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The hardest part of sitting at the urgent care clinic this past weekend wasn’t feeling pretty awful. No, it was listening to the person in the exam room across the hall, who spent what seemed like the entire time in one big, painful, spasmic coughing fit. It was so loud that my lungs were rattling. So of course my first thought was coronavirus has hit my little town.
I know, and knew at the time, that it (probably) hadn’t, so I remained calm. But you spend enough time reading headlines about the deadly disease’s rampant spread and you start to think it’s not a matter of if, but when you’ll encounter it.
The food tech world, which has in many ways been at the forefront of this pandemic, felt the impact of the coronavirus over the weekend when the Inspired Home Show decided to cancel its upcoming International Sourcing Expo. The expo typically houses seven Chinese pavilions, and the decision was made in association with Chinese pavilion organizers.
The Inspired Home Show is still going on, but for such a big convention where so many people gather to do a ton of business, the decision will undoubtedly have ripple effects beyond just the show.
I’m writing this on Monday afternoon, a day when coronavirus fears sparked a pummeling of markets around the world. Whether or not those losses regain tomorrow, who knows, but between viral panics and yesterday’s story in The New York Times about the rash of layoffs across the tech world, it feels like we are nearing some kind of tipping point. Almost reminiscent of the infamous Sequoia Capital PowerPoint a decade ago that got everyone panicked.
Hopefully the food tech startup world has enough execs who lived though those Sequoia days and are better prepared for what could be a major slowdown in growth.
Are we, as an industry, ready to remain calm as the sounds of calamity continue?
What are some delivery robo no-nos?
Not to get stay with the whole global pandemic thing, but we’ve written before about how the coronavirus could shape the future of food delivery. When you need to limit human-to-human contact, will autonomous delivery robots need to pick up the slack?
Self-driving delivery bots like those from Starship are already delivering food to college campuses around the U.S. But before cities can more fully deploy them on public streets there are a number of considerations that must be taken into account.
Ariel Yehezkel and Allison Wu Troianos of the law firm Sheppard Mullin put together an excellent primer on topics like liability and privacy implications of autonomous robot delivery for The Spoon. Anyone making, operating, leasing, buying or thinking about robots should read it.
The more we prepare now, the better the chance that robot delivery will become a reality.
Fizzy Travel Water FTW!
But let’s lighten things up a bit. Get a little effervescent, even.
No matter what situation you find yourself in, it’s always important to remain hydrated. The only hydration hiccup for seltzer fans like myself is that there’s no really good way to take your bubbly water with you. Cans stay open and your drink goes flat. You could carry fuzzy water in a reusable flask, but that, too seems less optimal. Like a lot of fizz is getting lost in the transfer into the container.
But Spoon Founder Mike Wolf wrote about a new solution from Drinkmate that will give seltzerheads their sparkling water on the go. The instaFizz is basically a steel thermos with its own CO2 system. Pour your water in, load the CO2 cartridge, twist the cap, and voila! You got your bubble water right there with you, complete with a cap to keep all that good gas in.
Read all about it, and see if the $60 instaFizz is right for you.
Lastly, some of the Spoon team is headed to NYC this week for our Customize food personalization event on Thursday, February 27!
There are just a few tickets left so if you’d like to join us, grab yours here — use code SPOON15 to get 15 percent off while you’re at it.