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Catherine here! Pleasantly full from sampling Pizzametry’s pizza-making robot/vending machine, ready for a weeklong sojourn to Copenhagen to eat as many cinnamon rolls and fermented things as humanly possible.
Speaking of Europe, this week I spent a good chunk of time sifting through piles of data on the state of European food tech. Now, I’m not complaining — we at the Spoon love a good data sift, the nerdier the better. And we uncovered some interesting trends emerging across the Atlantic. Check out our distilled report to find out which companies, investors, and countries are forging the way in European food innovation.
There’s plenty of action right here in our own backyard, too. Take food delivery: a whopping $3.5 billion has been invested in startups in the space this year alone — and it’s only October.
We’re also seeing a lot of companies experimenting with delivery methods. Chris wrote about how Kiwi’s food delivery robots are rolling out in Los Angeles, which he thinks is a smarter play than Uber’s goal to start delivering your pad thai or chicken burrito via drone.
Outside of delivery, robots are also continuing their march into the restaurant space. Chinese hot pot chain Haidilao has teamed up with Panasonic to launch a Berlin location with a completely robot-run kitchen. Maybe good news for consumers, but bad news for people looking for entry-level restaurant jobs.
In the front of house, Jenn wrote about the partnership between Ordrslip, a company which powers mobile apps for restaurants, and payment software Square. Together, they can help smaller mom-and-pop eateries enter the age of mobile ordering and payments — something that’s becoming less of a nicety and more of a necessity.
Jenn also has the story about an epic Twitter thread from the founder of CircleUp about the future of grocery. Ryan Caldbeck’s seventeen-tweet thread told the story of a three hour conversation he had recently with an unnamed CEO of a large grocery chain. He provided a few key takeaways from the conversation, including how low-pricing is a losing strategy and how the old axiom “location is everything” holds less relevancy in an era of delivery-everywhere. What does matter? Product selection optimized by “non-commoditized data”. You can read Jenn’s post about Caldbeck’s thread here.
Also from this week: Chris wonders if 2019 could be the year that we move beyond traditional meat, as plant-based meat continues to gain popularity with vegetarians and flexitarians alike. It’ll be a while longer before the average person can sink their teeth into cell-based (also called cultured or clean) meat, however. In anticipation of its market launch, the USDA and FDA hosted a joint meeting earlier this week to discuss how they would label this emerging technology.
Oh yeah, one more thing: Our photos and video page from Smart Kitchen Summit 2018 is in. We have all our photos up and a bunch of videos (with most being up by next week), so check it out!
That’s all from me! Farvel (Danish for see ya later.)
In the 10/26 edition:
Video: Richard Blais Wants to Make a Drone Delivery Service for Donuts
During his fireside chat at the 2018 Smart Kitchen Summit, Richard Blais talks about his thoughts on the future of food technology in the restaurant and home kitchen: food delivery, robotics, and drone-delivered donuts.
Product Selection Will Drive Future Growth for Grocery, Says CircleUp’s CEO
Whether it’s about personalizing the shopping experience, changing the way stores are set up or shoppable recipes, most folks in the food industry have an opinion about what will drive future growth for grocery retailers. This week, another voice joined the conversation and offered a new take on where retailers should be looking in terms of future of grocery.
Haidilao and Panasonic Team Up for Robotic Hotpot Restaurant
Haidilao, which operates a hotpot restaurant chain, has partnered with Panasonic to open up a robot-run kitchen in Beijing on October 28. The new automated kitchen will reportedly be used to help Haidilao expand to up to 5,000 locations around the world.
Trendwatch: Is 2019 the Year We Move Beyond Traditional Meat?
Consumption of beef and chicken was estimated to hit a record high this year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. But traditional meat’s time at the top of the proverbial food chain may be nearing an end, if two new 2019 prediction pieces are to be believed. But how close is that to the truth?
Allergy Fears and Transparency Among Issues at latest USDA/FDA Meat-ing
Earlier this week, scientists, entrepreneurs, and concerned members of the public got together to discuss the future of cell-based (also called “cultured” and “lab-grown”) meat during a joint meeting put on by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). A big issue on the table: labeling.
Video: To Survive, the Future Kitchen Must be Personalized, Flexible, and Emotional
The first panel of the 2018 Smart Kitchen Summit (SKS) North America tackled the disrupted meal journey. Just after Jon Jenkins, Director of Engineering at Hestan Smart Cooking, Dana Cowin, former Editor in Chief of Food & Wine, and Michael Wolf kicked off SKS by discussing how the kitchen has to adjust if it will survive in the future.
Bee Vectoring Technology Uses Bees to Apply Pesticide on Crops
Bees are pretty remarkable creatures (once you get past all that stinging). They pollinate crops, make delicious honey, and if a Toronto-based agtech company, Bee Vectoring Technology, has its way, bees will be used to apply pesticides to crops to help ward off disease and increase yields.
$3.5 Billion Invested in Food Delivery Startups This Year
Investors have a big appetite for food delivery companies this year. The Wall Street Journal reports on Pitchbook data revealing that $3.5 billion has been invested in food and grocery delivery startups so far in 2018.
Kiwi Delivery Robots Expand into Los Angeles
If you live in the Westwood area of Los Angeles, you can see sunshine, the occasional movie star, and now delivery robots shuttling food to hungry local denizens. According to the Daily Bruin, Kiwi Campus started rolling out its delivery robots at the beginning of this month.
Cookitoo Brings Rental Kitchen Marketplace from Down Under to the Bay Area
Australian startup Cookitoo is bringing their online marketplace for underutilized kitchen space to the Bay Area, with hopes to expand into other U.S. cities over the next year and a half.