Last week at the Smart Kitchen Summit, Israeli startup Silo unveiled its smart kitchen storage solution which combines vacuum seal tech with specialized plastic containers and Amazon Alexa. Check out the video below to see it in action.
This week, the company launched their Kickstarter, reaching their $80,000 goal in 22 hours. Early backers can get the Silo vacuum base plus four storage containers for $165, and prices increase based on container size and quantity. That’s not cheap, especially considering that you’ll need to buy all new containers to sync with the Silo. However, for families that shop in bulk at Costco and the like, Silo could definitely help them save money — and reduce their food waste. If all goes well in the manufacturing (and as we know, that’s a bit “if”), Silo will ship to its first batch of backers in July of 2019.
The fact that Silo reached their Kickstarter goal in less than a day illustrates a hungry market for kitchen storage systems. Because plastic containers are fine, but we’re living in the era of the smart kitchen — and food storage is one area where we’re seeing some serious innovation. Here are a few companies leading the charge:
Ovie makes LED tags which you can affix to your food containers to monitor how long that particular item will last. A green tag means your food is good, yellow means it’s nearing expiration, and red means do not eat. The startup launched their own Kickstarter back in May, where it also surpassed its funding goal by over 50 percent.
Though it doesn’t actually facilitate food freshness, Ovie is like Silo in that both use voice to help you track the lifespan of your food. They originally tried to sync it with Alexa, but developers weren’t satisfied with the gadget skill. That means Ovie requires a separate wifi-enabled hub to facilitate voice interaction, though the startup is working to make their tags talk with smart assistants.
Dry goods storage company PantryChic pitched onstage at the 2017 Smart Kitchen Summit Startup Showcase, where they captured our attention with their system of connected cannisters and dispensing unit. Together, the two can keep track of your dry goods inventory and portion out precise amounts of each ingredient (see video above for an example).
When Chris Albrecht caught up with the PantryChic team at the International Housewares show in March, they said they would be shipping in August. August has come and gone, and no word on PantryChic, despite multiple attempts to reach out. While that’s certainly worrisome, the enthusiasm around the product — including from our team — shows that there’s certainly a demand for smart dry goods storage.
Outside of the (resealable) box, Stasher‘s reusable silicone bags make a great alternative to single-use plastic baggies. The company makes resealable bags that they claim are “safer, more flexible, and more sustainable than plastic.” They can be used for sous vide, or as storage to keep snacks, kids’ lunches, and perishable ingredients fresh. Stasher made waves earlier this year when the founder went on Shark Tank and walked away with $400,000 from investor Mark Cuban.
In researching companies for this piece, I was excited to see so many companies working to disrupt plastic containers, single-use plastic bag, vacuum sealer, and other food storage methods that are practically screaming for a reboot. Many of these new solutions, however, are just that: new. Most of them haven’t even shipped to their backers, which means we’ll have to wait and see if they can follow through on their promises — before they turn stale.