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 Did you know the most beloved and perhaps outdated kitchen appliance was middle-aged?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 […]
Read in browser »
 

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 […]
Read in browser »
 

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 […]
Read in browser »
 

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 […]
Read in browser »
 

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 […]
Read in browser »
 

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 […]
Read in browser »
 

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. […]
Read in browser »
 

Recent Articles:

Podcast: Here’s A Fresh, Hand-Squeezed Podcast For Your Enjoyment
Whirlpool Buys Yummly In Effort To Bolster Smart Kitchen Strategy
Flatev Extends Expert Tortilla Making to the Masses

The Weekly Spoon for 05/05/17 : Whirlpool Acquires Yummly: PicoBrew Seeks Kickstarter Record; Scripps Scoops Up Food Media Startup

This was the week of acquisitions in the smart kitchen and food media space, capped off by the news that appliance giant Whirlpool acquired food and recipe website Yummly

Whirlpool has spent the last several years working out a smart kitchen strategy, first partnering with food data platform startup Innit and then pivoting to pursue its own technology ecosystem. At CES, the company announced new interactive features to its connected appliances and Yummly's database of recipe content will certainly help make these offerings more robust. 

Interestingly, the Whirlpool/Yummly deal demonstrates how messy the early stage of a market can be, with various players shuffling around from Whirlpool, Innit, Yummly and previously acquired by Yummly startup Orange Chef. Our piece on the deal is worth a read.

Also not to be missed in this week's newsletter is more acquisition news: Scripps Network, owner of Food Network, Cooking Channel and HGTV, scooped up food media startup Spoon University

In other startup news, Smart Kitchen Summit 2016 Startup Showcase alum Flatev successfully raised over $130k to bring their artisanal tortilla maker to life and PicoBrew added another stretch goal to try and become the largest food Kickstarter in history.

Big things are ahead for the Smart Kitchen Summit - we're about to announce an amazing slate of speakers and partners for the 2017 event. (If you can't wait, take a sneak peek at the beginning of our rockstar lineup.) And - good news for our subscribers - in addition to our early bird ticket pricing, you can save even more by using code SPRING to get 25% off of any ticket price. 

Simply use this link which has the discount automatically applied, or go to the SKS17 website and use the code SPRING at checkout.


Do you rely on The Spoon for all your kitchen and food tech news? We'd love you to help us spread the word and forward to your friends to subscribe.  They (and you) can catch up on past issues here.

Happy Friday!

Mike

The Spoon

Analyzing the future of food, cooking & the kitchen.

In the 05/05/2017 edition:

Podcast: Here’s A Fresh, Hand-Squeezed Podcast For Your Enjoyment

By Michael Wolf on May 05, 2017 08:10 am
This week’s guest is Home:On’s Richard Gunther. Richard and I discuss the Bloomberg story about Juicero that showed you can bypass the company’s $400 juicer and squeeze the Juicero packs with your hands. We also talk about the ongoing story of Ring’s acquihire of Zonoff, the acquisition of iDevices by Hubbell, IKEA’s smart lights, and Samsung investment […]
Read in browser »
 

Whirlpool Buys Yummly In Effort To Bolster Smart Kitchen Strategy

By Michael Wolf on May 04, 2017 10:06 am
This week Whirlpool announced their intention to acquire Yummly, one of the Internet’s biggest food and recipe sites. The acquisition comes as part of Whirlpool’s effort to accelerate its development for the smart kitchen of the future. At CES this year, the company announced new cooking automation features for its lineup of smart appliances, including […]
Read in browser »
 

Flatev Extends Expert Tortilla Making to the Masses

By Allen Weiner on May 04, 2017 06:12 am
As food cultures blend into a culinary melting pot, staples such as savory tortillas have become a frequent fixture in homes, regardless of their heritage. A $4 billion business, tortillas are generally purchased at a supermarket, bakery or ethnic grocer as most home cooks lack the skill and equipment to create warm, soft pillows of […]
Read in browser »
 

Scripps Networks Buys Online Food Content Startup Spoon University

By Ashley Daigneault on May 03, 2017 02:36 pm
Scripps Network acquires online food content platform Spoon University for an undisclosed sum to push further into the digital media space.
Read in browser »
 

PicoBrew Adds PicoFerm In Effort To Become #1 Food Kickstarter

By Michael Wolf on May 02, 2017 07:45 am
Today PicoBrew announced a new stretch goal in an effort to become the #1 food Kickstarter campaign of all time.  The new goal features the PicoFerm, a web-connected fermentation monitor that lets brewers monitor the status of their fermenting beer. The reigning food champ is Anova, which has held the top spot ever since its highly successful Kickstarter […]
Read in browser »
 

Wanna Sous Vide Some Bacon? Smart Kitchen Data Shows You’ll Do It On Saturday

By Michael Wolf on May 01, 2017 10:38 am
I don’t know about you, but Sunday evening dinner at my house usually means something simple like sloppy Joes, tacos or even the occasional brinner. But not everyone mails it in when it comes to the end of the weekend meal. According to data gathered by ChefSteps, which recently reached the milestone of a million meals cooked by users of their […]
Read in browser »
 

Is Meal Kit Delivery Finally Turning The Corner on Profitability?

By Amy Cravens on May 01, 2017 09:38 am
If you were ask someone like Fabian Siegel, meal kits are the future of consumer food buying. According to the founder of Marley Spoon, “Supermarkets will be replaced. Amazon will take care of the pantry; meal kit delivery services will take care of the what we are cooking tonight.” Ignore for a moment that Siegel is most […]
Read in browser »
 
Recent Articles:

Podcast: Nomiku’s Lisa Fetterman Talks New Hardware, Meal Kits & Samsung Investment
Podcast: Imagining A Food Self-Sufficient Village Of The Future
Ok Google, What’s For Dinner?

 

The Weekly Spoon for 04/28/17 : Samsung Invests In Nomiku, Uber For Home Cooking, Juicero's Tough Week

2017 is turning out to be a big year for connected cooking startups.

Just two months after Electrolux scooped up Anova, Nomiku announced this week that Samsung Ventures had invested in the sous vide startup. 

For Nomiku, the news was part of a bigger announcement that included a new immersion circulator and a meal delivery service featuring frozen, fast-cook meals tailored specifically for the new Nomiku circulator.

It's an interesting move by the company on a number of fronts. First of all it gives Nomiku a recurring revenue stream and marks their entry into food delivery.

I think it's also a possible signal of the future direction for meal delivery services. While Nomiku rolled their own offering, I expect other food delivery players to start partnering with connected cooking hardware makers to provided simplified, guided cooking experiences as a value-add. 

In this week's newsletter we also look at why Juicero became an Internet meme last week (not in a good way), and cover recent moves by the California legislature that could open the door for "Uber for home cooking" startups in the state. 

Make sure to also check out our most recent podcast with Lisa Fetterman where we talk about this week's Nomiku news. We also hear from James Ehrlich, who is trying to create a world with self-sustaining, regenerative homes and neighborhoods that produce their own food. 

If you haven't already purchased your ticket to Smart Kitchen Summit, good news: Not only can you take advantage of  Early Bird tickets right now, you can also use our limited time special discount code SPRING to get 25% off of any ticket price. Simply use this link which has the discount automatically applied, or go to the SKS17 website and use the code SPRING at checkout.

Also, a request: If you're a loyal reader of this newsletter, make sure to share and suggest your friends and coworkers subscribe.  They (and you) can catch up on past issues here.

Have a great weekend.

Mike

Updates from

The Spoon

Analyzing the future of food, cooking & the kitchen.

In the 04/28/2017 edition:

Podcast: Nomiku’s Lisa Fetterman Talks New Hardware, Meal Kits & Samsung Investment

By Michael Wolf on Apr 28, 2017 09:57 am
It was a big week for Lisa Fetterman, who not only was named top 30 under 30 by Inc. magazine, but her company also happened to drop the news of new hardware, a new meal delivery service and, to top it all off, an investment by Samsung Ventures. I caught up with Lisa the day before […]
Read in browser »
 

Podcast: Imagining A Food Self-Sufficient Village Of The Future

By Michael Wolf on Apr 27, 2017 09:49 am
When we think about the smart home, most of us think about what is doable today. But what will new homes and neighborhoods look like twenty five, fifty, hundred years from now as we face a world of dwindling resources?
Read in browser »
 

Ok Google, What’s For Dinner?

By Lauren Knope on Apr 27, 2017 09:22 am
When Google Home first arrived on the scene, Mike and Ashley speculated on the Smart Kitchen Show about how it would stack up against Amazon Echo. Amazon’s big entrance into the smart home, Echo came with convenient functions like timers, grocery lists, playing on-demand streaming music and radio services and eventually included recipe skills. It […]
Read in browser »
 

California Health Committee Approves Homemade Food Act, Further Opening Door For Cottage Food Platforms

By Michael Wolf on Apr 26, 2017 10:43 am
Yesterday I wrote about a piece of legislation before the California Assembly’s Health Committee, the “2017 Homemade Food Act (AB 626)”. After yesterday’s vote, it looks like California may be on its way to allowing entrepreneurial home cooks to start selling their food to neighbors, opening the door to “Uber for Home Cooking” platforms like […]
Read in browser »
 

Why Did The Internet Hate On Juicero?

By Michael Wolf on Apr 26, 2017 06:53 am
The Internet can be a cruel place. That’s especially true when you or your company becomes the subject of a widely shared article where everyone piles on and has some fun at your expense. That’s exactly what happened last week to Juicero, maker of a connected juicer, when Bloomberg posted an article entitled Silicon Valley’s $400 Juicer […]
Read in browser »
 

With Investment In Nomiku, Samsung Expands Presence In The “Connected Kitchen”

By Michael Wolf on Apr 26, 2017 12:01 am
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 […]
Read in browser »
 

Josephine Looks To Change Cottage Food Laws In Effort To Expand Home Cooking Marketplace

By Michael Wolf on Apr 25, 2017 10:50 am
Today’s a big day for Josephine, the startup behind the ‘cottage food’ sharing platform and marketplace that enable home cooks to sell food to their neighbors. That’s because today is the day a bill is being considered by the Health Committee of the California state legislature called the 2017 CA Homemade Food Operations Act (edit: […]
Read in browser »
 

MasterCard Sees Bot Applications As A Way To “Go Where Consumers Are”

By Ashley Daigneault on Apr 24, 2017 02:16 pm
We know the potential for the chatbot interface to be one of the defining stories of connected living in 2017 is there. Mike has covered the variety of ways that “social messaging chatbots” will impact the smart home and of course, the smart kitchen. MasterCard isn’t new to the smart home game – you might […]
Read in browser »
 

Newcomers Try to Innovate and Deliver on the Lucrative Baby-Food Market

By Allen Weiner on Apr 24, 2017 06:11 am
Baby food is big business. While it might not be an industry ripe for innovation, several startups feel they have the magic formula to grab marketshare and mindshare. One of the latest to enter the fray is Little Spoon, a San Francisco baby food manufacturer and delivery company in its early “invite” stage.  The company […]
Read in browser »
 

We Use 50 Billion Water Bottles Per Year. Here’s An Edible Container That Can Stop The Insanity

By Lauren Knope on Apr 21, 2017 10:30 am
It’s hard to deny that the food industry is experiencing lots of disruption from startups around the globe who are trying to solve the market’s tough problems. Things like delivery, supply chain, sustainability, waste and sourcing are all on the minds of startups like Skipping Rocks Lab. The particular problem they’re trying to tackle? The […]
Read in browser »

The Weekly Spoon for 04/17/17 : Meet The PicoStill, Home Distilling 2017, Language For The Internet of Food

In our last newsletter, I wrote about how PicoBrew had just broke the record for the fastest funded food project of all time. 

Turns out, they were just getting started.

Since then, the company has announced Pico users will soon be able to make kombucha. If that wasn't enough, the company also announced the PicoStill, an add-on to the Pico brewing appliance that will allow a user to make essential oils and, if they're so inclined, whiskey or other spirits in the comfort of their own home.

Of course, making spirits at home is still illegal at the federal level in the US and could be for some time. As I wrote in this piece on the state of home distilling in 2017, there has been an effort in recent years to craft legislation to make home distilling legal, but the outlook for such efforts has become murky under the Trump administration. 

That said, home distilling is practiced by what is likely hundreds of thousands of people in US today and PicoBrew hopes to expand that market even more by giving consumers an easy way to get started.

We've got lots of other great stories this week, including a look at the newly renamed Chowbotics and their salad making robot (named Sally, of course), Grubhub's effort to survive against deep pocketed competition, a newly hot foodtech investment landscape and more. 

Make sure to also check out our most recent podcast where I talk to Dr. Matthew Lange about how an experience as a young medical intern set him on his course to help define a common language for the Internet of Food. 

Also, remember: If you missed out on our March 31st deadline for Super Early Bird tickets for the Smart Kitchen Summit, don't worry: we still have some great deals. You can get Early Bird tickets and when you apply our discount code NEWSLETTER to get 15% off of any ticket price. Simply use this link which has the discount automatically applied, or go to the SKS17 website and use the code NEWSLETTER at checkout.

If you're a loyal reader of this newsletter, make sure to share and suggest your friends and coworkers subscribe.  They (and you) can catch up on past issues here.

Have a great week.

Mike

Analyzing the future of food, cooking & the kitchen.

In the 04/17/2017 edition:

PicoBrew Announces PicoStill, A Home Still That Makes Whiskey (And Oh Yeah, Essential Oils)

By Michael Wolf on Apr 17, 2017 06:02 am
One of the worst kept secrets in craft distilling is nearly every whiskey maker gets their start making the good stuff at home. One only has to look at the many home stills for sale online to see there’s a strong market for home distillation equipment. Everything from big vats for making moonshine to smaller copper pot […]
Read in browser »
 

The Robots Are Coming, And They’re Bringing Salads

By Ashley Daigneault on Apr 17, 2017 05:00 am
The restaurant salad bar is often a mixed bag – sometimes it’s great, other times the ingredients are sad, with wilted lettuce and less-than-fresh cucumbers side-by-side. And sometimes the salad options at traditionally fast food chains are just downright sad. That’s where Sally comes in. She’s the robot from Chowbotics Inc., a robotics and AI […]
Read in browser »
 

PicoBrew Expands Beyond Beer By Adding Kombucha To The Menu

By Allen Weiner on Apr 15, 2017 06:49 am
Once the domain of hippies and diehard health foodies, kombucha is making a major impact on the world of ready-to-drink beverages. It is made with a simple fermentation process that uses tea, sugar, water and a gelatinous mushroom-like culture called a scoby. One global research firm estimates the fizzy, probiotic drink will hit close to […]
Read in browser »
 

Can You Make Hooch At Home? Not Yet. Here’s The State Of Home Distilling in 2017

By Michael Wolf on Apr 14, 2017 08:55 am
If you want to create your own booze, I have good news for you: With home distilling kits widely available online and an abundance of of information about how to make liquor through books and websites, it’s easier than ever to make hooch at home. But there’s still one problem for all you aspiring Jasper Newton Daniels […]
Read in browser »
 

Grubhub’s Future Clouded by Big-Monied Competition

By Allen Weiner on Apr 14, 2017 05:13 am
Once the darling of the restaurant-to-home delivery business, Grubhub’s TV commercial tagline “click, click, food,” may be in danger of becoming an internet relic.  With the explosive growth of well-heeled competition in this market space, there is increased skepticism from Wall Street and investors. Despite its current lofty standing, in which the Chicago-based company works […]
Read in browser »
 

The Future Of How (And What) We Eat

By Ashley Daigneault on Apr 13, 2017 09:22 am
Could technology change the way we eat?
Read in browser »
 

Podcast: Creating A Common Language For The Internet of Food

By Michael Wolf on Apr 13, 2017 06:30 am
A traumatic early experience as a young medical intern set Dr. Matthew Lange on a career course to change the way the world thinks about nutrition. He realized early on that medical community had it backward: by focusing on treatment of people sick from years of poor eating habits rather than helping people to better […]
Read in browser »
 

Freshub Partners With Big Data To Make Smart Kitchen Shopping Easier

By Ashley Daigneault on Apr 13, 2017 06:10 am
Freshub announces a partnership with IRI to create a recommendation engine for appliances and devices with in-home and digital grocery shopping platforms.
Read in browser »
 

Reheated: Q1 2017 Shows Food & Beverage Investment Is Hot Once Again

By Amy Cravens on Apr 12, 2017 09:35 am
Food and beverage are hot again. After a sluggish 2016, a strong first quarter of 2017 suggests investment in the food and beverage sector could be set for a comeback on an annualized basis according to CB Insights.  This would be a reversal from the past couple years, which has seen food and beverage sector investment decelerate […]
Read in browser »
 

Here’s The Most Exciting New Coffee Tech Of 2017

By Michael Wolf on Apr 11, 2017 02:04 pm
Ready for a jolt of innovation with your morning caffeine fix? Good thing, because 2017 looks like it could serve up a double shot of disruptive coffee technology. Due to a combination of emerging taste trends, technologies, and good timing, 2017 is shaping up to be an exciting year in the world of coffee. Here are the products that […]
Read in browser »

 

The Weekly Spoon for 04/05/17 : PicoBrew Breaks Kickstarter Record, Mellow Gets New CEO, A Conversation with Crowd Cow

If crowdfunding is a science, then there's no doubt that PicoBrew has a PhD in the subject. 

That's because the company launched their latest Kickstarter campaign this week and managed to break the record for the fastest funded food project in Kickstarter history. The record breaking campaign is for the Pico C, the company's latest home beer brewing appliance, which early backers could buy starting at $279 this past Monday. 

I've followed a lot of hardware crowdfunding campaigns and believe there is a recipe for success. One of the key factors is creating lots of interesting pledge options and rolling them out over the course of the campaign. This is something PicoBrew has proved masterful at in the past, so I'm sure we'll see some new enticements later in the campaign.  

Another is offering good value compared to full retail price. At $279, there's no doubt this campaign provided a compelling reason for the homebrew curious among us but didn't want to take a flyer on an $800 home brew machine (the retail price of the first generation Pico). 

Lastly, success begets success. Having done three of these, the company has checked this box. This success has allowed the company to build a big community that continues to grow and support them in each successive campaign. 

We've got the news about the campaign so make sure to check it out

Speaking of crowdfunding, I invited Crowd Cow CEO Ethan Lowry onto the podcast to hear more about the company's crowdfunding for meat platform. If last month's interview with Ethan had you asking more questions about cattle crowdfunding, hopefully this podcast will provide the answers.

There are lots more stories in this week's newsletter, including a CEO change at Mellow, a look at how some companies are trying to reduce the number of kitchen fires and what Samsung's new AI platform Bixby means for the smart kitchen.

If you missed out on our March 31st deadline for Super Early Bird tickets for the Smart Kitchen Summit, don't worry: we still have some great deals. You can get Early Bird tickets and when you apply our discount code NEWSLETTER to get 15% off of any ticket price. Simply use this link which has the discount automatically applied, or go to the SKS17 website and use the code NEWSLETTER at checkout.

If you're a loyal reader of this newsletter, make sure to share and suggest your friends and coworkers subscribe.  They (and you) can catch up on past issues here.

Talk to you next week.

Mike

The Spoon

Analyzing the future of food, cooking & the kitchen.

In the 04/05/2017 edition:

 

Podcast: Tipping Cows With Crowd Cow’s Ethan Lowry

By Michael Wolf on Apr 05, 2017 10:28 am
Here’s one thing you probably haven’t tried: crowdfunding a cow. But now you can with Seattle area startup Crowd Cow. The brainchild of former Urban Spoon cofounder Ethan Lowry, Crowd Cow lets backers buy their choice of meat by crowdfunding local farm raised cattle one cow at a time. In this episode, I talk to Ethan about how he […]
Read in browser »
 

PicoBrew Breaks Kickstarter Record In Food Category

By Michael Wolf on Apr 05, 2017 09:36 am
You do this crowdfunding thing for a while, you start to get the hang of it. Especially when you’re a company like PicoBrew, which has had three successful previous campaigns for its beer brewing appliance products. According to a statement made by the company, this time around they reached their target funding goal in just seven […]
Read in browser »
 

Sous Vide Startup Mellow Gets New CEO, On Track To Ship This May

By Michael Wolf on Apr 05, 2017 07:05 am
The Spoon has learned that Mellow, a startup that has gained attention for development of a hybrid sous vide appliance with unique features such as a built-in refrigeration and a scale, has a new CEO. Long-time supply chain executive Gary Itenson, who served as the company’s COO for the past year, has stepped into the top spot […]
Read in browser »
 

Cooking Is The Number One Cause of Home Fires; Innohome Wants To Change That

By Michael Wolf on Apr 04, 2017 04:38 pm
If a house catches fire, there’s a good chance the culprit is a cooking device. In fact, according to the National Fire Protection Association, nearly half of all home structure fires – 46% – are started by some type of cooking equipment, and while more people die from fires started from cigarettes (stop smoking in bed, people), […]
Read in browser »
 

Dutch Grocery Delivery Service Picnic Cuts out the Middleman and Possible Profits

By Allen Weiner on Apr 04, 2017 08:16 am
All eyes are on Amsterdam-based grocery-delivery startup Picnic, fresh out of a 100 million euro ($123.5 million dollars) investment from a number of Dutch firms which will allow them to fund a national rollout of their service. The Hague, the third largest city in the Netherlands, will be the newest marquee name added to the […]
Read in browser »
 

A Look At The New Machine Washable Pico C Keg

By Michael Wolf on Apr 03, 2017 10:59 am
This morning I wrote about PicoBrew’s new Kickstarter campaign and their new lower-priced Pico C homebrew appliance (starting at $279). While much of the focus for PicoBrew in this most recent product launch was reaching a more affordable price for new brewers, the company also focused on making the process of home brewing a little easier. […]
Read in browser »
 

PicoBrew Debuts All-You-Can-Brew Subscriptions With New Lower-Priced HomeBrew Appliance

By Michael Wolf on Apr 03, 2017 06:00 am
Today PicoBrew announced the latest addition to their connected homebrew appliance lineup, the Pico C, in a newly launched Kickstarter campaign. Alongside the lower-priced entry, the company also is debuting BrewUnlimited, an all-you-can-brew subscription service for $59 a month. The newest Pico is a cost-reduced version of the Pico S, the original Pico model. By offering their […]
Read in browser »
 

The Cubit Is A Modern Tape Measure That Makes Home Design A Drag & Drop Experience

By Michael Wolf on Apr 02, 2017 06:44 am
Hanging pictures or measuring for simple home decorating tasks can be arduous. Not only is it time consuming to get things exactly right using that pencil and old school tape measure, it’s also hard to visualize how things will look until you have that picture hanging on the wall, which often means there’s a hole or two […]
Read in browser »
 

Believe It Or Not, We Now Have A Connected Salt Shaker

By Michael Wolf on Apr 01, 2017 11:01 am
Like many people motivated to create products, Bipan Singh found inspiration in words spoken by his child. And just what were the magic words that turned this health executive into a connected home entrepreneur? “Daddy, you’re putting too much salt” said Singh. When Singh heard those words from his daughter as she complained about the scrambled eggs he had made her, he […]
Read in browser »
 

What Does Samsung’s Bixby Mean For The Smart Kitchen?

By Lauren Knope on Apr 01, 2017 06:58 am
If you follow any tech news, you’ve seen announcements in the past week coming out of Samsung around their Galaxy S8 launch. One of the most intriguing parts of the Samsung event was the news around Bixby, Samsung’s AI assistant and answer to Siri, Cortana and Google Assistant. In some ways, it competes with the […]
Read in browser »

The Weekly Spoon: Housewares Edition - Interviews with Behmor, Somabar, PantryChic, GeniCan, SoBro & More

After walking the floor at last year's Housewares Show in Chicago, I became excited. I was convinced that this industry - like most consumer industries - will witness significant change over the next decade as disruptive new technology ushers in new business models, services and a wave of creative new products. And, based on what I saw on the show floor and heard in my conversations, it felt like we were only in the first or second inning of this shift.

I soon talked to the folks at The International Housewares Association, the industry that produces the International Home and Housewares Show, and shared some ideas for helping them highlight these technologies and to better drive the conversation. Fast forward a year later, and the Housewares Show unveiled new smart home pavilion which I had helped plan and put together. I also worked on programming for the show, which included a talk on the smart kitchen and the keynote panel focused on the disruptive nature of smart home technologies. 

The keynote panel turned out really well; I'd suggest anyone interested in better understanding how these technologies will change your business going forward, have a look. For those who are audio-oriented, stay tuned: we'll also be publishing the audio next few days.

While there I also took advantage of the opportunity to catch up with many of the startups I read and write about to see their products. You can check out a number of those video interviews and articles below, including catch ups with SproutsIO, Somabar, PantryChic, Behmor, Dash Company and more. 

As for Smart Kitchen Summit business, an important reminder: One more week to get Super Early Bird pricing on tickets!  After March 31st, ticket prices go up from $895 to $1,095. Combined with our discount code for newsletter subscribers, if you hurry you can get your SKS17 tix for less than $700!  You can use this link which has the discount automatically applied, or simply go to the SKS17 website and use the code NEWSLETTER at checkout.

As always: if you're enjoying this newsletter, make sure to share and suggest your friends and coworkers subscribe.  They (and you) can catch up on past issues here.

Talk to you next week.

Mike

Smart Home Tech Will Disrupt The Housewares Industry. Discuss.

By Michael Wolf on Mar 24, 2017 06:48 am
After walking the show floor at last year’s Housewares Show in Chicago, I became pretty excited. As with most consumer industries, I’m convinced the housewares industry will witness significant change over the next decade as disruptive new technology ushers in new business models, services and creative new products that will reshape the entire space.  Based on what I saw […]
Read in browser »
 

After Years Of Development, PantryChic Smart Dispense System Nears Production

By Michael Wolf on Mar 23, 2017 10:02 am
Like many parents, I encourage my kids to get into the kitchen to try their hand at baking cookies, cupcakes or other pastries every now and then. While the benefits of raising young cooks far exceeds any downsides, one of the few complaints I have about my kids’ culinary exploration is the mess of ingredient bags and measuring […]
Read in browser »
 

Forget The Fridge: GeniCan Moves Shopping List Smarts To The Garbage Can

By Michael Wolf on Mar 23, 2017 06:26 am
One of the main selling points of a connected refrigerator is it allows a consumer to keep track of their food, manage shopping lists and even order groceries from the fridge itself. But here’s the problem: continuously updating inventory and shopping via your fridge requires a significant behavior change on the part of consumers. Whether […]
Read in browser »
 

Starbucks Announces In-Car Voice Ordering On Ford SYNC Via Amazon’s Alexa

By Ashley Daigneault on Mar 23, 2017 05:12 am
Starbucks unveils its partnership with Amazon and Ford to bring in-car voice ordering via Alexa.
Read in browser »
 

The Story of RJ Batts, Fourteen Year Old Inventor Of The Tip Tough

By Michael Wolf on Mar 22, 2017 09:41 am
Not all kitchen innovation has to be high-tech to have a great story. In fact, the tale of fourteen-year-old inventor RJ Batts is one of the cooler stories I heard this week at the Housewares show in Chicago. Standing at his booth among rows of other makers and creators more than twice or thrice his age, RJ told me how his […]
Read in browser »
 

Martha Stewart + Amazon Partner To Bring You Dinner Tonight

By Ashley Daigneault on Mar 22, 2017 05:56 am
The best part about meal kits is that they take away the need to meal plan and decide what’s for dinner. Each week, a box arrives at your door and gives you 3-5 preplanned dinners with exactly the right ingredients to prepare and cook each. The worst part? The amount of planning it requires to […]
Read in browser »
 

The Company Behind PancakeBot Brings Us A Crazy Connected Coffee Table

By Michael Wolf on Mar 21, 2017 11:32 am
First they helped take pancake making next-level with the PancakeBot, a pancake robot that helps the cook go beyond those Mickey Mouse and Death Star cakes you made for your kids into the world of pancake selfies. And now, StoreBound, a home product innovation company founded by longtime housewares executive Evan Dash (a recent guest on the Smart […]
Read in browser »
 

When Food Producers Borrow Techniques From Breweries

By Ashley Daigneault on Mar 21, 2017 10:49 am
The future of food discussion is often focused on ways to make popular food products and ingredients in a sustainable and healthier way. The road to meeting the demand for more natural foods is filled with constraints; a supply chain that can’t always deliver natural ingredients and prices that consumers don’t always want to pay. That’s […]
Read in browser »
 

Amidst Coffee Makers & Cookware, SproutsIO Talks Personal Produce At Housewares

By Michael Wolf on Mar 21, 2017 05:35 am
Amidst the coffee makers, cookware and bartenderbots in Chicago this week at the International Home and Housewares Show, SproutsIO stood out as the one and only maker of a connected microgarden. The SproutsIO microgarden, which allows an individual to grow vegetables in their home without soil or sunlight, is headed to market this year after a successful […]
Read in browser »
 

Housewares 2017: Somabar Pushes Robo-Bartender Into Production

By Michael Wolf on Mar 20, 2017 05:19 am
Somabar has started shipping production units of its robot bartender to beta testers.
Read in browser »

The Weekly Spoon for 03/16/17 : 3D Printed Food & Millennials, Vitamix's IoT Evolution, Whirlpool's Connected Microwave

Just a short note today before I head on out to Chicago for the big Housewares Show. 

I definitely had a blast at SXSW, where I got to eat at Franlkin BBQ, meet Chef José Andrés, moderate a fun panel on the future of the kitchen and cooking, and see Panasonic's cool future-kitchen concepts first hand.

If you're going to be in Chicago, I'll be spending much of my time at the Smart Home Pavilion. I'll also be moderating the keynote panel on the smart home and smart kitchen and giving a talk on how the kitchen will be reinvented over the next decade. 

Stop by, say hi and email me if you have any news or products you want me to check out. 

As always, we have great pieces below to catch you up on what's happening in the world of foodtech and the smart kitchen, including a look at how chatbots could be the story of 2017, Whirlpool's new connected (and camera-less) microwave oven, Vitamix's IoT evolution, a look at who is curious about 3D printed food and more. 

Just a reminder on Smart Kitchen Summit: March 31st is the final day for super early bird tickets. You'll want to scoop your's up while they last, and you can do so with a discount code for newsletter readers.You can use this link which has the discount automatically applied, or simply go to the SKS17 website and use the code NEWSLETTER at checkout.

As always: if you're enjoying this newsletter, make sure to share and suggest your friends and coworkers subscribe.  They (and you) can catch up on past issues here.

Talk to you next week.

Mike

In the 03/16/2017 edition:

Whirlpool Is Launching A Connected Microwave (And No, It Doesn’t Have A Camera)

By Michael Wolf on Mar 15, 2017 11:26 am
It won't spy on you, but you'll be able to talk to it with Alexa.
Read in browser »
 

Why The Chatbot Interface Might Just Be The Smart Home Story of 2017

By Michael Wolf on Mar 15, 2017 06:16 am
Voice interfaces are so 2016. Not that Alexa and Google’s voice assistant won’t grow a bunch more in 2017, they will. But the reality is the smart home continues to evolve at a rapid clip, and one of the early trends I’ve noticed for 2017 is the emergence of the social messaging chatbot as a natural language […]
Read in browser »
 

Turning Text Messages Into Machine Language For The Smart Home

By Lauren Knope on Mar 15, 2017 04:51 am
There’s a new race in the smart home – it’s not about who will control your home but rather how. The introduction of voice assistant devices Amazon Echo and Google Home have definitely changed the conversation and the market for how we interact with the tech inside our homes. But if speaking commands to things […]
Read in browser »
 

Want To Eat Like A Star Quarterback? There’s A Meal Kit For That

By Lauren Knope on Mar 14, 2017 09:10 am
Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in general usually elicit one of two reactions: complete fanboy love or abject hatred. But if you’re in the love fan group or you’re just someone who wants to follow the diet plan of a superstar athlete, then meal kit delivery service Purple Carrot has a new product […]
Read in browser »
 

Who Is Interested in 3D Food Printing? Young People, That’s Who

By Michael Wolf on Mar 13, 2017 11:56 am
3D food printing is still one of those futuristic technologies that most people have yet to experience and many think sounds kinda weird, but with more investment dollars flowing into startups to help us print our food, there’s a good chance many of us might just eat ‘printed’ food in the next few years. We decided to […]
Read in browser »
 

Vitamix’s Ascent Series Is Focused on Using IoT to Create Memorable Kitchen Experiences

By Allen Weiner on Mar 13, 2017 06:29 am
As the premier name in high-performance kitchen blenders, Cleveland-based Vitamix has consistently shown its ability to stay close to and understand its customer base. The company was among the first to use television infomercials to illustrate its benefits. Much of Vitamix’s brand persona is linked to healthy lifestyles as demonstrated in their series of raw, […]
Read in browser »
 

Alcohol Brands Turning to Chatbots for Creative Marketing

By Amy Cravens on Mar 11, 2017 09:13 am
It seems chatbots are popping up everywhere in the food and beverage industry, and now they’re finding their way to the liquor cabinet. Chatbots are applications that combine Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Natural Language Processing (NLP) to simulate human conversation.  They are an innovative way for marketers to reach out to target audiences and to support purchases. As […]
Read in browser »
 

The Food Delivery Boom Comes At A Price

By Ashley Daigneault on Mar 10, 2017 07:16 am
Food delivery startups have been all the rage, dominating food tech investment for the last several years. In what has become an extremely crowded market, there are signs that the market is shifting, with companies like Square reportedly looking to sell off its food delivery business Caviar and competitors like Postmates struggling to raise more […]
Read in browser »
 

Sudden Coffee Looks to Disrupt A $9.9 Billion Market

By Ashley Daigneault on Mar 10, 2017 05:44 am
Instant coffee is not a celebrated food item. It’s cheap and convenient but that’s where the accolades end – which made a perfect challenge for entrepreneurs Kalle Freese and Joshua Zloof to tackle with their new startup. Sudden Coffee launched with the mission to find new ways and technologies that could make instant coffee better. Why? […]
Read in browser »

The Weekly Spoon: Why Whirlpool & Innit Split Up, Juicero/Whole Foods, Virtual Sommeliers

Austin and Chicago, here we come. 

I'll be headed out to SXSW this week to check out the growing foodtech presence and to moderate the only smart kitchen panel at the festival.  The panel, called "The Smart Kitchen: Cooking Better with Technology", will be this Saturday. I'll be joined onstage by Vivian Barad of IDEO and LIsa Fetterman of Nomiku. You can find out more details about that session here.

After that, I'll be heading to Chicago for five busy days at the Housewares show. I'll be giving a talk on the future of the kitchen as well as moderating a keynote panel in the giant Grand Ballroom.  

If you are going to be at either event and want to connect, drop me a line

As usual, we've got some must-reads this week, including a look at why Innit and Whirlpool called it quits, Juicero's Whole Foods rollout, a Q&A with the CEO of cow crowdfunding site Crowd Cow and more. Also make sure to check out my conversation with StoreBound CEO Evan Dash to hear us talk about innovation in the kitchen. You can read all of those stories below. 

And oh yeah: Did I tell you that the Smart Kitchen Summit was named one of the best IoT conferences by Inc Magazine? Well we were, so check it out

Speaking of SKS, we are talking to lots of great folks and can't wait to announce our first round of speakers soon. As a newsletter subscriber, you can use the discount code NEWSLETTER to get 15% off of tickets for SKS17. Now is a great time to buy since we are offering heavily discounted tickets for our Super Early Bird tickets. You can use this link which has the discount automatically applied, or simply go to the SKS17 website and use the code NEWSLETTER at checkout.

Lastly: if you're enjoying this newsletter, make sure to share and suggest your friends and coworkers subscribe.  They (and you) can catch up on past issues here.

Talk to you next week.

Mike

In the 03/09/2017 edition:

You Can Now Drink Juicero Juice At Whole Foods For $5 A Pop

By Michael Wolf on Mar 09, 2017 07:10 am
If four hundred bucks is still a little steep for you get into the Juicero business, don’t worry: if you live in southern California, you can now head down to the local Whole Foods and throw down some Green Zing for five bucks a glass. The two companies announced this week that Juicero cold-pressed juice […]
Read in browser »
 

PancakeBots To Cold Brew: Exploring Kitchen Innovation With StoreBound’s Evan Dash (Podcast)

By Michael Wolf on Mar 09, 2017 04:59 am
After spending the first part of his career as a retail executive, Evan Dash decided he wanted to be an entrepreneur and help bring innovative new products to the same store shelves he felt lacked new and interesting ideas. That’s exactly what he’s done with StoreBound, Dash’s product innovation company that discovered the PancakeBot and is […]
Read in browser »
 

Q&A With Crowd Cow’s Ethan Lowry

By Michael Wolf on Mar 08, 2017 08:37 am
Used to be if you wanted to buy meat directly from a farmer without a middleman, you’d have to go find a farmer to sell you a side of beef.  The only problem is, not many of us have a giant freezer to hold hundred of pounds of meat let alone time to drive out and […]
Read in browser »
 

Xiaomi Adds Coffee Maker To Its Mi Home Lineup

By Ashley Daigneault on Mar 08, 2017 06:22 am
Xiaomi, the Chinese manufacturer known best for its global smartphone production, is getting further into home appliances with the introduction of a Keurig-like coffee maker. The company announced a crowdfunding campaign for the Scishare Coffee Maker on its platform (funded within hours) to bring a coffee maker with Italian-sourced pump and coffee extraction technology. The machine […]
Read in browser »
 

DoorDash Adds a B2B View to the On-Demand Home Delivery Market

By Allen Weiner on Mar 07, 2017 09:37 am
DoorDash’s latest TV spot shows a family relaxing in their San Francisco Victorian home when they are suddenly alerted that dinner has arrived. As a micro sized red car pulls up, dad jumps out of his chair, daughter pushes over her toy tea set and Rover makes a beeline for the door. Mom answers the […]
Read in browser »
 

Ember Is The $150 Coffee Mug You Never Knew You Needed

By Ashley Daigneault on Mar 07, 2017 06:58 am
Every year, a host of new “smart” products launch into the connected ecosphere. We’ve seen connected vibrating pants (yes really) and Wi-Fi diapers and smart water bottles – where does it end? Throwing connectivity into all of our things has led to some pretty dumb “smart” stuff. But then there’s Ember. I have to admit, […]
Read in browser »
 

Analysis: Why Did Whirlpool & Innit Call It Quits?

By Michael Wolf on Mar 06, 2017 02:35 pm
Last week, news broke that Whirlpool and Innit’s partnership to build connected kitchen products has come to an end. While the news came as a surprise to some, the fact that Whirlpool made a big smart kitchen splash at CES this year without any mention of Innit had us wondering last January about the status […]
Read in browser »
 

Wine and AI: A Perfect Pairing of Technology and Tradition

By Amy Cravens on Mar 06, 2017 08:53 am
If you have trouble figuring out what is the best wine to pair with tonight’s dinner, a new wave of AI powered virtual sommeliers may be of service.
Read in browser »
 

Full Transcript: Talking VR, Virtual Eating & Smart Design With Google’s Basheer Tome

By Michael Wolf on Mar 03, 2017 06:52 am
The full transcript of our conversation about VR and food with Google's head of design for VR hardware.
Read in browser »