Happy election day!
While poking around the internet last night reading election coverage, we noticed a Spoon reader comment that Boston meal kit company Just Add Cooking (JAC) has ceased operations. JAC specialized in meals with locally-sourced ingredients from the New England area, and launched a crowdfunding campaign earlier this month. Sadly, they fell far short of their goals and weren’t able to track down enough financing to continue serving their customers.
As Michael Wolf wrote, “The news is yet another sign that startups are having trouble making the economics of meal kits work even while sales rise.”
If meal kits are going to survive at all, it’ll likely be on retail shelves — in stores such as Amazon Go. This week Chris unpacked a study on shopper behavior in their cashierless stores. One of the most surprising finds? On average, customers spend a whopping 27 minutes in a Go store per visit.
As Amazon Go stores start popping up around the country, 7-Eleven is scrambling to keep up. This week they launched a Scan & Pay pilot that lets shoppers scan their items on their phone for speedier self-checkout. Chris wasn’t optimistic that this would help 7-Eleven keep up with Amazon’s cashierless stores, which he wrote were “putting the ‘convenience’ in convenience store.” I’ll still pop in for those slushies, though (cherry cola swirl FOR LIFE).
In the home kitchen, this week our resident intellectual property nerd Michael Wolf uncovered a patent issued last week to BSH Appliances for a microwave oven with a camera built into it. While it might not be that useful to watch your popcorn pop, Mike guessed that the camera would act as a sensor which could “enable AI-powered cooking applications such as real-time precision heat adjustment.” No more burned popcorn!
Electrolux has teamed up with Karma to create a smart grocery fridge aimed at reducing food waste. The appliance giant invested in their fellow Swedes this past summer as part of a $12 million funding round, and at the time the two agreed to team up to find ways to reduce food waste. The new smart fridge seems like an innovative approach that taps into both companies respective expertise.
Other news: Today Israeli startup Taranis raised $20 million for its AI-powered aerial imaging tech, which can help farmers find and fix crop threats like disease, insect infestations, and weeds. And meat corporations Oscar Mayer and Tyson entered the fray of a hotly contested question: What is a sandwich?
If you haven’t noticed, we’ve been rolling out posts featuring videos from the Smart Kitchen Summit (watch our growing video library here)! Our latest post: a fireside chat with Eli Holzman, who created Project Runway and went on to co-found guided-cooking video platform Project Foodie. He has some great insights on the role of video in the kitchen, so give it a watch.
And if you’re in the Los Angeles area, join us on November 27th for our next food tech meetup, in partnership with hardware VC firm MiLA. It’s a half-day of programming around restaurant tech, food investment, and hardware innovation — plus, it’s free! Bonus: there will be tacos. We’d love to see you there.
Lastly, it’s never too soon to plan for CES. The folks behind SKS will be bringing the first and only foodtech event to Vegas during CES this year, FoodTech Live on January 8th.
That’s all from me this week! I’m off to get that coveted “I voted” sticker (Just kidding, I am a lazy person and mailed in my ballot!)
Electrolux and Karma Team up for Smart Grocery Fridge to Reduce Food Waste
Appliance giant Electrolux partnered with startup (and fellow Swedes) Karma to create a new smart refrigerator that helps grocery stores fight food waste.
Taranis Harvests $20M for Aerial Imaging Tech that Detects Crop Diseases
Crop threat detection company Taranis closed a $20 million Series B funding round, bringing their total funding to $30 million. The Israeli startup uses aerial imaging and deep learning to help farmers detect crop threats at early stages.
Meal Kit Startup Just Add Cooking Ceases Operations
Just Add Cooking (JAC), the Boston-based meal kit company specializing in locally-sourced meals from the New England area, has ceased operations. Despite launching a crowdfunding campaign earlier this month, the startup couldn’t secure enough funding to continue their services.
Study: When Do People Go to Amazon Go? (And You Won’t Believe How Long They Stay)
Chris takes a deep dive into a study which examined shopper habits in Amazon Go’s across the country. The most surprising takeaway? The average time a shopper spends inside the store is a whopping 27 minutes.
From Project Runway to Project Foodie: Eli Holzman on The Power of Kitchen Video
In this video from the 2018 Smart Kitchen Summit, Eli Holzman, the creator of Project Runway and co-founder of Project Foodie, talks about the role he thinks video will play in the kitchen.
7-Eleven Launches Scan & Pay Pilot to Keep Up with Amazon Go
Storied convenience store chain 7-Eleven launched a new Scan & Pay pilot program that lets shoppers use their mobile phone for self-checkout. But is it convenient enough to compete with the cashierless Amazon Go?
BSH Appliances Patents Camera-Enabled Microwave Oven
Michael Wolf uncovered a patent recently issued to BSH Appliances recently for a microwave oven with a camera for observing food inside the cooking chamber. He guess it’ll be less used to check on your food visually, and more useful as a way to adjust temperature or time throughout the cooking process.
Oscar Mayer and Tyson Jump Into the “Is it a Sandwich” Debate
Two food giants, Oscar Mayer and Tyson, recently jumped into the fray of a widely debated (and heated) question: What, exactly, is a sandwich?