Of the overarching trends that emerged at the first ever Smart Kitchen Summit Europe last week in Dublin, a big one was personalization. At the reception the evening before the event, FoodPairing wow-ed the crowd with a robot that made cocktails based on people’s individual taste preferences (spicy, sweet, floral, herbal, etc.). We at the Spoon were pretty impressed with the boozy results — definitely something we’d order again.
The next day, at a panel on the new era of personalization in food, FoodPairing founder Johan Langenbick unveiled a new solution for individualized food recommendation. Dubbed FlavorID, their service draws from over 8,000 different aromas and taste molecules, as well as 600 dietary descriptors, to develop a sort of flavor fingerprint for each individual.
Since they launched in 2009, FoodPairing has been developing a digital flavor database (the world’s largest, according to their press release) based on the aromatic profiles of over 2,500 ingredients. By synching this tech with individual consumer’s behavior — such as food experiences, preferences, and genetic predispositions — they can create a specific flavor identity (or “passport,” as their website calls it) for each user. “FlavorID was the missing link in our technology stack and portfolio of solutions,” said Langenbick.
This new tool will be used to create hyper-personalized recipe suggestions, menu recommendations, and meal plans linked to health goals and dietary restrictions.
Langenbick explained that they planned to partner with 3rd party apps, such as smart kitchen appliances, e-grocery services, mHealth apps and more, to bring FlavorID’s recommendations to the consumer. This will make it free for consumers to use. While FlavorID will be embedded in these other services, Langenbick said that they will also have their own mobile app so that consumers can access and control their personal data.
So where will this data come from? “The first input is, of course the 3rd party application in which FlavorID is embedded,” said Langenbick. But he and his team are also exploring other sources which do not require actual data input or questionnaires, such as purchased goods history, as tools to build out individual taste profiles.
FoodPairing is currently piloting a few use cases for FlavorID and told The Spoon that they expect to announce their first partnerships soon. Whether or not the service lives up to its lofty goals of granular recommendations right from the get-go, however, it’s a strong indicator that food personalization will become more and more present in our daily lives. And more and more companies, from Flavorwiki to dishq to PlantJammer, are leveraging this trend as a tool to better predict what we want to eat.
I could see a future where everyone has a flavor “fingerprint,” which restaurants, grocery e-commerce sites, and food delivery services can access to give uber-personalized recommendations, something like the personal food profiles Mike wrote about last year. Maybe someday Amazon will be able to look at this fingerprint to predict exactly what you want for dinner — and then have corresponding groceries, meal kits, or straight-up food delivery waiting for you on the kitchen counter when you get home from work. Services like FlavorID could play a large role in these futuristic meal journeys.