Campbell Soup Company + SKS Announce Indoor Food Tech Startup Verdical As The 2017 Smart Kitchen Summit Startup Showcase Winner

Campbell Soup Company and SKS (Smart Kitchen Summit), the leading event and community focused on the future of food, cooking and the kitchen today announce the winner of the annual Startup Showcase + Pitchfest: indoor food cultivation platform Verdical.

Verdical was selected from a group of 15 finalists, which included startups, inventors, and culinary makers across a wide range of food technology applications. CEO Andrew Deitz presented on Verdical’s mission to simplify the produce growing process to bring indoor food cultivation to the kitchen as part of the qualifying Pitchfest at the show.

Verdical provides a platform for growing food indoors. Each elegantly designed standing hydroponic gardening system uses horticultural LED's along with various sensors to make growing year-round as easy as inserting seed pods and pushing a button. Because of its size and scale, Verdical is perfect for a wide variety of use-cases including residential applications or commercial applications in restaurants or other community kitchens.

Verdical CEO Andrew Deitz and Campbell Soup Company VP of Digital Marketing Matthew Pritchard

Verdical CEO Andrew Deitz and Campbell Soup Company VP of Digital Marketing Matthew Pritchard

“At Verdical we believe food is deeply emotional and our work reflects that; we’re thrilled to be named the 2017 Smart Kitchen Summit Startup Showcase winner,” said Andrew Deitz, CEO, Verdical. “Our team is excited to partner with Campbell in developing a new generation of urban farmers who will have the ability to harvest food onsite year-round.”

Campbell Soup Company, the leading maker of soups and simple meals, beverages, snacks and packaged fresh foods, sponsored the 2017 Startup Showcase. As the winner of the showcase, Campbell will provide Verdical a cash prize of $10,000 and the opportunity to be mentored by Campbell executives.

“The connected kitchen of our future will provide fresh ingredients, modern recipes and cooking assistance at the touch of a button,” said Shakeel Farooque, Vice President and Head of Digital and e-Commerce, Campbell Soup Company. “By allowing consumers to grow fresh ingredients in hydroponic columns in their kitchens, Verdical is proving that the future is closer than it appears. We look forward to working with Verdical as they revolutionize kitchens across the nation.”

In addition to the finalist award, an award for innovation sponsored by Storebound was also presented to runner-up eCooker at the show. A kitchen appliance used to cook solid food homogenously in a short time at low temperatures, the eCooker doesn’t impact the nutrition of a food during cooking, preserving taste and texture.

For a full list of finalists, check out our blog post and for video of the Startup Showcase event, click here.

Smart Kitchen Summit Announces 15 Finalists for Food Tech Startup Competition + Campbell’s Partnership

Today we are excited to announce our 15 finalists for the 2017 Startup Showcase at this year's Smart Kitchen Summit.

Now entering our third year, SKS brings together the world's innovators across the home appliance, culinary, grocery, smart home/IoT and technology industries to explore and create the future together.

This year’s Startup Showcase will take place during the event, held on October 10-11, 2017 in Seattle. This year’s Startup Showcase + Pitchfest will be sponsored by the leading maker of soups and simple meals, beverages, snacks and packaged fresh foods, Campbell Soup Company. SKS provides a platform for exciting startups, inventors, culinary makers and cutting-edge product companies to showcase what they are working on and let others experience it firsthand.

Campbell will provide one winning startup – announced live at Smart Kitchen Summit – with a cash prize of $10,000 and the opportunity to be mentored by Campbell executives to further their ideas.

The finalists for this year’s Startup Showcase are:

AVA Technologies - AVA Byte is a pod-and-device smart electronic garden enabled by AI. Byte is intuitive to use and the first garden to grow microgreens and mushrooms alongside leafy greens and herbs. It is also the first to include truly smart tech including sensors that collect data and HD cameras that analyses visual inputs to help AVA learn how to grow plants better over time.

Bubble Lab – Maker of Drip, a precision engineered pour-over coffee machine that consistently delivers perfect cups of this ever popular, yet usually laborious brew. A smart automation solution that's perfect for busy cafes, with Drip baristas can create recipes, and customize parameters for each pour.

Camellia Labs - Chime is the world's first authentic chai brewer. Chime caps are packed with high grade black tea and organic spices packaged close to source to capture the aroma and freshness.

Chefling - Your smart kitchen assistant, Chefling keeps track of your ingredients using image recognition and receipt scanning, suggests delicious recipes based on those ingredients and automatically creates a shopping list with the other ingredients you need for that recipe. Users can purchase through retail partners right through our app and Chefling is compatible with Amazon Echo and Google Home.

Crepe Robot – With one switch, the crepe robot can pour out the correct amount of dough onto a hot spinning plate and extend and bake the dough into a crepe. The crepe is then automatically moved to a prep station for additional fruit or filling.

eCooker – A kitchen appliance used to cook solid food homogenously in a short time at low temperatures, the eCooker doesn’t impact the nutrition of a food during cooking, preserving taste and texture. It requires no additional baking fat or oil and saves up to 50% of energy.

FreshFridge - FreshFridge is a wireless food storage system which monitors, records and transmits measurements inside containers to remotely networked devices, creating an accurate and automated log of exposure to temperature variations over time.

GammaChef - GammaChef is a robotic chef that can prepare any one pot meal. It is a pragmatic household appliance that is bringing 21st century technology into our kitchens with digital recipes baked in. Based on the recipe chosen, Gammachef will store, refrigerate, flavor, mix, heat and cook any meal with ease.

HOPii, Inc. – HOPii is the most sophisticated and intelligent craft beer brewing system, made to create your favorite breweries' craft beers at their best and freshest tasting conditions with a touch of a button. Simply put in the ingredient pods of your favorite brewery's craft beer into HOPii and press START.

KitchBot - KitchBot pairs online recipe content with 'Vulcan,’ the first and only device to instantly connect your kitchen without any modification. By simply plugging the appliance's power plug onto Vulcan and installed the temperature sensor, Vulcan gives your kitchen appliances temperature-controlled function with an online recipe app to directly control appliances.

Loki - The Loki Smart Meat Thermometer is the first in a line of Wi-Fi devices from Loki and is composed of the 'Loki Sphere', where the brains are housed and four 'Loki Smart Link' probes each of which measures both the temperature of the food being cooked and the ambient temperature of the barbeque, smoker or oven doing the cooking.

PantryChic - The PantryChic™ Store & Dispense System™ reinvents ingredient storage, recipe preparation and pantry organization by automatically dispensing the perfect amount of each ingredient directly from SmartCanisters™ into your bowl.

Pixsweet - Pixsweet.com is a brand-new platform that enables users to turn every pixel of the internet into ice pops. By combining intuitive software with a proprietary production process, Pixsweet delivers custom 3D ice pops in just a few clicks.

Stagg EKG – A Bluetooth enabled electric pour-over kettle with a beautiful design (featured at NY MoMA) and built with pro-level functionality, Stagg EKG+ is smart and contributes to a connected café or home coffee bar experience.

Verdical - Verdical provides a platform for growing food onsite. Each elegantly designed standing hydroponic gardening system uses horticultural LED's along with various sensors to make growing year-round as easy as inserting seed pods and pushing a button.

Don’t miss the chance to see these startups live along with leaders across smart home, kitchen tech and design, commerce, robotics, delivery and more on October 10 and 11 in Seattle. Register for tickets today and use code SPOON to get 25% off. 

The Weekly Spoon: Juicero Layoffs, Reinventing The Vending Machine & SKS Heads to Japan

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It was another action packed week in the future of food and cooking.

News broke this past week that high profile cold-press juicing startup Juicero was to lay off 25% of its workforce. Company CEO Jeff Dunn acknowledged in a memo to employees that the company's pricing was too high and explained the need to cut costs as the company accelerated plans to move to its second generation juicer.  

It seems the startup hasn't quite fully recovered from a Bloomberg article this spring which focused on how the Juicero juice packs could be used without the machine. The article went viral, CEO Dunn's Medium post only seemed to add fuel to the fire.   

Restaurants are beginning to embrace robotics as a way to lower costs and eliminate tasks that could be hazardous for humans. But with worries about the millions of fast food jobs that often are a first stop for young employees beginning their careers, companies like Zume Pizza are taking a different path that embraces a 'cobot' culture emphasizing roles for those humans freed up from repetitive tasks taken by the bots. 

If you're like me, you've been disappointed at some point by the choices offered in your office vending machine. The good news is help is on the way. A new crop of startups are trying to reimagine the office vending machine by offering more high-tech purchase flow and fresher, healthier choices of what to eat. 

If you brew beer at home, there's a good chance you started with a Coopers Kit that utilizes extracts to allow you to skip the messy mashing stage of the brewing process.  Coopers, which is Australia's largest brewery, is bringing a new home beer brewing system to the US market after launching it in Australia last year. Their beer brewing system, which includes a beer brewer called the BeerDroid and a refrigerated dispensing system called the BeerFlo, gives market leader PicoBrew another competitor with deep pockets. 

We've got some exciting news on the Smart Kitchen Summit front: we're heading to Japan! That's right, I am very excited to be working with one of Japan's most renowned strategic consultancies in SigmaXYZ to bring the Smart Kitchen Summit to Tokyo on August 25th. Not only do we have some of Japan's biggest food and appliance players coming to discuss what they're up to, we're also bringing some of the west's most innovative companies to Tokyo to discuss their visions.  You can read my post about it here and visit the event page here where you can buy tickets.

Hey startups: are you planning on coming to the Smart Kitchen Summit? If you're working on an innovative new product that changes the way we think about food, cooking or the kitchen itself, you really shouldn't miss it.

Here's how to participate: apply to be a Startup Showcase Finalist (if you're early stage) or shoot us a note about startup sponsorship. We'll give you a few tickets and a table to show off your demo to industry execs, VCs and the press. 

And once again: Early bird tickets to SKS will be gone after July 31 and with a 25% coupon code for newsletter readers, now is the time to get registered. October will be here before we know it.

Have a great week.

Mike

In the 07/18/2017 edition:

Innovative Approaches Bringing Urban Farming To Cities Across The Globe

By Allen Weiner on Jul 18, 2017 09:39 am
Across the globe, innovators are working to make fresh, locally grown food more accessible to city dwellers via urban farming. In Paris, where consumers pay a premium for fresh everything, the concept of urban farming might lead locals to turn up their nose. Agricool, a French startup, is hoping to dot the country’s landscape with […]
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BrewArt, The HomeBrew System From Australian Giant Coopers, Hits Kickstarter Goal

By Michael Wolf on Jul 17, 2017 10:11 am
If at first you don’t succeed, run another crowdfunding campaign. That’s exactly what the people behind home beer brewing system BrewArt have done. After an aborted campaign in March in which they only raised just under $3 thousand after three weeks, the BrewArt is already in the money after hitting their $30 thousand goal in just one week. […]
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Doritos By Drone? It Could Take A While

By Allen Weiner on Jul 17, 2017 05:48 am
Drone delivery holds great promise, but federal and local regulators in the US are moving cautiously towards a future in which everything from beer to burritos are delivered to our home by air.
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Startups Aim To Bring Fresher Choices To The Office Vending Machine

By Michael Wolf on Jul 15, 2017 08:31 am
Office life can often mean tight deadlines, which in turn often means making tough choices like ‘Funyuns or Fritos?’ when lunch rolls around. But for those of us who believe that no time starved employee should have to sustain themselves on bags full of salt and high fructose corn syrup, things may be looking up: a new crop of startups are […]
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Juicero To Lay Off 25% of Staff As It Accelerates Plans For Gen-2 Juicer

By Michael Wolf on Jul 14, 2017 11:11 am
Juicero, the high-profile connected juicer startup founded by cold-press juice pioneer Doug Evans, is laying off 25% percent of its staff in an attempt to lower costs as it accelerates the development of a second generation juicer. According to a report in Fortune, Juicero CEO Jeff Dunn sent a letter to employees which said the company is planning to lay […]
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Building Wine and Meat Molecule by Molecule

By Sam Dean on Jul 14, 2017 08:29 am
“Engineering wines to perfection molecule by molecule.” That’s the tagline of Ava Winery, which is creating synthetic wines without grapes, yeast, or even fermentation. Mardonn Chua and Alec Lee are the entrepreneurs behind Ava Winery. They create compounds with ethanol that mimic the chemical composition of wines, but that will sell for much less money. […]
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Your Face Is Your Key: Exploring Facial Recognition with TrueFace’s Shaun Moore

By Michael Wolf on Jul 14, 2017 06:15 am
Back in 2014, Shaun Moore and his cofounder Nezare Chafni started selling a consumer video doorbell called Chui with facial recognition technology. They eventually realized the future of the company was not in doorbells, but in developing robust facial recognition and detection technology that could be applied to a variety of scenarios.
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Vine to Cart: Grocery Stores Use New Tech To Create In Store Farms

By Ashley Daigneault on Jul 13, 2017 06:10 am
While the demand for organic and sustainable agriculture is growing across the globe, the future of fresher produce might be picking it right at the supermarket. A startup out of Berlin called Infarm is currently working on an “indoor vertical farming” system with the capacity to grow any kind of fruit, vegetable or herb.  Multiple sensors […]
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Robot or Cobot? Companies Taking Varying Paths As Food Robots Reach Viability

By Allen Weiner on Jul 12, 2017 10:00 am
Flying in the face of the claim of being “the best first job in America,” burger chains and other fast food eateries are on the brink of replacing young workers with machines. Labor costs (especially the fight for a higher minimum wage) and shrinking profits are driving changes. Specifically, the strategic move is to deploy self-service […]
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Tovala Pairs Smart Appliance Innovation With Meal Kit Convenience

By Ashley Daigneault on Jul 12, 2017 08:17 am
Last year at the Smart Kitchen Summit’s Startup Showcase, David Rabie stood next to a black box, one that resembled a microwave of the future or maybe even a toaster oven. Rabie’s company Tovala was making a smart steam oven that was connected to an app and able to perfectly cook certain meals with a […]
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The Weekly Spoon: The Battle for the Kitchen Screen

We've seen lots of big business plays in the month of June - Amazon moved further into the grocery space with the multi-billion dollar purchase of Whole Foods, Freshly saw a $77 million infusion from food giant Nestle and today, Blue Apron becomes the first meal delivery kit startup to go public.

Yesterday the company announced it had slashed its expected valuation, setting initial share offerings at $10-$11 as opposed to the previously speculated price points of $15-$17. We wanted to dig into the numbers on the S-1 filing a little more, so we sat down with data scientist and statistician Daniel McCarthy to look at Blue Apron's road to profitability.

And speaking of Amazon, the Amazon Echo Show - the touchscreen sister of the Alexa-powered smart speakers Echo and Echo Dot - started shipping. The early reviews are mixed but we wanted to explore what is shaping up to be a battle for the screens in our kitchens. I also take a look at how Amazon is playing a central role in efforts to transition recipes to fully immersive guided cooking platforms.

From fridges to countertops to AI assistants, we took a look at the myriad of ways companies are trying to own screen real estate in the kitchen. 

I had a chance to attend the FOODIT event this week in Mountain View and I had a robot prepared salad for lunch and took some video. I also had a chance to chat with Sally the robot's owner, Chowbotics CEO Deepak Sekar.

Speaking of restaurant and food service automation, the week before I was in New York and had a chance to drop into an Eatsa. I was impressed. You can read my thoughts on how Eatsa has created a new template for the future of fast casual. 

We have some really exciting innovators and disruptors coming to speak at the 2017 Smart Kitchen Summit so we're going to be highlighting some of those in a new SKS17 speaker series. This week we talked to America's Test Kitchen executive editor Lisa McManus about how her team thinks about the smart kitchen and technology's role in helping us cook better food.

And finally, while you're at it, check the early draft of our agenda. We have some amazing sessions on tap, and we continue to add new speakers and super insightful moderators to supercharge these conversations. Make sure to check back frequently!

If you want to hear Lisa and other incredible panelists at the Smart Kitchen Summit, use code NEWSLETTER to get 25% of your tickets.

Happy Fourth of July weekend!

Mike

P.S. Tell your friends to subscribe!

In the 06/29/2017 edition:

Allrecipes And Others Leveraging Amazon For Guided Cooking Efforts

By Michael Wolf on Jun 29, 2017 08:18 am
Allrecipes, one of the web’s original food and recipe pioneers, is making yet another move into the smart kitchen. And not surprisingly, the nearly twenty-year-old company has once again partnered up with crosstown online commerce giant and newly minted grocery store chain operator Amazon to do so. This week Allrecipes announced it is one of the first […]
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Watch Sally The Robot Make My Salad

By Michael Wolf on Jun 28, 2017 10:11 am
Yesterday at the FOODIT event in Mountain View, I had salad for lunch. Why I am telling you this? Because unlike any salad I’ve had before, this one was custom built for me by a robot named Sally. We’ve written about Sally before at the Spoon, but this is the first time I got to taste a […]
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Can Blue Apron Succeed? Five Questions With A Data Scientist Ahead of The IPO

By Ashley Daigneault on Jun 28, 2017 08:55 am
In some ways, the meal delivery kit craze was one of the ways people started to notice major disruption happening in our food system. Technology and connectivity are finally starting to penetrate the ways we grow, cook, manage, order and think about our food – so it is fitting that one of the major IPOs […]
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Lisa McManus Wants To Prevent Buyer’s Remorse In The Smart Kitchen

By Ashley Daigneault on Jun 27, 2017 02:59 pm
The Smart Kitchen Summit is the first event to tackle the future of food, cooking and the kitchen with leaders across food, tech, commerce, design, delivery and appliances. This series will highlight panelists and partners for the 2017 event, being held on October 10-11 at Benaroya Hall in Seattle.  America’s Test Kitchen has been helping people learn […]
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The Battle For The ‘Kitchen Screen’ Has Just Begun. Here’s The Leading Contenders

By Michael Wolf on Jun 26, 2017 06:54 am
Back in the year 2000, the world’s first Internet-connected refrigerator was introduced. Made by LG, the Digital DIOS came with a webcam, an Ethernet port and perhaps most importantly, an LCD touchscreen. The fridge was one of the first examples of an appliance with a digital screen created specifically for the consumer kitchen, but with a $20 thousand […]
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Behind The Bot: Meet Sure, A Chatbot That Recommends Instagram Food Hotspots

By Michael Wolf on Jun 23, 2017 11:13 am
While some people get downright grumpy when it comes to seeing food pics posted in their Facebook and Instagram feeds, I’m one of those that actually enjoys them. In fact, when I see someone showing off a tasty platter from a local restaurant on Instagram, I’ll often make a mental note to check that place out if it’s in my […]
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SKS17: Barilla Wants To Be The Expert On Food Science In The Smart Kitchen

By Ashley Daigneault on Jun 23, 2017 07:04 am
The Smart Kitchen Summit is the first event to tackle the future of food, cooking and the kitchen with leaders across food, tech, commerce, design, delivery and appliances. This series will highlight panelists and partners for the 2017 event, being held on October 10-11 at Benaroya Hall in Seattle.  When you think about technology and innovation, the […]
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I Ate At Eatsa. Now I’m Convinced It’s The Future of Fast Casual Dining

By Michael Wolf on Jun 22, 2017 10:22 am
Like most everyone, one of the reasons I love going to New York City is the food. And after all, why not? The variety is endless, and every meal brings a chance to eat somewhere (and something) amazing. In just one three-day trip to the Big Apple this week, I got to eat  dinner at America’s best pasta restaurant, […]
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Samsung’s Latest Smart Fridge Is Here

By Ashley Daigneault on Jun 20, 2017 03:22 pm
Samsung's showing off the next generation Family Hub smart fridge at an event in cooperation with the Smart Kitchen Summit in NYC.
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Small but Powerful: Automating the Smart Kitchen with the Raspberry Pi

By Sam Dean on Jun 19, 2017 08:58 am
Ever since the first credit-card sized model was released in 2012, the Raspberry Pi line of sub-$100 Linux devices has defied all expectations. Its owners have chained the devices together to construct powerful supercomputers and used single devices to drive home automation and security systems. The Raspberry Pi is also a great way to inexpensively […]
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The Weekly Spoon: Amazon Buys Whole Foods; Smart Gardens Bloom; Barilla 3D Prints Pasta + Blue Apron Pre-IPO

Amazon is officially an omnichannel business. This is clear after this morning's blockbuster announcement that the retail giant has agreed to buy Whole Foods for $13.7 billion. Amazon has clearly had a strategy to own the grocery store and dry goods, taking aim at Wal-Mart and Target with its Dash and Pantry programs and working to capture produce with Amazon Fresh. But the company has signaled that it believes in the power of brick and mortar and its role in truly dominating commerce. 

Earlier this year, Amazon debuted its experiment with future grocery shopping concepts through its cashierless, fully automated store Amazon Go. The purchase of Whole Foods not only expands Amazon's ability to increase delivery pickup centers but gives the company a huge reach into typically wealthier corners of the U.S. to experiment with its "grocery store of the future" concepts. 

We dive into the news and look at why the deal makes perfect sense for Amazon - check out our analysis

The poditization of...well, everything is still going strong as evidenced by the next Keurig for indoor growing, Ava Byte. The Indiegogo startup calls itself the "best automated smart garden" and makes a compact growing station with spots for refillable pods to grow really anything you might imagine. Will the recurring revenue of seed pods prove to be successful?

There are a lot of Blue Apron IPO analysis out there, but one, in particular, caught our eye - written by a marketing professor at Emory, it looks at customer retention and the meal kit startup's struggle to keep a loyal customer base. Does this spell bad news for Blue Apron or is it a symptom of the meal kit market as a whole? Don't miss our breakdown.

Also - why is Barilla so interested in 3D printed Christmas tree pasta? 3D food printing is making waves across the food and culinary world, from restaurants to the consumer kitchen, food scientists and Big Food companies are paying attention. 

Applications are pouring in for the 3rd annual Startup Showcase at the Smart Kitchen Summit this fall; if you're a food tech or smart kitchen startup, you don't want to miss the chance to demo and pitch your product in front of the industry's leaders -- deadline to apply is August 15

As thanks for being a subscriber, you can take 25% off early bird prices with code NEWSLETTER for the 2017 Smart Kitchen Summit, coming this October to Benaroya Hall in Seattle. 

Happy Friday!
Mike

P.S. Tell your friends to subscribe!

In the 06/16/2017 edition:

Podcast: Amazon Buys Whole Foods

By Michael Wolf on Jun 16, 2017 10:53 am
Every now and then a deal of such magnitude happens, it makes you almost speechless when you first hear about it. Amazon buying Whole Foods is one of those deals. On this quick-take podcast, Mike gets together with Nomiku CEO Lisa Fetterman to discuss this mind-blowing deal, what it could mean for Amazon, what a […]
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Analysis: Here’s Why Amazon & Whole Foods Make Perfect Sense

By Michael Wolf on Jun 16, 2017 06:48 am
Blockbuster news this morning: Amazon is acquiring Whole Foods for $13.7 billion. Needless to say, this is a huge deal. My immediate thoughts are this: This deal signifies Amazon’s entry into physical brick and mortar in a big way. The company, which has been toying around with future store concepts like its own bookstore and […]
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Why Synthetic Sensors Could Be The Future Of Smart Kitchen Monitoring

By Sam Dean on Jun 16, 2017 06:08 am
Will the smart kitchen of the future be stocked with arrays of distributed sensors or could a single suite of sensors, localized on a credit-card sized housing, plug into an outlet to imbue the kitchen with all the intelligence it needs? According to Carnegie Mellon researchers in the Future Interfaces Group, the latter concept is […]
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Smart Gardens Follow a Familiar Business Path

By Allen Weiner on Jun 15, 2017 09:03 am
Entrepreneurs behind the recent raft of smart indoor gardens are following the digital commerce wisdom of those who understand the value of subscription-based businesses. The old, “buy the camera for cheap and we will sell you lots of film” concept has been successful for companies such as Keurig and Nespresso in maintaining multiple revenue streams. […]
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Blue Apron’s Biggest Problem Pre-IPO? Finding Loyal Customers

By Ashley Daigneault on Jun 13, 2017 10:09 am
Blue Apron’s impending IPO has been the subject of much speculation and anticipation in the recent months, especially as the meal kit delivery market has experienced great fluctuation in the past few years. The S-1 filing has been analyzed by hordes of financial analysts, but perhaps the most important deep dive into Blue Apron’s documents […]
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Technology Innovation Adds New Dimension To Pasta Making

By Allen Weiner on Jun 13, 2017 05:13 am
Alas, finally technology for those who like to play with their food. Give its universal popularity, pasta is a natural prime target for entrepreneurs wanting to leave an imprint on the future of food. Living at the intersection of smart food techniques and future consumer trends are methods to shapeshift ordinary macaroni noodles into 3D […]
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Weekly Spoon: New Food Funding Models, The Anova Nano, Apple's HomePod, State of RF Cooking

Without a doubt, food and cooking entrepreneurs have benefitted greatly from the arrival of democratized funding models in recent years. Kickstarter and Indiegogo have enabled startups like PicoBrew and Anova to launch major new product lines, while providing big companies like GE and Whirlpool a much quicker way to validate new product concepts than traditional methods.

But sometimes general-purpose crowdfunding isn't the right avenue to fund a food business. A food business may have short-term working capital needs or just need tailored advice about which market to target. This need for specialized approaches have given rise to new food funding platforms, and this week at The Spoon, our newest writer, Gigaom alum Sam Dean, takes a look at food-centric funding platforms such as PieShell and Credibles. 

Last week was a big one for the connected home, with Apple finally launching their competitor to the Amazon Echo and Google Home in the HomePod at WWDC. The HomePod is a connected speaker - but also a clear indicator of where Apple plans to take HomeKit and the smart home. Don't miss our analysis.

The sous vide market continues to heat up, with Anova announcing a $99 sous vide machine that's lighter and cheaper than previous versions. The company joins Gourmia with a sub $100 sous vide device and proof that sous vide has come a long way from French kitchens in the 18th century.

The microwave just turned 50, but advancements in cooking engineering might threaten its dominance as the fast-cook machine in our kitchens.One of the technologies taking aim at the old-school microwave is RF solid state cooking. Listen to our podcast with Goji Solutions President Yuval Ben-Haim to learn about where Goji sees the state of RF cooking.

As always some quick Smart Kitchen Summit news - if you're a startup in the food tech or connected kitchen market, you don't want to miss the chance to be in our Startup Showcase. Top 15 companies get a free demo table at the Summit -- deadline to apply is August 15

If you're not a startup but want to come to SKS in October -  Take 25% off early bird prices with code NEWSLETTER.

Have a great week,
Mike

P.S. Tell your friends to subscribe!

In the 06/12/2017 edition:

Hungry for Funding? New Avenues for Food Startup Financing are Opening Up

By Sam Dean on Jun 12, 2017 09:41 am
Ask many people how to find funding for emerging food projects, and lots of them will point to crowdsourcing sites. After all, sites such as Kickstarter have driven concepts ranging from PicoBrew to the Anova Precision Cooker to levels of funding that would put a smile on any startup founder’s face. Indeed, when it comes […]
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Kickstarter Entrepreneurs Ride the Popularity Wave of Probiotic Foods

By Allen Weiner on Jun 12, 2017 06:34 am
Probiotics are a budding segment of the food part of the crowdsourcing world. While most new efforts are focused on pickles, fermented sodas and kombucha, a team of Slovenian Kickstarter veterans are showcasing the wonders of probiotic cheese. Kefirko Cheese Maker comes on the heels of the successful 2015 launch of Kefirko, a device that […]
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The Smart Home Weekly: HomeKit’s Big Week & The Debut of HomePod

By Michael Wolf on Jun 09, 2017 10:03 am
Each week I look at the biggest story in smart home and give context to what’s happening in the connected home around the web. This was the most important week for HomeKit since Apple announced it in June 2014. That’s because, on Monday the company announced a host of critical updates to their smart home […]
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Podcast: The State of RF Cooking With Yuval Ben-Haim

By Michael Wolf on Jun 09, 2017 07:15 am
On the 50th birthday on the microwave, the core technology behind the fast-cook workhorse faces an uncertain future. One of the technologies taking aim at the old-school microwave is RF solid state cooking. A company that figures to be a key player in the RF cooking space is Goji Solutions. With a portfolio of technology […]
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Meet U-Bruu, The Latest Take On The Modern Home Kegerator

By Michael Wolf on Jun 08, 2017 07:37 am
Back when I was a kid, my dad converted an old fridge in our garage into a kegerator that served both beer and soft drinks from small minikegs he’d buy from a local distributor. While I was too young to consume the beer, I downed frosty mugs of cold Coca-Cola and root beer and became […]
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Anova Opens Pre-Orders For The Sub-$100 Nano

By Michael Wolf on Jun 07, 2017 05:41 pm
This week, Anova opened up pre-orders for their Nano, the company’s first sub-$100 sous vide circulator. The device, which ships in October, is 25% smaller and a full pound lighter than the company’s Wi-Fi Precision Cooker. Perhaps more importantly, the Nano comes in about $70 less than the company’s flagship product. The full price for the […]
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Analysis: With HomePod, Apple May Finally Deliver On The Promise Of HomeKit

By Michael Wolf on Jun 06, 2017 04:21 pm
After months of rumors, Apple finally introduced a wireless streaming speaker called HomePod this week, their first new hardware product since the Apple Watch debuted in 2015.  The Siri-enabled wireless speaker also doubles as a HomeKit powered smart home hub, giving Apple a new fixed HomeKit control point beyond Apple TV. The HomePod will ship in […]
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Yes, Millennials Are Staying Home To Cook. Here’s What They’re Making

By Michael Wolf on Jun 05, 2017 10:49 am
Last week, Buffalo Wild Wings CEO Sally Smith wrote a letter to investors to tell them that times are tough in the world of fast casual dining. According to Smith, one of the big reasons for the struggles of Applebee’s and others in the world of fast dining is millennials are eschewing mountainous plates of fried fare to […]
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The WWDC 2017 Prediction Show (Smart Home Edition)

By Michael Wolf on Jun 03, 2017 07:28 am
Are you ready for WWDC? Apple’s big developer conference is just three days away, and so it’s time to make some predictions. I get together with my old friend Adam Justice from Connectsense to discuss what we can expect this coming Monday from Apple on the smart home front. Topics discussed include: We speculate whether Apple will […]
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ChefSteps Expands Further Into Food With Launch Of Pre-Cooked Meals

By Michael Wolf on Jun 02, 2017 11:16 am
Back in February, I  wrote about ChefSteps’ plan to create a meat ‘marketplace’ that would connect “independent ranchers with ChefSteps users, offering them direct access to high-quality meat and ingredients at great prices.” As it turns out, this effort was part of a larger initiative to expand into food sales that is starting to come […]
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The Weekly Spoon: Andy Rubin's Smart Home Play; IKEA's Startup Bootcamp; Nest Gets Into AI

The big news in smart home - and smart kitchen - this week was all about Essential. Tech star and Android creator Andy Rubin joined Walt Mossberg on stage to talk about his new company and how they're creating a new OS for the home. Read our first take on the Essential smart speaker and ecosystem and what they might mean for the space.

Want more Essential analysis? Don't miss Mike's podcast with further discussion on Rubin's announcement plus special guest Pawel Orzechowski, the Director of Systems Software at Neato Robotics to talk how robotics will impact the smart home.

Amidst the Essential noise, Nest announced a new Nest Cam with face recognition software built in. Is Nest's integration of AI the first effort at a big comeback? There are signs that say yes.

IKEA is getting into the startup accelerator game, announcing the IKEA Bootcamp for entrepreneurs looking to solve the world’s “Big Problems.” Interest areas include food innovation, commerce disruption and robotics and selected startups will get a chance to live in Sweden and work alongside IKEA's greatest minds. 

Speaking of startups, did you miss our Startup Showcase announcement? Read all about the third edition of the smart kitchen and food tech startup competition at the 2017 Smart Kitchen Summit and get your application ready - deadline to apply is August 15

Other quick notes - it's June, which means we're just 4 months away from the 2017 Smart Kitchen Summit in Seattle. You've got until July 31 to get early bird tickets PLUS take 25% off of any ticket price using code SPRING.

Love The Spoon? Follow us on Twitter for the latest news.

Happy weekend!

Mike

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Analyzing the future of food, cooking & the kitchen.

In the 06/02/2017 edition:

Podcast: Robot, Meet Chatbot

By Michael Wolf on Jun 01, 2017 09:57 am
In this episode, Mike looks at Andy Rubin’s new smart home platform, Essential Home. Rubin believes he can eliminate all the friction and fragmentation consumers face today with all the various platforms by focusing on integration. He’s created a smart home platform that plans to play nice with other platforms and hopefully get us out […]
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Is Nest’s New Face Recognition Cam A Sign It’s Waking From Its Slumber?

By Michael Wolf on Jun 01, 2017 09:11 am
One of the great mysteries of the smart home world over the past few years has been the relative quiet of Nest, the one-time connected home star that burst onto the scene with the launch of its impressive Nest Learning Thermostat and, two years later, a smoke and carbon monoxide detector by the name of […]
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Calling All Startups: Apply To Pitch & Demo At 2017 Smart Kitchen Summit

By Ashley Daigneault on May 31, 2017 09:11 am
One of the best parts of attending the Smart Kitchen Summit is getting a front row seat to brand new technology and innovative products that are coming down the pipeline. The event’s startup showcase is now in its third year and invites all startups in the food tech and smart kitchen space to apply for […]
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Rubin: Essential Home Will Be The “Bridge” Between Competing Smart Home Ecosystems

By Michael Wolf on May 31, 2017 06:50 am
Last night Andy Rubin got on stage with Walt Mossberg at the Code Conference to discuss his new company. The two spent a good chunk of the conversation talking about the Essential Phone, but when they finally got to the Essential Home, they didn’t disappoint. I wrote yesterday about what we already knew about the […]
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IKEA Gets In The Startup Game With Bootcamp Accelerator

By Ashley Daigneault on May 30, 2017 12:51 pm
In the last several years, we’ve seen major home, tech and food brands reach out to the startup community in the form of VC funds and accelerators to try and harness the massive innovation taking place in their markets. From General Mills, Kellogg and Google, companies are looking at hot areas like food, agriculture and […]
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First Look At Essential Home, An AI-Powered Smart Home Platform From Andy Rubin

By Michael Wolf on May 30, 2017 11:21 am
Anyone who’s followed tech over the past decade knows what a huge role Andy Rubin has played in mobile computing. As one of the principals behind the Sidekick mobile device, co-creator of the Android operating system and the architect of Google’s mobile strategy, it’s not an exaggeration to say Rubin is one of a handful of people […]
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Meet Heston Bot, A Skype Bot That Helps You Figure Out What To Make For Dinner

By Sam Dean on May 29, 2017 01:45 pm
At the intersection of artificial intelligence (AI) and the future of food, the race is on to build the bot that truly hits the spot. From bots that “go where consumers are,” to chatbots that help you track food consumption, you can now interact with virtual personalities of many types. Microsoft, one of many companies […]
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The Weekly Spoon: Echo Show Is The New Kitchen Computer, The Microwave Turns 50 and Microsoft Unveils Echo Competitor

Amazon turned heads in the smart home market by dominating the space in 2016 with Alexa and has turned its sights to cameras. In a matter of weeks, the company has the Echo Show, the new Alexa-powered device with a touchscreen and built-in camera and Echo Look, the personal stylist with a selfie cam. But beyond adding cameras to our homes, what's Amazon up to?

We take a look at the implications of Echo Show as a kitchen computer, with touch, voice and video integrated to deliver powerful Alexa skills that compliment kitchen needs. Don't miss our full analysis on the Show's implications for the most popular room in the house.

Speaking of Echo, Microsoft finally unveiled their answer to Amazon and Google's voice AI devices in the form of a speaker partnership with Harman Kardon. Invoke, a smart speaker manufactured by the audio brand will feature Microsoft's voice AI platform Cortana and a native Skype integration. Check out our piece on Invoke and what to watch for next in the space.

Happy 50th Birthday Microwave! Did you know the most beloved and perhaps outdated kitchen appliance was middle-aged? Here's why it probably won't live to be 100 - and what is likely to replace it.

Have you picked up tickets to the Smart Kitchen Summit yet? Guess what - it's officially just FIVE months away. For now, you can get 25% off of any ticket price (including early bird!) using the code SPRING.

Use this link or apply the code at checkout on the SKS site.

If you tweet one link before the weekend, make it our subscribe link and share some Spoon goodness with your friends. 

Cheers!

Mike


In the 05/12/2017 edition:

PicoBrew Surpasses Anova To Become Top Food Kickstarter Campaign Of All Time

By Michael Wolf on May 12, 2017 07:43 am
With just one day to go, PicoBrew’s latest Kickstarter campaign surpassed Anova to become the top campaign of all time in the food category. The company’s Pico C campaign reached $1.812 million to eclipse Anova’s $1.811 million campaign for the Anova’s 2014 Precision Cooker campaign.  The company announced the milestone in a livestream update on the […]
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Entrepreneur Hopes To Transform Shanghai Into Food Startup Hub

By Ashley Daigneault on May 12, 2017 06:19 am
China’s middle class is changing and with that change comes emerging differences in the way their population consumes food. This week Fast Company introduced the new food tech accelerator, Bits x Bites – the first of its kind in China – and how it’s looking to help shape the nation’s food and agricultural systems. According […]
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Alchema Brews Up An IoT Approach to Home Fermentation

By Allen Weiner on May 10, 2017 06:08 am
The world has discovered hard cider. With annual sales skyrocketing and a continual parade of newcomers entering the market, cider is having its moment. The sudden popularity of this age-old alcoholic beverage is a convergence of three popular food trends–interest in fermented foods, understanding of probiotic’s health benefits and DIY driven by new technology. At […]
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Here’s Why The Echo Show Is Amazon’s Kitchen Computer

By Michael Wolf on May 09, 2017 09:45 pm
Two years after rumors first surfaced about a top secret Amazon project to develop a kitchen computer, today we may finally have a hint of what the company had in mind when rumors first surfaced in August 2015. Not that Amazon is calling the Echo Show a kitchen computer since, after all, the new device can […]
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Microsoft Unveils Echo Competitor Powered By Cortana

By Lauren Knope on May 09, 2017 02:43 pm
Microsoft is not necessarily a leader in the smart home these days, trailing Samsung, Apple and Google in platforms and hardware offerings and instead focusing on other core offerings. But as the Amazon Echo and then Google Home voice assistants jumped onto the scene, the tech world speculated about whether Apple and Microsoft would put […]
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Happy 50th Birthday, Microwave. Here’s Why You Won’t Make It To 100

By Michael Wolf on May 09, 2017 08:54 am
Happy 50th birthday, microwave oven. This year, the ubiquitous cooking box born out of an accidental discovery by a Ratheon military researcher has reached the half century mark, and as the last new cooking appliance category to become indispensable in nearly every American home, it’s certainly a milestone worth celebrating. However, there are signs that the fast-cook workhorse […]
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Google Hopes Investment in AgTech Bears Fruit

By Allen Weiner on May 06, 2017 08:39 am
Google and Apple together in an investment deal? Wait, it appears to be Google and apples—as in the fruit. GV (formerly known as Google Ventures) is among those leading an investment round for Abundant Robotics, a Hayward, Calif.-based company whose robotic apple-picking machine has gained a lot of interest from the agricultural and financial sectors. […]
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