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Edamam food app screenshotsWho hasn’t wandered around a Safeway googling “kale recipe” or “what is a stinging nettle?” on their smartphone? Edamam is a new food-search site and mobile app that hopes to make navigating all that edible data faster, and choosing healthy food easier.

Edamam, a portmanteau of the Slavic and Sanskrit words for “eat,” is launching at the DEMO Spring 2012 conference in Santa Clara, Calif. The site and app offer multiple ways to search and filter recipes, by simply typing what you’re hungry for, by diet (such as vegan, dairy-free, or high-protein), or by calories. The recipes are pulled in from a variety of reliable sources, including the New York Times, Food.com, and Epicurious.

The mobile product includes more than just recipes. The database also has detailed nutritional information, including the amount of fat, carbs, and sodium in a dish. And there are companion shopping lists, and you can check off items on the app as you shop.

“Although it may be a cliché, we see our efforts at Edamam as a way to make a real difference in the world,” said founder Victor Penev. “We believe that with the power of technology, we can help people make better food choices, eat better and ultimately be happier for it.”

Edamam is entering a crowded field of food-search apps, including Yummly and Foodily. The company wants to set itself apart from the competitors by focusing on health, speed, and surfacing selected high-quality recipes. The search tool is just the first product from a company with the ambitious mission to “organize the world’s food knowledge,” and it plans on releasing additional products in the coming year.

The two-year-old company currently has nine full-time employees. The initial funding was thrown in by Penev, who has gone on to raise an additional $800,000 from other individuals.

[Update: On stage, Penev (pictured below) showed the app working on an iPhone. He joked, “This is so not 2001.” ]

Edamam is one of 80 companies chosen by VentureBeat to launch at the DEMO Spring 2012 event taking place this week in Silicon Valley. After we make our selections, the chosen companies pay a fee to present. Our coverage of them remains objective.

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