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Good morning and happy Friday! Chris Albrecht, Managing Editor of The Spoon here. You may have noticed we added a second newsletter to the week. In addition to Mike Wolf’s analysis, you’ll be hearing from myself and my colleague Catherine Lamb on a regular basis because food tech is thriving and we don’t want you to miss any important news.

And with food tech alive and kicking, what better way to kick off my first newsletter than with a Monty Python “I’m not dead yet!” reference?

Not just for the nerds among us, the Holy Grail joke is apt given what we’ve been hearing about the future of the kitchen. Is it on it’s deathbed, slain by a deadly cocktail of easy food delivery and those menacing millennials? A UBS report literally titled “Is the Kitchen Dead?” last month painted that pretty grim picture.

But not, so fast! This week, the NPD Group released a rebuttal of sorts basically asking people to chill out, saying the kitchen isn’t dead, but it will evolve to accommodate the changes delivery will bring.

So what’s the answer? Is the kitchen dead, dying, on life support? It’s a question I dive into in a longer post on the site that also gets into the coming wave of convenience driven appliances like Tovala and Suvie.

What do you think? Leave a comment on the story and add to the discussion. And, if you’ll pardon a little log-rollling, do one better and attend our Smart Kitchen Summit: North America in October to hear the industry’s smartest executives outline their thoughts on the future of the kitchen.

Now to switch from Monty Python to Spinal Tap: But enough of my yakkin’, whaddya say, let’s boogie.

Here’s the rest of this week’s food tech news.

Robo-baristas are here. No, this isn’t some dystopian vision of the future, the coffee robots are already among us, and they are pretty rad. Briggo announced that its Coffee Haus kiosk will start slinging craft coffees at the Austin Airport next Tuesday. This comes just a few weeks after Cafe X put its first barista-in-a-box on San Francisco sidewalks.

Both Briggo and Cafe X are going after high-traffic areas where people don’t necessarily want to sit down and luxuriate with their Americano. These robots are meant to operate at high-volume without taking breaks and, importantly, while making a delicious cup of coffee.

That first cup of coffee is certainly life-giving to many bleary-eyed folks early in the morning, but as Jenn Marston notes, meal kits are getting downright medicinal. As she points out, companies like Be Well Eats and Platejoy are using doctors and dieticians to craft meals that boost nutrition and even feature plans specifically for diabetes and menopause. Even better, Spoon readers have been contributing to the conversation by pointing out other options in our comments section.

But let’s not have my inaugural email be all questions of dying and medicine. For something more out of left field, Catherine Lamb uncovered TimberFish’s IndieGoGo campaign to raise trout on brewery waste and wood chips. It’s a fun read.

And finally, The Smart Kitchen Summit is returning to Japan next month. The lineup of speakers includes Winnie Leung of Bits x Bites, a Chinese food tech accelerator; Kevin Yu, the CEO of smart cooking startup SideChef; and SKS favorite Jon Jenkins of Hestan Cue. Spots are limited, so get yours soon.

Thanks for reading. Be well!


P.S. As I mentioned before, our flagship Smart Kitchen Summit event coming up in October, so if you haven’t already purchased your ticket, do it today by using discount code NEWSLETTER for 25% off the full ticket price (use this link which has the discount already applied).

P.S. Want to get our stories before everyone else? Join our food tech Slack already!

In the 07/13/2018 edition:

Smart Kitchen Summit Returns to Japan This August

By Catherine Lamb on Jul 13, 2018 07:00 am
Last year, we took the Smart Kitchen Summit abroad for the first time — to none other than Tokyo, Japan! In SKS founder Michael Wolf’s words: “As we have grown SKS, I also realized early on that each region’s story is different, impacted by a unique mix of culture, business dynamics, and consumer tastes.

Research Confirms: The Kitchen is Dying. Unless it’s not.

By Chris Albrecht on Jul 13, 2018 06:00 am
The Spoon was borne out of The Smart Kitchen Summit, our annual conference about the future of the kitchen. But analysts seem unclear as to what exactly the future of the kitchen is. Are millennials and delivery killing off the kitchen? Or is the kitchen staying put and evolving into something different?

Albertsons Launches Virtual Market for Its O Organics Brand

By Jennifer Marston on Jul 12, 2018 07:00 pm
Today, mega grocery chain Albertsons announced the launch of O Organics Market, a virtual store powered by Instacart and specializing in organic and natural grocery items. The store is currently available to customers in San Francisco and Washington D.C. via the usual Instacart interface.

TimberFish Launches IndieGoGo to Raise Trout on Brewery Waste and Wood Chips

By Catherine Lamb on Jul 12, 2018 01:00 pm
It’s no secret that wild-caught seafood is fraught, what with its declining supply and associations with inhumane labor practices. Many tout farmed fish as a more ethical and sustainable (not to mention cheaper) way to satisfy our seafood cravings, which is why aquaculture is the fastest growing food-producing sector.

Our Robot Coffee Future is Nigh: Briggo Barista Taking Off at Austin Airport

By Chris Albrecht on Jul 12, 2018 11:13 am
Austin, TX will get a little more hip (as if that were possible) next week as Briggo’s robotic Coffee Haus will land at the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport on July 17th.

Video: Convenience Is the Future of Food Retail

By Catherine Lamb on Jul 11, 2018 05:00 pm
After Christian Lane‘s first business, which he built at the age of 19, folded, he got the idea to launch a new endeavor in the smart kitchen field. Which, as he’ll tell you, was not always easy going.

Cricket-starter: Seek Food Crowdfunds Bug-based Baking Flour

By Chris Albrecht on Jul 11, 2018 03:02 pm
We don’t mean to bug you, but we thought you might like to know that Seek Food launched a Kickstarter campaign today for its cricket baking flour and accompanying cookbook. Adventurous eaters can choose from four bug-based powders: All-Purpose, Paleo, Gluten-Free and 100 percent pure cricket.

It’s Sorta Silly How Much I Heart My Stainless Steel Straws

By Chris Albrecht on Jul 11, 2018 11:01 am
OK. Look. When you are a blogger covering any beat 24/7, there comes a time when your brain needs to stop providing analysis and context to news events and just write about something small and yet totally satisfyingly cool.

Olio, Luckin Coffee and Eat All Raise New Funding

By Chris Albrecht on Jul 11, 2018 08:59 am
Food tech startups continue to raise money around the world, and the first half of this week has already seen a bunch of funding news: Olio, a UK-based food waste startup, raised a $6 million Series A round led by Octopus Ventures.

Are Meal Kits a New Form of Medicine?

By Jennifer Marston on Jul 10, 2018 05:00 pm
A reported 30.3 million Americans had diabetes in 2015, according to the most recent numbers. Obesity, high blood pressure, lots of sodium and sugar, and, of course, a lack of fruits and vegetables are all culprits in the growing number of chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease.

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