The Mellow sous vide appliance has travelled an interesting road over the past couple years, one that has apparently reached an end.
But hey, don’t be sad. While Mellow’s original sous vide appliance may be nearing the end, the company is apparently alive and well and working on a new product.
The news came in the form of an email sent this week with the subject line “Mellow V1 $99 Blowout Special – V2 is Coming!” which told the reader that the company is clearing out the remaining inventory of first-gen Mellows with a $99 fire sale this weekend because, yes, Mellow 2.0 is coming.
Before we get to that second generation product, let’s first review Mellow’s journey with a brief chronology:
2014: FNV Labs announces the Mellow in 2014. The new appliance gets lots of press as a unique sous vide cooking appliance with its built-in refrigeration unit that will keep food cool until scheduled cook time.
2015: Mellow misses first ship date but still getting lots of press.
2016: Mellow founder and pitchman Zé Pinto Ferreira announces a partnership with Flex for manufacturing the Mellow. Ferreira says the Mellow will ship in May 2017.
2017: Mellow switches CEOs as Ferreira abruptly departs the company. The company’s former advisor and COO Gary Itenson takes over. The Mellow ships in the fall of 2017.
2018: Mellow sous vide appliance gets reviewed by Joe Ray of Wired. The score? 1/10. This devastatingly low score was not because the appliance didn’t sous vide the food, but instead because Ray found it couldn’t bring the food’s temperature low enough and hold it there to keep it out of the “danger zone” where bacteria can grow.
2018: Mellow works to correct the above issue and dispatches a software update to “keep food safely chilled all day long.”
2018: Mellow changes hands as it’s acquired by Zalmi Duchman, a founder of meal delivery service The Fresh Diet and food tech investor.
2019: Mellow announces Gen 2 and end-of-lifes Gen One.
So what features will the next generation Mellow have? When asked, the company wouldn’t say much, but Vanessa Domingues, the lead industrial designer for the Mellow (and the only remaining employee from the company’s early days in 2014) told me via email that the future Mellow will have both a “High-end and Multi-Purpose Mellow with a dual container” and will be “available outside US and Canada.”
Most interestingly, Domingues also told me the new product will have a meal delivery component called “Mellow Meals.” Given Duchman’s background in this market and the trend towards this direction by other connected cookers, adding meal delivery for recurring revenue isn’t all that surprising.
The real test will come when the new appliance arrives on market next year. What early buzz the company had has long since faded due to late shipments and the Wired review, but the product always looked interesting and made sense (if it worked).
That said, it’s hard to tell what the new appliance will look like (or even if it will have built-in refrigeration). The reality is other products are starting to come to market with built-in cooling, so that feature’s not nearly as big a differentiator as it once was.
So when will the next Mellow ship? While the company wouldn’t give a specific date, Mellow CEO Duchman did tell me they were “shooting for early 2020.”