--- This article adds onto How does the grocery list work? ---
The pantry is meant to keep track of what ingredients you own, and help our algorithms optimize on using up everything to reduce food waste. So after you go grocery shopping, move the stuff you bought from the grocery list to the pantry.
We remove ingredients from your pantry the day after you're supposed to have eaten them (we do this automatically when the weekly generator runs, or if you hit the "update pantry" button under "Actions" on the grocery list page). If you don't eat something in your plan and don't want us to remove those ingredients, remove that item from your meal plan to make it reflect what you actually ate.
The weekly planner will give priority to using up your pantry foods to reduce waste, especially if you select "Groceries" as your generator focus in the Settings.**
What if you want to just fill up the Pantry with what you own, and generate meal suggestions based on that?
We don't have the ability to generate a full week with just your pantry yet (the chances of finding a bunch of recipes that fit your pantry and your nutrition targets and your meal preferences is very low, and too difficult for our algorithms at the moment).
However! We do have 2 options for you now:
1. You can generate one meal at a time that uses your pantry by clicking the name of a meal in your plan to open the Meal Menu, then "List alternative meals". There, you can choose to show only meals that you can make with your pantry.
2. You can also browse recipes that can be made using your pantry. Click the Food Search bar in the sidebar, then click the 3-dot menu, then -> "View Recipes that Use Your Pantry Foods". Then just drag+drop these recipes into your plan.
To make the pantry meal suggestions work best, make sure you fill up your pantry using foods from our Basic Foods database. Most of our recipes are made up of ingredients from the Basic Foods collection, so if you want to find a good number of recipes that has overlap with your pantry, use those Basic Foods.
Last but not least, if you want total control of what the planner recommends, there's always the Recurring Foods feature. Find the foods + recipes you want in the Food Search, then add them as "recurring foods" that recur "often", and then select the checkbox for those meals that says "Only use recurring foods for this meal". This will force the generator to use only the small subset of foods you already own.
** During testing, we've found the planner to be 80%-90% efficient with using up groceries when you let the planner handle most of the generating. The average American is about 70% efficient with grocery usage, or if you're anything like me, much much worse than 70%.