One of the big discussion topics at Smart Kitchen Summit this week was the need for data standardization in food. As we digitize the various stages of the food journey from farm to factory to the kitchen, many feel a lack of standardized data sets is inhibiting innovation.
Another trend on people’s minds at SKS was personalization. There’s a growing consensus we are moving away from one-sized-fits-all food production to personalized food tailored around taste, health profiles and real-time nutrition needs.
Hearing folks talk about these two trends at SKS got me thinking about the possibilities for personalized food data profiles. Apparently I’m not the only one. During a panel on the first day titled, “From Cloud To Cart: The Future of Grocery,” Mike Lee of the Future Market and Alpha Food Labs talked about the opportunity he sees for a data standard around food preferences.
“I’ve always believed there needs to be this interoperable data standard that encapsulates what your food preferences are,” said Lee. “Something that can be used from this app to this app to this grocery store. Much in the same way you have single sign-on with Facebook, I can log in somewhere, and it can show me content that’s sculpted to what I have.”
The insight came as part of a response to a question posed by session moderator Brian Frank, who asked if anyone besides Amazon could scale to fulfill the last mile in food delivery. Lee pointed out that Amazon’s resources and scale mean they could play a large role in creating a de facto standard for data interoperability around a person’s food preferences.
“If a Mozilla type organization is not going to create this type of food ID standard, Amazon probably has the best chance to create enough scale for this standard to become interoperable,” said Lee.
Innit COO Josh Sigel agreed. Sigel said that a personalized food profile is not that different than our existing online identities, only instead of a profile built around our business or social graph, it would be one based on our food preferences and eating behavior.
“Similar to your Linkedin profiles for your business and Facebook for your social media, we see a great opportunity to create a universal ID that carries with you,” said Sigel.
The potential applications for a personal and portable food data profile that travels with us as we traverse our various food experiences are intriguing. Lee pointed out one use case tailored for restaurants that sounded pretty cool:
“We have so much food choice, and there’s a real opportunity to encapsulate that in a way that is portable. If the four of us go out to dinner, we can see four different kinds of menus. That is a truly multibillion-dollar opportunity.”
You can hear the full exchange on the question posed by Brian Frank below. We are publishing this as part of our Daily Spoon podcast where we highlight one interesting story a day. We will also be publishing full sessions as part of the Smart Kitchen Show podcast and also will have video of sessions in about a week, so make sure to check back.