good you know they're worth something.

API-based Software-as-a-Service ProductsWith the MarketPlace through Amazon and with our Stripe Integration, you can set your price for access to your content and get paid when applications are developed that integrate with your recipes. You create the recipes and we provide developers with the opportunity to purchase your recipes as an add-on to the base Meal Plantastic functionality. Its a win-win situation!  Contact us today to get started and start getting paid for the recipes you've created.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

What can you build with Meal Plantastic?

Over the next few weeks we are going to continue exploring some of the many possibilities for building great meal planning applications with Meal Plantastic SaaS.


We've created MealPlanToShoppingList to show you a functional example of some of those possibilities. The easy to use interface lets you meal plan and create a shopping list.

This is a reference implementation to give you and your developers an idea of the flexibility of the solution.

Last week we touched on the potential for adding meal planning as an option for a personal training application. With Meal Plantastic's API, integration is easy. 

The time and money saved will get you up and running faster. Speaking of money, we are also integrated into Stripe and it's payment gateway so you can start generating income right away with whatever solution you decide to build using Meal Plantastic.




Food Service, Catering, Recipe Blogging... are yet three more examples of the types of businesses and applications our API can support. If you've got an food related idea, we've got the platform and the know-how to get you up and making money quickly. Whether integrating into an existing application or building something from scratch, let us help!






Thursday, May 18, 2017

Personal Trainers: Add Meal Planning to your offering

Workout Plans and Meal Plans go hand in hand. As a personal trainer, you know that what you put into your body can ultimately determine how successful your workout results can be. Adding a meal planning option from Meal Plantastic including recipe and nutrition statistics from the Edamam add-on to your personal training website can create a new revenue stream.

Not only is it a great way to maximize the health of your clients, but also a way to differentiate your offering and increase your profit margin!

Meal Plantastic is built to serve multiple meal planning segments including the Wellness and Fitness arena.



Contact us today!

We can help you get Meal Plantastic integrated into your already running personal training software.

Amazon Web Service enabled and ready to run in the cloud makes it easy.

e-mail: blmeader@xilution.com

Monday, March 6, 2017

A Functional Example of the Meal Plantastic SaaS Marketplace

I've had several people ask me for an explanation of the Meal Plantastic SaaS Marketplace. In this blog article, I intend to introduce you to an functional implementation of the Meal Plantastic SaaS Marketplace. I am hopeful that this example helps you better understand a business case for the Meal Plantastic SaaS Marketplace.

In a nutshell, the Marketplace grants Meal Plantastic SaaS business subscribers the ability to configure products within the platform. The platform currently supports three types of products: meal planning services, recipe boxes and meal kits. Products can be monetized in three different ways. First, products can be free. Second, products can be configured as a one time charge. Third, products can be configured as a subscription with periodic billing. Products are "activated" for a user. Users are associated with Meal Plantastic SaaS business subscribers.



MealPlanToShoppingList.com is a functional example of the Meal Plantastic SaaS Marketplace in action. MealPlanToShoppingList.com is an example business subscriber of the Meal Plantastic SaaS platform. MealPlanToShoppingList.com has four recipe box products configured. They are accessible through MealPlanToShoppingList.com's beta and test environments.

To view MealPlanToShoppingList.com's example products first create a free account in the site's test environment (http://xilution-mp2sl-web-test.s3-website-us-east-1.amazonaws.com/). The Recipes and Products menu items found in MealPlanToShoppingList.com's beta and test environments are turned off in the site's production environment. When you create a MealPlanToShoppingList.com account, your user data including your credentials will be replicated across all three Meal Plantastic SaaS environments (beta, test and prod).

Once you have your account set up and you are logged in, click on Products menu at the top of the screen.



Find the One Time Charge Based Product and click on the Purchase button. A dialog will appear where you can enter payment information. Complete the form using 4242424242424242 as a test credit card. Please do not enter a real credit card number. Accept the terms and click the Purchase button at the bottom of the form.

Assuming you entered valid payment information and accepted the terms, Meal Plantastic SaaS will activate your user account for MealPlanToShoppingList.com's One Time Charge Based Product. Your fake credit card will be charged the one time fee for access to the recipes associated with the product. Meal Plantastic SaaS will collect a small application fee and MealPlanToShoppingList.com will collect the balance.

In this example, you should now have access to the recipes found in the One Time Charge Based Product. Click on Meal Planner in the menu and try to create a meal plan with one of the One Time Charge Based Product's recipes. Try to activate and deactivate other products. You should see similar results, each charging or not charging your fake credit card in different ways.

I hope this blob article helps you see the potential of the Meal Plantastic SaaS Marketplace for your meal planning business. For technical questions or for information about platform pricing, please contact tbrunia@xilution.com.

Access to MealPlanToShoppingList.com source code is available upon request.



Sunday, March 5, 2017

How Meal Plantastic SaaS Could Help a Regional Grocer Launch Its Meal Kit Strategy

In this blog article, I describe a fictional scenario in which a regional grocer discovers and employs Meal Plantastic SaaS as the backend for its entry into the meal kit market.

The hypothetical grocer, let's call Bags o' Groceries, has followed the meal kit industry for a few years. Its management team has tracked and measured the growth of companies like Blue Apron and Hello Fresh and are intrigued by the opportunity the meal kit market appears to offer. They know that their customers appreciate convenience. They see meal kits as the latest incarnation of a trend that's been evolving for several years.

Bags o' Groceries' managers recognize the advantages they have in supply chain, facilities, labor and digital marketing. As a grocer, they naturally have excellent access to meal kit inputs. Bags o' Groceries has access to kitchen facilities in several of its stores. Bags o' Groceries also has good access to labor to fulfill meal kit orders. Bags o' Groceries is technically savvy but tech isn't a core strength. They have an IT staff which maintains their point of sale and purchasing systems. They operate their own website and successfully use it to market their products and connect with their customers. They outsourced the development of their website to a local marketing firm.

Bags o' Groceries wants to capitalize on the exploding meal kit market as quickly as possible, but they don't want to overcommit to a strategy that has the potential to fail. They know others share the same vision and advantages that they do, so they want to establish their presence fast.

To prove their hunch, Bags o' Groceries has decided to make a small investment in the launch of a test meal kit application. They have identified a small collection of recipes that they think will appeal to their customers. These recipes are simple to execute with minimal ingredients and could feature locally produced ingredients. They will initially launch their meal kit application in a city within their region of operation that has the best kitchen facilities and greatest access to labor. As interest in the product grows, they will incrementally expand the product into other cities in which they operate.

Bags o' Groceries has assigned their Director of Information Technology, Jill, to research products and vendors to help them execute their meal kit strategy. While researching products, Jill comes across the Meal Plantastic SaaS website through a Google search. She reads through the site's landing page and recognizes that Meal Plantastic SaaS has potential to help her employer achieve its goals, but she's not exactly sure how. She sends an email to Meal Plantastic SaaS requesting more information.

Todd, from Xilution (the creator of Meal Plantastic SaaS), responds to Jill's email. Todd points Jill to MealPlanToShoppingList.com as a reference implementation of Meal Plantastic SaaS. Todd also suggests that Jill check out the marketplace features on display in the test version of MealPlanToShoppingList.com.

Jill checks out MealPlanToShoppingList.com. She likes the meal planning and shopping list features. She activates a subscription based product in the test version of MealPlanToShoppingList.com. She can envision many of these features in her company's meal kit application, but she is still uncertain about how exactly Meal Plantastic SaaS fits into her company's plans.

After reading through the user guide and some Q&A with Todd, Jill creates an free account through the Meal Plantastic SaaS developer portal. Jill assigns Ben, a member of her IT staff, to evaluate the Meal Plantastic SaaS API. Ben is a tech savvy programmer and is familiar with RESTful web services. Ben uses Postman to explore the Meal Plantastic SaaS API. Ben is pleased with Meal Plantastic SaaS's intuitive API end points. He's also happy to find that the platform has a comprehensive user guide. Ben reports what he has learned back to Jill.

Jill is intrigued by the potential of the Meal Plantastic SaaS marketplace. Todd suggested that it supports product subscriptions and credit card transactions. As Bags o' Groceries' Director of Information Technology, Jill knows how hard it is to manage a point of sale system and wants to minimize the technical difficulty and financial risk a new meal kit application could present.

While Ben evaluates the API, Jill researches Meal Plantastic SaaS's domain model and marketplace features. Jill discovers that Meal Plantastic SaaS supports the monetization of products. She learns that products can be configured as free based, subscription based or one time charge based. Jill finds the conceptual data model to be especially useful in helping her understand how data is organized in Meal Plantastic SaaS.



Given Ben's feedback and her research, Jill sees the potential that Meal Plantastic SaaS has as a turnkey backend solution for her company's meal kit initiative. She also recognizes that a complete solution that leverages Meal Plantastic SaaS would require a custom built front end. Jill consults Todd for front end possibilities. Todd responds with a few different alternatives and recommends that Bags o' Groceries implement a single page web application.



Jill shares what she has learned with Bags o' Groceries' management team. After evaluating several alternatives, they decide to move forward with Meal Plantastic SaaS and build a custom front end. Speed to market and cost containment are their most significant deciding factors. In spite of the need to create a custom front end, Bags o' Groceries saw the benefit of not investing time and money in a backend as an advantage. The like the idea of shifting resources that would have gone to backend development to the front end application. They use funds not invested in backend development to hire a UI/UX consultant to ensure a more positive user experience for their customers.

They decide to outsource the construction of their meal kit application's front end. Xilution helps Bags o' Groceries source a software engineering firm for the build. With oversight provided by Xilution, the software engineering firm provides a brief front end technical design. After approval to proceed by all parties including the UI/UX consultant, the software engineering firm begins work on the front end application.

Xilution provides both Bags o' Groceries and the software engineering firm with technical support throughout the project. Xilution helps Bags o' Groceries configure products and plans and helps load recipes and meal kit menus into the platform.

A couple month prior to launch, Bags o' Groceries activates production access to Meal Plantastic SaaS through the Amazon Web Services Marketplace. By activating production access to the platform, Bags o' Groceries agrees to pay a monthly fee to Xilution for access to Meal Plantastic SaaS. Bags o' Groceries also agrees to pay a small application fee for each transaction made within the Meal Plantastic SaaS marketplace.

Within about four months, Bags o' Groceries is marketing a minimum viable meal kit application to its customers in its initial launch city. The app is widely available to Bags o' Groceries' customers via their mobile phones, tablets, laptops, and desktops. The complete system including Meal Plantastic SaaS is 100% cloud deployed requiring absolutely no on-premises IT resources which makes Jill very happy.

Over the next several weeks, Bags o' Groceries collects feedback from customers. Bags o' Groceries shares some of what they have learned with Xilution who uses the feedback to make further improvements to the platform at no additional cost to Bags o' Groceries. Two months after the initial launch, Bags o' Groceries launched their meal kit application in a second city.

***

Bear in mind this is a hypothetical example, but it's all possible. We're excited to make this story a reality with your company as you journey into the meal kit market. Please contact tbrunia@xilution.com for more information.




Saturday, February 4, 2017

Meal Plantastic SaaS Targets the Exploding Meal Kit Market

On February 1st, we officially announced the launch of MealPlantastic SaaS (Software as a Service) with this press release.

https://s3.amazonaws.com/xilution-mealplantastic-press-releases/xilution_targets_the_exploding_meal_kit_industry_with_the_launch_of_meal_plantastic_saas_02_01_2016.pdf
“Building a complete software solution that includes a beautiful and functional user interface on top of a reliable, scalable and cost effective platform is hard. It's not long before the platform details start to become overwhelming and detract from a marketer’s ability to serve their customers,” said Todd Brunia, Xilution’s founder. 
“The meal kit industry is exploding,” explained Brunia. “We want to be the platform upon which the next generation of meal kit products is built. Being so early in the evolution of the industry, there’s an amazing opportunity to differentiate. We predict numerous entrants into the market. Getting a product to market quickly and establishing a brand first is critical. We think Meal Plantastic SaaS provides a compelling option for meal kit vendor’s to accelerate their speed to market.”
I'm so excited to be part of the booming meal kit industry. We think we have a big opportunity serving grocers and restaurants as they develop their meal kit strategies.

Adam Ozimek of Modeled Behavior expresses a similar vision in this article. “Incumbent grocery stores and restaurants have huge competitive advantages in being the providers of meal kits,” says, Ozimek.

It feels like we're on the verge of something big. Can't wait to see where this journey takes us.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Meal Plantastic SaaS is a World Class Meal Planning Platform

Meal Plantastic SaaS

Meal Plantastic SaaS (Software as a Service) is a world class meal planning platform. Our secure and scalable RESTful API supports meal planning, shopping list management and recipe management functions. The platform features an integrated marketplace where you can monetize your recipe content and your meal planning services.

Our Customers

Do you create recipe content and or provide meal planning services? Do you have plans to build the next big meal planning application or business? If so, Meal Plantastic SaaS is for you. Consider this: building a complete software solution that includes a beautiful user interface and a reliable, scalable and cost effective platform is hard. It's not long before the platform details start to become overwhelming and detract from your ability to serve your customers with your differentiated user interface. Operating a modern software platform requires experience with the latest in computing, data storage and networking technologies. By leveraging our world class meal planning platform you can avoid the expense of building a back end system of your own. We've already don the hard work for you using cutting edge cloud based technologies. Register today and accelerate your speed to market.

What it Does

In a nut shell, the API supports three basic category types. The first category type is Meal Planning which includes Recipes, Meals and Shopping List Details. The second category type is Identity which includes Organizations, Users and Households. When you register, the platform creates an Organization and User for you. Unlike other meal planning APIs, Meal Plantastic SaaS supports three Commerce types which includes Product, Plan (subscriptions) and Activation types. Our Commerce types allow you to monetize your recipe content and meal planning services. The platform provides create, read, update and delete endpoints for all three category types. The platform also provides several association endpoints that allow you to relate these types with one another. The value of the API is in these associations. Read on to learn more.
Meal Plantastic SaaS Domain Model
Meal Plantastic SaaS Domain Model

The Basics

When your application integrates with Meal Plantastic SaaS, it can support any number of Users in any number of Households. You might find it handy to know that Users can be associated with multiple Households. Your application will use your API Key (provided when you register) and our authorization endpoints to authenticate your application's Users. Authentication is described in detail in our User Guide.

Basic Meal Planning

To do basic meal planning, your application uses the /recipes endpoints to create and update Recipe objects. Our /create-recipe-from-url allows your application to create a Recipe object from recipes found on the internet. Your application uses the /meals endpoints to create Meals. Recipes must be associated with a User's Household before they can be associated with Meals. Your application will use the /add-recipe-to-household endpoint to accomplish this task. Now your application can associate a Recipe to a Meal by using the /add-recipe-to-meal endpoint. Invoking this endpoint will automatically add the Recipe's ingredients to the authenticated User's Household's Shopping List Details.

Monetize your Recipe Content and Meal Planning Services

Our commerce types are a real differentiator. Our Product and Plan types allow you to monetize your recipe content and meal planning services. Our Product type includes parameters like name, url, one time price and terms of use. Our Plan type includes parameters like subscription interval period, subscription trial period and recurring price. Here's where it gets good. Your application will use the /activate-product endpoint when your User's purchase your products. Xilution, Inc., collects a pre-negotiated application fee for each transaction. The Meal Plantastic SaaS integrates with the secure, market leading payment gateway, Stripe.com, to support financial transactions.

Availability

Meal Plantastic SaaS supports three environments: Beta, Test and Production. Throttled access to the Beta and Test environments is free and available to all registered users. Access to the Production environment is available on a subscription basis. Please contact tbrunia@xilution.com for terms and pricing details.

Secure and Scalable

Meal Plantastic SaaS is build upon the latest in cloud technology which allows us to provide you with the most advanced security and scalability features possible. We use SSL for communication between your software and our API. We use Java Web Tokens (JWT) for authentication and authorization. Best of all, because our platform is built upon serverless technologies, we can immediately scale with your needs.

Support

We want to help you win. We provide top notch online documentation through our User Guide and API Reference. We monitor our user forum daily for questions and respond as quickly as possible. Are you looking for SDKs? We can build them for you for just about any programming platform upon request. Do you need help building your user interface? We have a reference implementation available upon request to help accelerate your speed to market even faster.

Want to Learn More?

Have a look at the platform's User Guide, our API Reference or our Swagger configuration.

Who We Are

Meal Plantastic SaaS was created and is maintained by Xilution, Inc.