Here at The Spoon, we spend most days writing and thinking about those who are transforming what we eat. No matter whether a startup, big company, inventor, or a cook working on new approaches in the kitchen, we love learning the stories of people changing the future of food. So much so, in fact, that we wanted to share those companies that most excite us with our readers.
And so here it is, The Spoon’s Food Tech 25: Twenty Five Companies Changing the Way We Eat
What exactly is the Food Tech 25? In short, it’s our list of the twenty five companies we think are doing the most interesting things changing the way we create, buy, store, cook and think about food.
As with any list, there are bound to be a few questions about how we got here and why we chose the companies we did. Here are some answers:
How did we create this list?
The editors of the Spoon — myself, Chris Albrecht, Catherine Lamb and Jenn Marston — got together in a room, poured some kombucha (ed note: except for Chris), and listed all the companies we thought were doing interesting and important work in changing food and cooking. From there, we had numerous calls, face-to-face meetings and more glasses of kombucha until we narrowed the list down to those you see here.
Is this an annual list?
No, this is a list of the companies we think are the most interesting people and companies right now, in mid-2018. Things could definitely look different six months from now.
Is this list in a particular order or are the companies ranked?
No, the list is in no particular order and we did not rank the 25 companies.
Why isn’t company X on the list?
If this was your list, company X or Y would most likely be on the list (and that’s ok with us). But this is the Spoon’s list and we’re sticking to it (for now – see above).
And of course, making this list wasn’t easy. There are lots of companies doing interesting things in this space. If we had enough room to create runners-up or honorable mentions, we would. But we don’t (and you don’t have enough time to read a list like that).
So, without further ado, here is the Spoon’s Food Tech 25. If you’re the type that likes your lists all on one page, click here.
Ember bills itself as “the world’s first temperature control mug,” which basically means you can dictate a specific temperature for your brew via the corresponding app and keep your coffee (or tea or whatever) hot for as long as you need to. The significance here isn’t so much about coffee as it is about where else we could implement the technology and relatively simple concept powering the Ember mug. The company currently has patents out on other kinds of heated or cooled dishware, and Ember has cited baby bottles and medicine as two areas in which it might apply its technology. And yes, it allows you to finally stop microwaving all that leftover morning coffee.
The Instant Pot is not the highest-tech gadget around, but its affordability, versatility, and speed have made this new take on the pressure cooker a countertop cooking phenomenon. It also has a large and fanatical community, where enthusiastic users share and reshare their favorite Instant Pot recipes across Facebook groups and online forums. By becoming the first new breakout appliance category of the millennial generation, the Instant Pot has achieved that highly desirable (and rare) position of having its brand synonymous with the name of the category; people don’t go looking for pressure cookers, they go looking for an Instant Pot.
We chose Deliveroo out of the myriad of food delivery services because of their Editions project, which uses customer data to curate restaurant hubs in areas which have unfulfilled demands for certain chain establishments or cuisine types. This model allows food establishments to set up locations with zero start-up costs, and also gives customers in more restaurant-dry areas a wide variety of delivery food options. Essentially, it’s cloud kitchens meets a food hall, with some heavy analysis to help determine which restaurants or cuisines customers want, and where. These “Rooboxes” (hubs of shipping containers in which the food is prepared) show that Deliveroo is a pioneer in the dark kitchen space, and are doing serious work to shake up the food delivery market.
There are any number of ways that Amazon could have been included in this list, but its Amazon Go stores are what we think will be the real game changer. The cashierless corner store uses a high-tech combination of cameras and computing power, allowing you to walk in grab what you want — and leave. That’s it. At its first location in Seattle, we were struck by how seamless the experience was. As the locations broaden, this type of quick convenience has the potential to change the way we shop for snacks, (some) groceries and even prepared meal kits.
Restaurants have more pieces of software to deal with than ever. In addition to all the delivery platforms they are now plugged into, there have to deal with payments systems, HR software, and inventory management software. And right now, none of those applications talk to each other. Created by a former IBM Watson engineer, Ingest.ai promises to extract and connect the data from ALL of those disparate software pieces and tie them together to give restaurant owners a holistic, data-powered view of their business. It also helps them have more precise control over their business and automate tasks like food ordering and staff scheduling.