This was a pretty thrilling week for food-related innovation in big data and AI. We wrote about a patent that lets Facebook see inside your fridge and recommend personalized recipes. Google debuted its Duplex technology, which allows it to hold freakishly realistic-sounding phone conversations (listen to it make a restaurant reservation, it’s insane). Perhaps most importantly of all, we wrote about a man who cracked the code for perfect chocolate chip cookies.
And now it’s time for our weekly food tech news roundup. We’ve got stories featuring clean meat labeling, drones, beer delivery, and Chrissy Teigen — let’s dive in:
Uber tests food delivery drone
UberEats has launched a trial program in San Diego testing food delivery via drone, reported Bloomberg. The world’s largest food delivery program could now theoretically drop off your pad thai in as little as five minutes, according to UberEats CEO Dara Khosrowshahi. Of course that’s presuming that the food you’re ordering is already made, but still — that’s quite a bit speedier than even the fastest average food delivery wait time (from, you guessed it, UberEats).
Blue Apron teams up with Chrissy Teigen
Just a week after meal kit service Blue Apron announced they were putting their wares on Costco shelves, they revealed more news: they’re collaborating with model/cookbook author/Instagram celebrity Chrissy Teigen on a six-week lineup of recipes and ingredient boxes. The series will start on June 4th and, despite their launch into retail, will only be available via online delivery.
Pizza Hut expands beer delivery
Pizza Hut launched a test program in Phoenix in December to deliver beer and wine alongside their cheesy crust-stuffed pies. Now they’re rolling out that test program in over 100 locations in Arizona and California, with plans to continue expansion later this month. It’s also adding beer partners; the original test was with Anheuser-Busch, but the pizza chain has reportedly added MillerCoors as a partner in brews.
Congress might approve lab-grown meat regulation
Quartz reported that a proposed spending bill approved by a congressional subcommittee includes a provision that would give the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) the power to regulate how lab-grown meat is labeled and inspected. It’ll go next to the full, 46-member House Agriculture Committee, and, if passed, would have huge implications for a hotly-contested issue: the labeling of cultured meat.
Did we miss any interesting, thought-provoking food tech stories from the week? Tell us in the comments or tweet us @TheSpoonTech.