It’s been a big week for the smart kitchen, so we’re doing a quick roundup of some of our favorite food tech news stories that we didn’t have time to turn into full pieces.
Speaking of smart kitchens: we just returned from the Housewares Show in Chicago! If you want to read about some of the cool new products and trends we saw (cough, guided cooking, cough), check out this post and look out for a recap podcast coming your way soon.
Beer Ripples lets you personalize your pints
Just in time for St. Patrick’s day, latte art-printing company Coffee Ripples is bringing their technology behind the bar. Their edible 3D-printing technology allows you to print any imagine that moves you on a pint. Dubbed Beer Ripples, the machine, intended solely for commercial use, uses an edible malt-based ink to transfer designs, text, and images onto your brew’s foamy top. Imbibers can either choose from options on Ripples’ library or upload a custom image onto the Ripple app using their foam. It’s not cheap—the machine is priced at $3,000 plus an $1,500 annual subscription fee—but in a world run by Instagram, it may help give bars an extra buzz.
Hidden Valley dips into Allrecipes/Amazon Fresh partnership
This week the media and marketing company the Meredith Corporation announced that Hidden Valley will be the first advertising partner to take advantage of the Allrecipes/Amazon Fresh integration. Now when users select shoppable recipes from Allrecipes that call for bottled ranch or powdered ranch mix, a Hidden Valley product will automatically be added to their AmazonFresh shopping cart and delivered to their doorstep. In addition to geo-targeted offers and ads, users will see a “May We Suggest” native recipe integrations pushing Hidden Valley ranch as a pairing whenever they click on pizza recipes. Customers can switch out Hidden Valley for another brand if they wish, but this partnership is just a taste of how CPG’s will use shoppable recipes as a tool to take advantage of the growing egrocery market.
Crowd Cow expands to Japan
Crowd Cow, the startup which helps people directly source meat by crowdfunding a cow online, has expanded their reach into Japan. They now offer A5 Wagyu beef sourced from Kagoshima, a rare cut of meat which their website claims is “the world’s most marbled steak.” This expansion shows that Crowd Cow’s model of direct-delivering specific cuts of whole cows has some market power behind it. It also speaks to the growing demand for ethically sourced luxury beef. If you’re interested, Crowd Cow’s A5 Wagyu will go on sale on March 19th, and promises to sell out pretty quickly. Get your Béarnaise sauce ready.
SmartQ gets funding to facilitate food court experience
This week the Chennai-based food tech startup SmartQ raised $1 million from Dubai-based investors. Founded in 2014, SmartQ aims to eliminate cafeteria lines by “digitizing food courts.” Their suite of products includes a food ordering app, a self ordering kiosk, and a POS system to facilitate restaurant billing. While keeping all of those services straight may seem more complicated than just waiting in line, SmartQ’s products are catching on in food courts around India. The company has been growing 50% month to month, and currently has big players Shell and Epsilon as clients. SmartQ hopes to use their funding to grow their business outside of India.
2018 AWE wowed with smart kitchen appliances
Smart kitchen gadgets abounded this week at the 2018 Appliance & Electronics World Expo (AWE) in Shanghai this week. Consumer appliance manufacturer Midea showed off some pretty snazzy demos appliances like their second generation Fun oven, which uses AI and machine learning to recognize foods and calculate the perfect cooking curve. There was also a voice-controlled microwave and a range hood with steam cleaning and air purification capabilities. Also at AWE, Chinese appliance company Haier debuted their smart home solution, featuring a smart fridge with a built-in camera which can see your food and recommend recipes accordingly.