Today Nomiku, maker of sous vide immersion circulators, announced their latest generation connected cooking appliance and the launch of a subscription meal service that will deliver frozen, pre-cooked meals that owners of the new Nomiku can cook in 30 minutes or less. As part of the announcement, Nomiku also announced that Samsung Ventures had invested in the company.
Food delivery marks an ambitious new direction for Nomiku, one of the original sous vide startups that has been shipping immersion circulators since 2013. By moving into subscription food delivery, Nomiku has its first business line with recurring revenue. The move also makes Nomiku one of the first companies to create a connected hardware device tied to a subscription meal service. While other companies such as Whirlpool and Barilla have been selling RFID powered cooking systems with specially designed packaged food for a couple years, and startup Tovala announced a meal subscription service tied to their cooking appliance last year, Nomiku appears to be the first to launch a meal subscription plan with intelligent auto-reordering built into the connected cooking appliance.
By offering fast-prep meals, Nomiku is also hoping to expose sous vide cooking to a wider audience. Sous vide is often seen as the domain of foodies, the types that are willing to wait longer for a cook to finish in exchange for a better tasting meal. By accelerating the cooking process, the company hopes to change the perception of sous vide circulators from a device synonymous with slow cooking to one that offers both convenience and better tasting food than other fast-cook methods such as microwave ovens.
The company plans to start small, shipping to 100 customers in May and expanding to a broader audience in the early summer time frame. The subscription food packages will be modular in nature, consisting of both “mains” and “sides” that can be mixed and matched. The average price of a meal is $15 and, after 20 or so meals, the company says it will credit the price of the Nomiku circulator ($149) towards meals.
The circulator is equipped with an RFID reader, which allows the user to scan an RFID tag on the meals and send the Nomiku circulator specific time and temperature settings for each dish. The device will also be synced with the customer’s existing food inventory and, according to Nomiku, will automatically reorder food when the meals left available are down to four.
The Samsung Connection
One of the most interesting aspects of today’s announcement is the Samsung connection. Samsung’s investment arm invested an undisclosed sum in the company, an amount that Fetterman calls “the most money any single investor has put into Nomiku”. The move marks the second investment in a precision cooking/sous vide startup by a large appliance maker in a short time period, coming just a couple months after the acquisition of Anova by Electrolux.
According to Fetterman, Samsung “is a logical partner for us because they do the connected home.” The investment in Nomiku is, according to Fetterman, a move by Samsung “to dominate the connected kitchen.”
Fetterman said Samsung plans integrate the Nomiku with their smart home platform, SmartThings. Samsung acquired SmartThings almost three years ago, and since that time has had somewhat mixed success in establishing the platform as one which other companies will commit to building around. However, the consumer electronics giant has been fairly successful in their effort to integrate SmartThings with their various product lines in the home such as appliances and TVs. While Samsung had prevously announced an integration of SmartThings with their own Wi-Fi ovens, Nomiku appears to be the first small precision cooking appliance integrated with the SmartThings smart home platform.
Fetterman also told The Spoon that Samsung plans to launch a Nomiku app for the Family Hub refrigerator. The app will come preloaded with the Family Hub and will control the Nomiku device directly from the fridge. Fetterman also believes existing Family Hub models will see in-field software updates that will install the Nomiku app on the connected fridge.
It will be interesting to see where Samsung takes this investment/partnership. I am sure they will be watching Nomiku’s efforts to enter food delivery closely since that business represents a new potential revenue stream for the company. The South Korean consumer electronics conglomerate displayed an early and aggressive embrace of the smart TV market and the associated revenue streams tied to apps included on these new devices. With their investment in Nomiku and the growth of the connected kitchen, one has to wonder if they possibly see food delivery as an enticing new service model in an era of ever-declining hardware margins.
To see Lisa Fetterman and other leaders talk about the future of the connected kitchen, come to the Smart Kitchen Summit. Get your tickets today.