Warning: create_function() has been disabled for security reasons in /home_pr1/r/u/rufenacht.com/htdocs/shopncook/blog/wp-content/plugins/revslider/inc_php/framework/functions_wordpress.class.php on line 240

Warning: create_function() has been disabled for security reasons in /home_pr1/r/u/rufenacht.com/htdocs/shopncook/blog/wp-content/plugins/testimonial-rotator/testimonial-rotator.php on line 31
How to estimate your recipe cost | Shop'NCook
How to estimate your recipe cost
  • 12

How to estimate your recipe cost

Shop’NCook Pro 3.4 lets you estimate the cost of your recipes in a mostly automatic way, but you may need to some adjustments to get an accurate costing. I will show you how in this post.

Update Jan. 2013: Watch the new tutorial video “How to cost a recipe” and download the companion tutorial.
Update Nov. 12, 2012: See also the new post on how to cost out your recipes in 5 easy steps in Shop’NCook Pro 4.0 software.

Adding cost data

To cost out recipes, you have to make sure first to input cost data for the ingredients in the database. The first time you start Shop’NCook Pro, you have the possibility to import a cost database. If you skipped this step, don’t panic! You can still import it by selecting “Import cost data” in the Costing menu of the Shopping List manager tab. The cost database is there to help you get a quick start with the costing functions. For accurate costing, you will have to input your own cost data from your suppliers. Staple prices greatly vary depending on the region and the season!

Inputting your own cost data

To add your own data, click on the Edit button of the Shopping List manager tab. This will open the database editor. Select “Extended list” in the Tools menu to display all the 2000 items of the database. The cost data is input in the three columns on the right: quantity, cost unit and cost.

Shop_NCook Pro - untitled.snc-1-2

For example: quantity: 1, cost unit: quart, cost: 2.59, i.e. the cost of one quart of the ingredient.

Tip: you are not limited to the choice displayed in the pull down menu of the cost unit, but can type any unit of your choice in the field.

Automatic cost estimate

Once the software knows the cost data, it is able to compute automatically the cost of your recipes. Here is how the costing window may look initially:

Three-Pepper Pizza-1

Color code

There are however a few things to know to understand the costing window and get an accurate costing:

  • The ingredients of a recipe must be linked to the database of grocery items in order to be costed. When automatic linking has failed, they are displayed in red in the costing window.
  • Shop’NCook Pro must know the quantity of the ingredient and be able to convert from the recipe quantity to the cost quantity. For example, if your recipe calls for one cup of the ingredient, but the ingredient cost has been input for one pound, the software must know the unit conversion factor between volume and weight for this ingredient. Shop’NCook Pro already knows thousands of conversion factors and will be able to make the conversion automatically most of the time. When conversion fails, the ingredient is displayed in blue in the costing window. It is also displayed in blue when the quantity is not specified at all.
  • When the cost data has not been input for an ingredient, it is displayed in green in the costing window.

Getting an accurate costing

In the example above, four ingredients are displayed in color. Here is what you have to do to get an accurate cost estimate:

Ingredients in RED

“Italian sausage” is in red because it is not in the database of grocery items. You have to add it to the database by editing it.

Shop'NCook Pro - untitled.snc

Ingredients in BLUE

The ingredient “fresh oregano” is in blue, because the software does not know how to convert volume (1 tsp) to weight (i.e. 1 oz that was used to define the cost for fresh oregano) for this ingredient. You have to add unit conversion information in the nutrition editor for “fresh oregano”. You reach the editor by clicking on the question mark next to the ingredient in the Shopping List manager and then click on Edit.

Shop'NCook Pro - untitled.snc

Click then on Add to add a new unit conversion factor.

Shop_NCook Pro-2-1

After inputting the unit conversion data, it looks as follows in the nutrition editor:

fresh oregano - Unprepared

Note that you only have to input the unit conversion information for one volume unit (ex: tbsp). The conversion for other volume units (ex: tsp) is automatically deduced.

Ingredients in GREEN

The ingredients “Extra virgin olive oil” and “bell pepper” are green because the cost data has not been input for these two ingredients. You just need to edit the database and add the information to enable their costing.

After these modifications, the recipe cost is accurately calculated by Shop’NCook Pro.

Three-Pepper Pizza-3


  1. Convert says:

    Hello, I found your page when searching Google for unit conversions. I started with unit converter pages, would you please be interested in placing my website’s link (code below) on your page. It’s a new website but I am serious a lot about it, next week I am adding flour amounts and more such pages for recipes. With compliments and anticipation.

    Convert To dot com

  2. […] Display the Shopping List manager tab, click on the Edit button to open the database editor. Select “Extended List” in the Tools menu to display all the categories and items of the database. Choose the appropriate category. Click on the NewItem button and type the new item name. In the Pro edition, you can also input the cost information to include the ingredient in your cost calculations. […]

  3. paul says:

    What format is a coast database exel and how if that is the case should it be formatted??

    • Mathilde says:

      If you have an excel file with your cost data, you need first to export it to a tab-delimited or comma-delimited format (also called csv). You can then import this cost data as a supermarket into Shop’NCook Pro.

  4. Eric says:

    Hi. Am wondering if you have the ability to add time and labor costs to your costing? And in general if you plan to develop this product more as a professional tool or a personal home recipe kind of thing. Thanks very much. I downloaded the trial today and am excited to try it.

  5. Eric says:

    And how would you add packaging costs? Thanks very much.

  6. Mathilde says:


    Shop’NCook Pro has been designed for professionals. It is mostly used by companies, restaurants, schools and churches.

    To include labor cost, input the labor time as “preparation time” in the recipe and set the labor cost per hour in the preferences (it is set to zero by default).

    To include packaging costs, you can input them as an “ingredient” in the recipe. This way they will be included in the total cost.

  7. Eric says:

    Hi Mathilde,

    Thank you for replying so quickly. Playing around with the trial demo I was able to figure out the labor pretty quickly and will take your advice on the packaging as an ingredient. My next task will be to figure out how to deal with different size packages of the same recipe and packages that contain a variety of recipes. We are a specialty food company so mostly looking at your product for costing, scaling, nutrition labels, shopping lists, etc. So far, so good and nice to meet you.


  8. Bogle says:

    Yes looks very good. Can not wait to take a crack at at trying it out.

  9. Mathilde says:


    To deal with packaging of different sizes or packages with a variety of recipes, try combining the recipes (without packaging information) with the packagings. For more information, see the post at

  10. Michelle White says:

    I am looking at a costing package for a client. Does your package allow calculations to be made in British pounds sterling?

  11. Mathilde says:


    The latest version allows to select the currency (including British pounds sterling). You can access this version currently on the beta testing site at http://www.shopncook.com/beta/ .

  12. Chef O says:

    I’m just opening a bakery and am working with our software trial to see if it will meet my needs. Is there any way to show 2 price margins? I’d like to be able to have a wholesale and a retail price listed for each recipe without having to go in and edit back and forth. If not is this something that is being considered to add in the next version? Thanks, O

  13. Mathilde says:

    Chef O,

    If you set a global margin in the Preferences and not in the recipes themselves, you can switch between a wholesale price and a retail price for all your recipes just by changing the value in the preferences.

    Thank you for the suggestion. I will consider allowing two margins in a future release.

  14. Hi Mathilde,

    Your software is amazing. Congratulations for it.

    When I have my price per portion for each recipe, the soft gives me the price to which I could sell the dish according to the percentage of profit margin that is settled by default or that I can settle in each recipe. Good but could I work the other way round and determin the price to wich I want to sell the dish and then the soft would give me the percentage of profit margin I get for it?

    Thank you very much


    • Mathilde says:


      Thank you! :)

      It is not possible at the time being to set the price of the dish and compute the profit margin, but I will see if I can add this feature to the next release.

  15. Jill Mayo says:

    I am a professional Pastry Chef. I am using a Mac computer and have just down loaded the demo. The software is great. Here is my question… I have a database of over 9000 recipes in filemaker pro. Can I bring in my recipes to Shop’NCook? I am able to save/export in several formats but don’t know exactly what to do.

    • Mathilde says:


      You should first export the data to plain text, in usual recipe format, if possible with only one ingredient listed by line, like they are printed in cookbooks. For example:
      1 chopped onion
      is OK for Shop’NCook, but it has trouble understanding unusual format like:
      onion 1, chopped
      Separate then your recipes by a line of 5 or more hyphens, like that:
      This indicates to Shop’NCook that a new recipe starts.
      Copy then all your recipes to the clipboard, click on the clip button in Shop’NCook, and wait the software has analyzed all your recipes. Also, it may be better to import the data in smaller chunks of 1000 recipes for example.

  16. Brenda Mitchell says:

    I run a small catering company in Australia. I live in an area where the internet connection is not always great. Do I always need to be connected in order to work with my recipes? Also, I am assuming that I can make up my own recipes using the ingredient list supplied, would the nutrition information correlate to FSANZ standards?

    • Mathilde says:

      You don’t need to be connected to internet to use your recipes. They are all stored locally. You can of course add your own recipes with the ingredient supplied, or add custom ingredients too.
      I am not sure about FSANZ standards. In order to have enough accuracy in the nutritional analysis, you need to make sure of a few things. I recommend you to read my recent post on the compliance of nutritional analysis for food labeling. It is however based on USDA requirements, the US standard.

  17. Rachel says:

    I am trying to understand the trial version of Shop’NCook Pro. In the features list is lists “Easy import of supplier cost data,” I thought that meant that somehow the cost data could be downloaded from the supermarkets. I have cleared the cost database and used “Update Cost from Supermarket,” but I am not getting prices. This post seems to indicate that pricing data is based on manual input. Is that the case?

    • Mathilde says:

      You can import the cost data you get from your suppliers. Shop’NCook Pro accept cost data in tab-delimited format, comma-delimited format, fixed column width format, etc. If you don’t have the cost data available in a recognized format, you can also input it manually. After importing your supplier’s cost data as a new supermarket, you can “Update Cost from Supermarket” to use the imported cost as default.