Welcome to the weekend. Before you go off tubing or blueberry-picking or whatever summer activity you enjoy, take a couple of minutes to catch up on the food tech news that piqued our interest this week.
Today, we have stories about AI-powered pizza scanners, chili peppers grown in space, and more. Enjoy!
In Australia, Domino’s sees success with AI-powered pizza checker
Last month Domino’s in Australia began experimenting with an AI-powered tool that checks pizza orders for accuracy. Called the ‘DOM Pizza Checker,’ the device scans each pizza and compares it with the corresponding order to ensure that the pie contains the correct toppings and that they’re evenly distributed. This week QSR Web reported that the Pizza Checker, which has thus far scanned 13 million pies, has led to a 15 percent increase in quality scores from Domino’s customers in Australia and New Zealand. We’re not sure if the DOM Pizza Checker will ever make it stateside, but if so it could help Domino’s in the ultra-competitive pizza delivery space.
Kraft-Heinz’s new app Meal Hero suggests shoppable recipes
Evolv group, the tech venture arm of Kraft-Heinz, recently introduced an AI-powered app to help consumers find and shop for recipes. Called Meal Hero [note: different than the Belgian frozen meal kit/connected cooking device startup Mealhero], the app has a “Food Intelligence Platform” that tracks users’ preferences to recommend recipes based off of their dietary restrictions, favorite ingredients, top cuisines, etc. It then gives users the option to create a shopping list or even order ingredients for delivery via Instacart. The app is currently in its beta phase and, according to an email to The Spoon from evolv group’s PR team, has 35,000 users in the U.S.
Chili peppers will be the first fruiting plant NASA grows in space
Hopefully astronauts like their food spicy. This week CNN reported that NASA is working to send the Española chili pepper into space. If successful, this would make the pepper the first fruiting plant that the U.S. has grown in the International Space Station. NASA scientists reportedly chose chili peppers as the inaugural fruiting plant because they’re easily pollinated and can also survive in an environment with high levels of carbon dioxide. A mission to Mars is expected to take roughly two years, so space travelers will need to find ways to grow fruits and vegetables en route. At least they’ll never have to worry about bland food.
Did we miss anything? Send us a tweet @TheSpoonTech to clue us in!