Creating the world's first plant based food configurator


Project Overview

The Planteneers project aims to provide a virtual configuration experience based on the products catalog the company has available. In just a few minutes, the user can fully configure their plant-based product with their preferred food category, protein source and properties, finalizing the entire configuration journey by ordering a sample to test the product.

By taking a journey through the main flow of the application, potential clients get familiarized with the plethora of customizable options for each food item and to the existing products available for purchase, recommended to them based on the specific customizations selected.

Client Background and Business Context

Planteneers is part of the Stern-Wywiol Gruppe GmbH, which gives them the competitive advantage of decades of experience in the food processing industry. As a mid-sized food products firm serving B2B clients, their value chain focus was on product development and marketing, and sales. 

The company is leading the revolution focused on providing plant-based food alternatives by offering businesses all the raw materials and technical knowledge required to get the product on the market shelves. 

Planteneers had come to life as a spin-off from a group of family-owned companies generating revenues of ca. €500 Million serving various segments in global B2B food markets.

Management and Owners felt that there was a need to explore the potential of digital technologies in order to position the company as an innovator in the industry. 

The Plantbaser application was born out of the desire to automate the time-costly process of developing products for potential clients. The digital configurator takes product development to a whole new level by offering customers a simple process that can be achieved from anywhere, anytime, in a matter of minutes. 

The platform came to life as a result of a successful partnership between Planteneers, and a dedicated Swiss partner, whose mission was to design a landmark concept to generate a real competitive advantage for Planteneers on the global market, hence the Plantbaser Digital Configurator. used its expertise in Software Product Engineering to turn the concept into the real application which went live globally in less than 8 months.



The first step was to sit together with our Swiss partner and Planteneers representatives and understand the needs of the organization. During interviews and discussing with Planteneers , we better understood the day-to-day process they follw, the gaps that can be filled with a digital solution, and how technology can help them create value. Plenty of ideas were shared, but there were two significant points which stood up as the most important challenges faced by Planteneers team. 

As a result of the concept & ideation process developed together with our Swiss partner and by listening to the Planteneers team’s needs, these were marked as the two most pressing issues:

  • Time-to-market

Historically, customers would ask for a novel product and such a product would be custom-tailored. Time to market would average 12 months in a range from 9 to 18 months. 

As a result, Software Product Engineering would help stremline this process and reduce the time-to-market considerably. 

  • Project profitability

Planteneers’ revenue curve resembled the classic 90/10 shape with a few large accounts and a long tail of small customers. 

In fact, the analysis indicated that a large share of development projects would end with a financial loss as products would never materialize or fail to meet expectations.

Phase I - Concept

The action plan was created and organized in a way to assign the fittest team of experts for this project along with the best resources available in our line of products. In the first step, we offered the needed support and help in making the right decision, alongside our Swiss partner who crafted the concept for the platform, alongside main functionality and customer journey. We then teamed-up together to bring the concept to life with realistic design frames and we all aligned together on the look & feel of the application. 

Phase II - Develop

In the second step, we begin to build the platform. Every design frame, every feature, every functionality become real through the power of tehncology. We followed the best practices of Secure-Software Development Life Cycle, integrating security in each step of the development: Plan, Code, Build, Test, Release, Deploy, Operate, Monitor. The application was built incrementally and by using Scrum methodology, we made sure that value was delivered at the end of each spirt. By doing this, we managed to build the foundation of the application and the first two modules (the Product Catalog and The configurator itself) in less than 8 months, going live globally in October 2021.

Phase III - Enhance

In the third phase of the project, we dedicated time to enhancing the functionalities of the platform, as well as developing new modules to increase the value that is created through it. A Product Owner Process application was developed in order to allow the project stakeholders to track, monitor and plan the enhancements for the platform. Concurrently, an Analytics application was created to ensure real-time access to project stakeholders to see how the application is performing, how the users interact with it, and other important stats to help them take data-driven decisions. 

Month Milestone 

0            Kick-off 

1            Analyses, Approach, preliminary solution design 

3            Technical Solution architecture, Digital mock-ups, Full investment case 

3            Investment decision 

4            Development start - Software Product Engineering solutions through S-SDLC

7            Customer Acceptance testing 

8            Market launch

Our approach

The action plan was to create a digital configurator in which manufacturers of plant-based foods can customize or create products with ease by using different ingredients. The configurator was customized to meet the company’s needs and business model.

Our Swiss partner ensured the ideation and concept which serve as the main catalyst behind our approach, according to the following steps:

  • Reduction of time-to-market by at least 80% using a digital product configurator, created through custom software product engineering
  • Sixfold increase in project margins from smaller and mid-sized customers
  • Mid-term extension of the digital platform to include manufacturing partnerships with trusted alliance-partners
  • Mid-term extension of «economic engine» by introducing innovative monetization options 


The Planteneers configurator gives access to a full range of possible goods and offers their ideas physical shape. This streamlines the process of developing new products. It also offers the key advantage of requiring no specific plant-based knowledge for traditional meat and dairy product manufacturers. 

The Plantbaser displays which proteins are compatible with products. Another important feature that we added is the Product Configuration, where customers can access product proprieties and see in which area the product is more inclined to and change optical appearance based on various ingredient alternatives.


Features and functionalities

The Plantbaser application can be split into three functional modules: product catalog, configurator, and analytics.

The key features of each component:

Product catalog:

  • Data collection for all existing recipes
  • Easy to search/filter and edit existing recipes
  • Generate technical documents for each product
  • Easy export and data management by Planteneers admin
  • Order management

Product configurator:

  • Interactive product configurator with the ability to customize each property and get the best result from Planteneers products offer
  • Applying promocodes to your order so you can benefit from the latest discounts
  • Ability to leave any comments regarding the order and the Planteneers team will take it in consideration
  • Possibility of ordering a product sample, by choosing the quantity and type of serving (ingredients or ready to prepare products)
  • Intelligent matchmaking between customer desires and products available in the catalog
  • Ability to save a configuration and return to it in the future to check if new matching products are available
  • Ability to skip the configurator line and order the Planteneers bestsellers 
  • Easy re-ordering, shopping basket option, facile order management component 
  • Fully responsive for mobile and tablet 

Analytics component:

  • Detailed reports containing information about users and their behavior
  • Business insights regarding the sales performance per product category
  • Ability to measure the incoming traffic from each source (organic/referral/social media campaign etc.)

Benefits for the client and end-user

Benefits for the client:

  • Ability to collect products data with an easy-to-use interface, resulting in a single point of truth source containing their recipes.
  • Business analytics reports to help with understanding their customers better
  • Automation of the traditional time-costly process of familiarizing new customers to their catalog of products
  • Time and cost reductions resulted from automation turned into the ability to serve more customers with a better understanding of their needs
  • Ability to log in via Microsoft Authenticator


Benefits for the end-user:

  • Getting familiar with the product catalog faster
  • Get desired and custom plant-based food sample faster
  • Better customization of the desired product with a visual aid for a better understanding of the impact on the final product
  • Ability to reach product sampling phase without a significant time or financial commitment



  • Backend Development - Spring Boot & Java 11, Keyclock, Version Control System
  • Frontend Development – Angular 16, CSS
  • Database - Microsoft SQL Server
  • Product Matching - Elasticsearch
  • Cloud Infrastructure - Microsoft Azure

Results & Impact

The Plantbaser is the first plant-based food configurator in the world, and since the launch of the application, the Planteneers team has continued the innovation of the application by creating an easier User Journey and implementing features that allow the customer to receive the desired plant-based product in just a few clicks, all through the magic of software product engineering.

The impact on Planteneers day-to-day activity is a noticeable one. If in the past, the process of understanding the customer’s needs and being able to send them samples was lengthy and inefficient, today it can be done in less than 20 minutes. 

That’s the time required for a user to select the desired ingredients, find matching products and order the samples to be shipped. The platform also enables users to save, edit and share configured samples or to select from pre-created products. 

As time passes, the business insights collected by the Analytics Component will also help speed up other business processes and will result in a better understanding of their customers’ needs.

Summary of key takeaways:

  • Analysis, approach, and mock-ups of digital solution, including technical solution architecture and designs of User interface (web application);
  • Detailed investment case with projections of revenues, expenses, and Capex investments over a 3-year period;
  • Fully functional, tested, digital platform featuring several front-end and back-end applications, including the world’s first food configurator;
  • Roadmap for initial test phase and further development options.

Next step?

The future of the Plantbaser is based on innovation and improving the user experience with the latest digital features in the market. While the R&D is constantly developing new recipes and plant-based products, we will make them available in the Plantbaser so the customers can easily order them. 

The Plantbaser is a strong asset in the plant-based food industry not only for the end consumer, but also for the R&D team which will continue their product innovation based on the configurations created in the Plantbaser and consumers' desire. 

Daniel Șfița
Daniel Șfița