It isn’t uncommon these days for large, legacy brands in the food and appliance space to dive into the startup game. We’ve seen companies like Campbell’s, Kellog and General Mills create investment arms to back food startups looking to disrupt the market; startups in the space have raised over $6 billion over the past several years with products designed to shape the future of food.
Appliance giants like Electrolux are on the prowl for the next big idea that might revolutionize food production and manufacturing but also cooking, eating and buying food from the consumer end. Earlier this year, Electrolux launched the Electrolux Ideas Lab, a competition designed to find the next big idea in food innovation. According to Electrolux,
The premise of the Ideas Lab Is to “inspire people around the world to enjoy tastier, healthier and more sustainable home cooking in the future.”
Opened to everyone from students to startups, the Ideas Lab is a crowdsourced play to bring fresh thinking to Electrolux’s own products and solutions in the market. After picking 50 finalists, the company opened voting to the public and last week announced the top 10 vote-getters, along with the grand prize winner.
WatchYourself, Ideas Lab’s first-ever winner, is a smart watch concept designed by an Estonian product design student. The watch itself looks more like a high-tech bracelet but has unique features that allow you to scan in grocery items while you’re at the store to see if it fits into your personal diet and health plan. This requires some programming upfront and inputs from the user about who they are, what they’re allergic to, what they’d like to eat and their personal health goals. But the watch goes beyond just food data delivery, it also projects recipes for food items into the palm of your hand.
This concept – combining food data and recipe suggestions – isn’t new, but the delivery method is unique. Fitness wearables have dominated the market for a while now, but the combination of food data, nutrition, and digital health is where the market seems to be moving. We’ve seen startups like Habit launch, complete with a DNA kit to develop a truly personalized nutrition system for your own body’s needs. The WatchYourself concept combines the wearable technology form factor with deeper personalization for health and wellness – along with a tiny projector allowing recipes to actually be shown in your palm. The winner receives a week in Stockholm, home to Electrolux headquarters and a startup scene that helped birth the likes of Spotify and Skype – not to mention 10,000 euros.
Consumers are shifting their purchases and preferences to find ways to eat and live healthier and legacy food, tech and housewares brands are looking for ways to capitalize. With over $6 billion in investment, startups in the space are just getting started.
Check out other runners up in the Electrolux competition and read more about the Ideas Lab itself.