June announced today that its eponymous smart oven will now automatically cook certain foods from Whole Foods in a move that evolves the appliance into more of an all around smart cooking platform.
Available today via an over-the-air-update, all June Ovens will now sport a Whole Foods icon on the touchscreen menu. At first there will be thirty available pre-set Cook Programs that will automatically cook various Whole Foods products including items from its 365 Everday line of frozen foods as well as some prepared fresh food like salmon with lemon thyme rub. In a phone interview, June Co-Founder and CEO, Matt Van Horn said that the June cameras will recognize some items, but if it doesn’t, users can navigate to the item via the June Whole Foods app.
Amazon’s Alexa Fund invested in June at the start of this year, and facilitated the meeting between the oven maker and Amazon subsidiary Whole Foods.
The partnership is actually quite interesting for a couple of reasons. First, through Whole Foods, June has created a food supply chain pipeline without having to build one. Other countertop appliances like the Tovala, Suvie and Brava are marrying their devices with food subscriptions. Yes, you don’t have to use their meals, but they are part of the value proposition. Consumer choice then, becomes more constrained, and those hardware companies then have to manage an entirely different line of business.
Through Whole Foods, June doesn’t need to worry about a food supply chain and can focus on its product only. June users have access to an entire grocery store (for the most part) for loads of flexibility for food that can be cooked with just a few screen taps. Because the June is connected, it will constantly be updated with new products making what you buy from Whole Foods easy to cook.
But for the June hardware itself, the addition of Whole Foods as an icon built into the June makes the oven more like an iPhone. More like a platform. It’s easy to see how June’s touchscreen will make room for additional partners over time.
Whole Foods isn’t the only new feature that’s part of the June software update. The company is also releasing a new UI that includes additional cooking information. My big complaint about the June was the dearth of instructions, which left me guessing sometimes about next steps (like how long to rest a steak). We got a sneak peek at the new June UI earlier this summer, and the update is now live.