In the world of the connected kitchen, there’s been no shortage of tech-forward scales, fridges and ovens the past few years, but one area that’s remained remarkably devoid of innovation has been ingredient storage and dispensing.
Which is why I’ve long been intrigued by PantryChic, a startup I started following back in the smart kitchen early days back of 2015. The product is the brainchild of company CEO Nikki Lee, who’s been working alongside her husband Chris to bring the smart canister and ingredient dispenser system to market for over five years.
When we caught up with Nikki last year, she said they had plans to ship the product in 2018, but as Chris Albrecht noted in a follow up story the company had missed their ship date.
I asked them via email what happened, and Chris Lee said they delay was due in part to some partnerships they had been working with bigger companies that could have required potential product modifications, but that “diligence is taking longer than we expected we had to make some strategic decisions and we decided to move forward so we don’t miss this year.”
Which brings us to this week’s announcement at the Housewares Show, which is the company is teaming up with Chefling to integrate the software startup’s AI-powered digital assistant for the consumer kitchen with the PantryChic system.
One of the last pieces the company needed to put into place as it looks to ship the product is software, and according to Chris Lee it made sense to partner with a company like Chefling.
“We chose to partner on the app side versus launching with our own App because the technology has advanced so rapidly with the integration of home assistants,” Chris Lee told me via email. “Chefling’s app design and customer value proposition are in line with what we were building and their integration of AI is very advanced making our partnership decision very easy.”
With PantryChic’s integration of Chefling, consumers will be able to track, manage and order ingredients from within the Chefling app. According to the release, the Chefling app will also recommend recipes based on what you have in your smart canisters and the app will track inventory and will be able to automatically re-order.
The deal is a smart move for Chefling, adding an interesting pantry solution to what has been a growing roster of larger appliance partners for its kitchen assistant. By adding PantryChic, the Chefling app will now be able to connect inventory management as a feature to select BSH Appliances powered by Bosch’s HomeConnect smart home platform as well as GE Appliances using GE’s U+ Connect platform.
According to Nikki Lee, the PantryChic will start shipping in July and will sell for $299, which includes the Chefling app, a base unit and three smart canisters.