The Road to Sustainability
The world is incredibly ignorant about the current state of nutrition science. As the evidence has piled up over the past several decades, society at large hasn’t changed much at all. People continue to die of entirely preventable diseases. In many cases they were never even presented with the knowledge that their dietary choices could improve their situation. Every life lost to this lack of information is a tragedy.
I built The Scientific Meal Planner because I saw an opportunity to use my programming skills to help people change their lives. If I could program the best nutrition advice into a meal planning algorithm, people could reap the benefits of that knowledge without becoming nutrition science experts themselves. This is my attempt to do something meaningful in this world.
If you’ve been following the project over the past year and half, you’ve seen me wrestle with how to balance my desire to do good and the economic realities of keeping something like this going. A project like this requires at minimum, my full time attention. To fully realize the vision of keeping on top of the latest science, growing the recipe base, adding new features, etc, I need to reach a place where I can pay the bills.
I originally launched The Scientific Meal Planner as an entirely free service, and attempted to survive off of donations. That didn’t work out so I changed to a freemium model, where the core meal planning algorithm was free but nice-to-have conveniences were paid. While this worked a lot better, it’s now become clear to me that most people are happy just sticking with the free version. The real thing people want is the meal planning algorithm, and giving it away for free doesn’t leave me in a place where I can pay my bills and keep improving it.
So I’m asking my users to help me help them eat healthy. The Scientific Meal Planner now costs $4.99/mo with a yearly subscription. I want it to be as accessible as possible, so I’ve gone with (as far as I’m aware) the cheapest pricing for a meal planning service anywhere.
This was a tough choice. I wanted everyone to have access freely forever so it could do the most good. But I think it’s more important that The Scientific Meal Planner continue to exist and get the attention it deserves. The only feasible route to achieving that is to start charging for it.