The Weekly Spoon: eMeals teams up with Meredith Corp, HelloFresh acquires Green Chef & wine tech startup Kuvée shutters

With the meal kit market flooded with choices from big brands HelloFresh and Blue Apron to specialty offerings like Paleo on the Go, some companies are choosing to deliver other methods of meal prep convenience. One such company, eMeals, announced a partnership with Meredith Corporation this week to offer recipes from EatingWell, AllRecipes and Better Homes and Gardens on their meal planning app. 

eMeals give users the ability to browse and select recipes to create a meal plan or have the service select meals for you and add ingredients to your next grocery delivery. The founders of eMeals think of themselves as an alternative to meal kits and are trying to take the guesswork out of meal planning. The partnership with Meredith give eMeals more content to curate from - read the full story and takes from eMeals founder on The Spoon. 

It's the last week for early bird tickets for the Smart Kitchen Summit Europe - if you want even more of a discount, use code newsletter to get an additional 15% off. 

Speaking of meal kits, HelloFresh made news this week with the acquisition of Green Chef, a specialty meal kit competitor. The move will expand HelloFresh's offerings to include more organic, vegan and gluten-free menus. Check out the full announcement.

In the connected beverage space, wine tech startup Kuvée announced it was shutting down this week. Despite having raised $10 million to create smart wine dispensers, Kuvée CEO Vijay Manwani said the company would need even more funding to educate the market and succeed. But other wine tech companies are succeeding and Kuvée's problems may have stemmed from their "walled garden" approach to building an ecosystem. Kuvée essentially required the customer to buy wine bottled in their proprietary bottles as opposed to letting users use any bottles of their preference. 

Read my full analysis on the closure news on The Spoon. 

I also got to chat with Mike Lee, founder of The Future Market about the future of the grocery store and get his take on the space. Check it out here and add it to your weekend podcast playlist.

I just got back from an exciting event at the Target Open House on the personalized smart kitchen - it was a great discussion with several leaders in the connected kitchen and personalized nutrition space including Innit, Habit and Nima. We'll have the panel up on the podcast sometime next week! 
 
Have a great weekend - 

Mike

P.S. Want this weekly newsletter in your inbox? Subscribe here.

P.P.S. Join our slack community while you're at it. 


In the 03/23/2018 edition:

Former Uber CEO Lands in the Cloud Kitchen Market

By Allen Weiner on Mar 23, 2018 10:00 am
Former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick is playing a new game modeled after those HGTV shows, where teams of fortune hunters turn distressed properties into quick-sell gems. In the case of the newly formed City Storage Systems, the narrative differs in that these down-and-out chunks of real estates are empty or neglected strip malls and parking […]
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The Stone Notebook for Chefs is Water Proof and Grease Proof

By Chris Albrecht on Mar 23, 2018 07:00 am
Write in the kitchen without fear of smudges and spills.
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This Startup Is Using AI to Bring “Post-Organic” Farming to the (Urban) Masses

By Jennifer Marston on Mar 22, 2018 04:30 pm
New Jersey-based Bowery is on track to open the world's most technologically advanced indoor farm.
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Podcast: Reimagining The Grocery Store with The Future Market’s Mike Lee

By Michael Wolf on Mar 22, 2018 02:00 pm
Growing up in Detroit, Mike Lee loved going to auto shows. His favorite part was seeing the concept cars auto makers rolled out to help consumers envision the future. As he got older, Lee wondered why food companies never created similar concept products. Why not, after all, create the products of the future and show them […]
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Smarter CEO Christian Lane Coming To SKS Europe

By Catherine Lamb on Mar 22, 2018 10:34 am
At the age of 19, Christian Lane became the youngest person to ever pitch for investment on British TV’s Dragons’ Den, on which he won an investment from Dragon Theo Paphitis. Back then, Lane was pitching a foldable stationary product called Foldio, but nowadays he’s the CEO of a company building products to make the […]
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Can Celebrities (and Celebrity Chefs) Help Us Overcome The Insect “Ick” Factor?

By Catherine Lamb on Mar 22, 2018 06:00 am
We all know that we should be eating insects. After all, bugs are a dietary staple for billions of people around the globe, and they have a significantly lower environmental footprint than meat. But Americans are still having a tricky time getting over the “ick” factor that comes with munching on crawling critters. The concept is popular […]
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Kuvée, Maker of Connected Wine Dispensers, Is Shutting Down

By Michael Wolf on Mar 21, 2018 01:31 pm
Kuvée, a maker of connected wine dispensers, is shutting down. In an email sent to customers today, Kuvée CEO Vijay Manwani said the company, which had raised nearly $10 million in funding, would need to raise significantly more in order to educate the market and have a “louder voice”. Because of this, the company would be […]
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Knorr’s “Eat Your Feed” Delivers Instagram-Inspired Recipes… Sorta

By Catherine Lamb on Mar 21, 2018 05:00 am
Millennials everywhere can finally justify all those overhead photos they just had to snap (and then Instagram) before digging into their food. Knorr, the powdered soup and seasoning brand owned by Unilever, has developed an AI-powered tool which scans your Instagram feed and then recommends recipes based on your photos. Dubbed Eat Your Feed, the tool uses […]
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HelloFresh Acquires Green Chef to Bolster Meal Kit Menus

By Chris Albrecht on Mar 20, 2018 02:49 pm
Meal kit delivery company, HelloFresh, announced today that it has acquired Green Chef, which offers certified organic meal kits. The move will help diversify HelloFresh’s meal catalog with organic, vegan and gluten-free menus. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The acquisition comes at an interesting time for the entire meal kit by mail space. […]
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Reis & Irvy’s FroYo Robot Kiosk Hopes to Bring in Cool Profit for Grocery Stores

By Catherine Lamb on Mar 20, 2018 01:59 pm
We’ve seen robots in grocery stores before restocking shelves and packing products — but now, robots will be used for perhaps their most important task yet: dispensing frozen yogurt. Billed as “the world’s first robotic frozen yogurt vending kiosk,” Reis & Irvy launched in 2016 as a subsidiary franchise concept of Generation NEXT Franchise Brands. Starting this spring, […]
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The Weekly Spoon: Little Caesar's Pizza Robot, Guided Cooking @ Housewares, Join Us in San Francisco

Don't be surprised if the Little Caesar's notable "Pizza pizza" slogan is soon uttered by a robot. That's right - the pizza chain is the next fast food giant to look into using automation to improve efficiency and take away repetitive, simple tasks from human workers. The Spoon uncovered a new patent that Little Caesar's was issued "for what is described as an automated 'apparatus provided for assembling pizza,' which includes “a pizza sauce spreading station, a cheese spreading station and a pepperoni applying station." 

Read the full scoop from The Spoon's Catherine Lamb here.

The pizza chain isn't the first company in the fast casual restaurant space to employ automation and robotics in their back of house operations - Zume Pizza in California has robots that prepare the early parts of a pizza. But Little Caesar's pizza robot appears to be more sophisticated and can even finish the pizza prep process by adding toppings. This optimization is another example of food manufacturers and restaurants looking to technology to improve speed and lower price point in a space getting crowded with competition from meal delivery and quick food offerings. 

Do you have tickets to SKS Europe yet? We are just three months away from our first European smart kitchen event and we have a 15% off discount for our newsletter readers. Early bird ticket pricing ends in 2 weeks so don't wait too long.


I just got back from the International Housewares Show in Chicago last weekend where I led a series of talks on the smart home and tech implications for the housewares market. One of the themes that emerged at the 2017 Housewares event was guided cooking and this year the concept was everywhere. For the full rundown of guided and connected cooking offerings at the show, be sure to read my Housewares trend piece

It was a busy week for food and appliance news in general - media giant Hearst unveiled a visual guided recipe skill for the Amazon Echo ShowiCuisine showed off their platform to connect regular utensils and Weight Watchers will soon have meal kits on grocery store shelves.

Next week I'm heading to San Francisco to partner with Target in hosting an event on the personalized smart kitchen. The event is from 6-8 pm on 3/22 at the Target Open House in San Francisco.

We're going to have a discussion on the trend of personalization in food and the connected kitchen with Shireen Yates, CEO of Nima, Kathrin Nikolussi, VP with Habit and Kevin Brown, CEO of Innit.

The tickets are free but limited - if you're not busy next Thursday and you're in town, come by.

Happy St. Patty's Day!

Mike

P.S. Make sure to sign up for the Spoon Slack to network with other foodtech pros and get alerted about new Spoon stories.

In the 03/15/2018 edition:

Guided Cooking Trend Continues Momentum In 2018

By Michael Wolf on Mar 15, 2018 05:55 am
Two years ago at the Housewares Show in Chicago, I saw the emergence of a new trend called guided cooking. At the show, companies like Cuciniale, Oliso and Hestan Cue showed off early efforts to combine sensors, software, precision heating and content in an orchestrated experience that guides home cooks through the creation of a meal. As […]
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Byte’s Smart Fridge Is Upstaging the Vending Machine. That’s Great News for Offices

By Catherine Lamb on Mar 14, 2018 05:01 pm
It’s hard to get amped about the food options inside an office building. Unless you work for a Google-like company and get subsidized or free meals, you’re probably stuck with vending machines. And we all know Fig Newtons do not a healthy lunch make. Byte Foods, founded in 2015 by husband-wife team Lee and Megan […]
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Bone Broth’s $103M Funding Shows Food Supplements Are A Hot Industry

By Catherine Lamb on Mar 14, 2018 02:27 pm
How would you like to have your bone broth and drink it too? Ancient Nutrition, a company best known for its bone broth-based protein supplement powder, just snagged a $103 million investment. The funding round was led by private equity firm VMG partners along with Hillhouse Capital and Iconiq Capital. It also included participation from over 100 […]
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iCuisine Wants To Bring Smart Features To Everday Kitchen Utensils

By Michael Wolf on Mar 14, 2018 10:34 am
While it seems like there is a new connected countertop appliance announced every other week, the smart kitchen revolution has largely left everyday kitchen tools like spatulas, whisks and other cooking utensils behind. That’s where iCuisine‘s founder Luic Mucha hopes to change things. Mucha was at the Housewares show this week in Chicago showing off […]
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Scoop: Little Caesars Has a Patent for a Pizza-Making Robot

By Catherine Lamb on Mar 13, 2018 02:57 pm
It’s hard to fear the robot revolution when they come bearing pizza. Little Caesars is the latest fast food chain to get in on the robot action. The pizza chain was issued a patent today for what is described as an automated “apparatus provided for assembling pizza,” which includes “a pizza sauce spreading station, a cheese spreading […]
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Walmart’s New Patent Filings Look to Farming, Drones, and “Bee Robots”

By Jennifer Marston on Mar 13, 2018 01:00 pm
Not to be outdone by Amazon, Walmart has rolled out a series of updates to its grocery business recently, including a partnership between its Sam’s Club wing and Instacart, the acquisition of Parcel, and the recent announcement of its Eden technology, which could help save the giant retailer $2 billion in food waste costs over […]
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Weight Watchers Unveils In-Store Meal Kits—and Possibly a New Approach

By Catherine Lamb on Mar 13, 2018 10:14 am
Weight Watchers is trying to carve out a space in the meal kit market—they’re just skipping the whole delivery bit. Instead, the weight management company announced last week that it is working with California-based FreshRealm to get a line of healthy meal kits on grocery shelves. The launch, slated for the second half of this […]
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Aspire’s Acquisition of Insect-Protein Bar Maker Exo Gives Bugs a Boost

By Jennifer Marston on Mar 12, 2018 03:00 pm
Get ready for the rise of the cricket-powered protein market.
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Hearst Unveils Visual Guided Recipe Skill for Amazon Echo

By Catherine Lamb on Mar 12, 2018 11:51 am
Alexa, let’s have Pancetta Chicken for dinner. Last month, publisher Hearst expanded its Amazon Echo- and Spot-enabled Good Housekeeping skill to include connected recipes. Dubbed Good Housekeeping Test Kitchen, the skill provides simple “meal ideas” that can be thrown together in 30 minutes or less. The recipes will be curated by Susan Westmoreland, food director of Good […]
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Roundup: CPGs Are Exploring Foodtech Through Startup Incubators

By Jennifer Marston on Mar 10, 2018 04:00 am
CPGs look to emerging tech startups to keep up with changing consumer food preferences.
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The Weekly Spoon: Trends in AI and Flavor, deal with Hamilton Beach plus a mini road show!

Artificial Intelligence is creeping into almost every industry, especially restaurants, food manufacturing and even cooking. But one unexpected area where AI and machine learning are being used is in taste and flavor creation. This week, The Spoon's Catherine Lamb looks at five companies who are using AI-based algorithms and platforms to hack flavor and create new combinations of tastes. 

One interesting startup highlighted is dishq, a food AI company that's developing what they call "taste analytics as a service." Basically, they are using loads of different types of data to predict consumer taste preferences. In a world where algorithms are trying to predict what we want to listen to, watch or buy next, it's no surprise that companies would want to replicate predictive analytics to determine what people want to eat. 

Check out the piece on the new food tech trend of flavor and AI. 

We've talked at length on The Spoon about the challenges that smart kitchen startups face when building and delivering hardware. In a market where large appliance makers can just take the idea from a startup and replicate it at scale much faster, startups have to be nimble and look for strategic ways to compete and last. And Bartesian, the cocktail tech startup, has found one way to do that -  the company announced this week they will retain all IP and branding while handing over the bigger task of manufacturing and distributing their forthcoming countertop cocktail appliance to Hamilton Beach. 

The deal brings up an interesting discussion point - should startups look to larger companies to help them build and distribute their hardware as they scale up? It's hard to imagine how some of these companies compete against the giant appliance makers and if they want to retain their own brand and ownership, this type of partnership might make sense. Read our analysis at The Spoon for more details and some info from Bartesian co-founder Ryan Close.

Hitting the Road

We are leaving the office for the next few weeks and hope to see many of you at the International Housewares Show in Chicago this weekend. I'm hosting a series of smart talks in the IHA Smart Home Pavilion from Saturday to Monday on a variety of topics on how smart home tech is impacting the housewares industry. I'm also moderating a future kitchen keynote panel with Mike Wallace from Perfect Co, David Rabie of Tovala and Jon Jenkins of Hestan Cue on Sunday and giving a talk on the state of the connected kitchen in the innovation theater on Saturday. 

After Housewares, we are heading to San Francisco to partner with Target in hosting an event on the personalized smart kitchen. The event is from 6-8 pm on 3/22 at the Target Open House in SF and we'll have some smart kitchen product demos as well as a panel with Shireen Yates, CEO of Nima, Kathrin Nikolussi, VP with Habit and Kevin Brown, CEO of Innit on the move to personalize the connected kitchen. RSVP to grab your ticket now - seats are limited.

Hope to see you on the road!

Mike

P.S. Early bird tickets are still left for SKS Europe - but time's running out to get the discount - plus you can use code NEWSLETTER to get 15% off those prices. June's right around the corner, don't wait!


In the 03/08/2018 edition:

Augean Robotics’ Autonomous “Burro” Follows Farm Workers to Haul Stuff

By Chris Albrecht on Mar 08, 2018 11:00 am
As Augean Robotics Co-Founder and CEO Charles Andersen explains it, when you work on a farm, you do a lot of high dexterity activity—like picking fruit. But you also spend a lot of time just running stuff like harvested fruit or equipment back and forth. He should know: Anderson grew up on a 100-plus acre […]
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PicoBrew Ships The PicoStill, An Accessory To Make Hooch At Home

By Michael Wolf on Mar 08, 2018 06:35 am
Ever want to distill your own spirits? That job may have gotten a little easier, at least if you own a PicoBrew brewing appliance. That’s because the company announced they’ve started shipping the PicoStill, an add-on to the Pico brewing appliance that will convert beer into the hard stuff, to their Kickstarter backers. Here’s what I wrote […]
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Walmart Believes Its New Freshness Technology Can Reduce Food Waste

By Allen Weiner on Mar 08, 2018 06:00 am
  A crucial area for technology in the food world’s battle against waste zooms in on the ability to track the freshness of produce as it travels from farm to wholesaler to retailer to table. Keeping perishables out of the landfill requires more than a passing squeeze of a tomato or thumping of a watermelon […]
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VitaCup Scores a Dose of Funding for Its Vitamin-Infused Coffee

By Jennifer Marston on Mar 07, 2018 05:00 pm
The San Diego-based company looks to bring its Keurig-compatible cups to new markets.
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Walmart Issued Patent for Robot Shopping Cart

By Chris Albrecht on Mar 07, 2018 01:04 pm
Yesterday, U.S. Patent No. 9,908,760 B2 was awarded to Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. for “Shopping facility assistance systems, devices and methods to drive movable item containers.” Translation, robot shopping carts could be making their way to Walmart. The patent was filed two years ago for what looks like a Roomba underneath a shopping cart, which drives […]
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Services that Combine Flavor and AI Are a New Food Tech Trend

By Catherine Lamb on Mar 07, 2018 10:04 am
Artificial Intelligence is making its way into our food system in a big way. It’s on dairy farms monitoring milk quality, in restaurants powering food-running and burger-flipping robots, and even in the kitchen, walking you through a recipe in the guise of a voice assistant or chatbot. Lately, we’ve noticed AI playing another role in what we […]
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The “No Mess French Press” Just Broke the Record for Coffee Products on Kickstarter

By Jennifer Marston on Mar 07, 2018 05:09 am
The Rite Press has raised over $1 million in just two months.
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Bartesian Focuses on Drinks, Hands Manufacturing to Hamilton Beach

By Chris Albrecht on Mar 06, 2018 02:00 pm
Bartesian said today that it has signed a three-year deal to make Hamilton Beach the exclusive manufacturing and distribution partner of its forthcoming countertop cocktail making appliance. Bartesian co-founder Ryan Close told us by phone that this move will allow his company to focus on the drink making and development side of the business, while […]
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Ordermark Raises $3.1 Million to Simplify Restaurant Delivery Orders

By Chris Albrecht on Mar 06, 2018 12:35 pm
Canter’s Deli is a storied eating institution in Los Angeles, serving up delicious food since 1931. Alex Canter, the deli’s fourth-generation owner and operator, wanted to embrace the new customers restaurant delivery services like GrubHub and DoorDash could bring. But there was a problem. Though he successfully set up 14 different online ordering platforms at […]
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Flippy Clocks in at CaliBurger, Miso Robotics Makes Expansion Moves

By Chris Albrecht on Mar 06, 2018 08:53 am
Miso Robotics announced yesterday that Flippy, the burger cooking robot, is officially going to work at CaliBurger’s Pasadena location. Additionally, Miso announced that its robot kitchen assistants will soon be coming to sports and entertainment venues, thanks to the company’s partnership with sports and entertainment hospitality company Levy. According to the press announcement, Flippy will start […]
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SKS Heads to Europe in June 2018

SKS EU header image.PNG

Smart Kitchen Summit, the leading event and community focused on the future of food, cooking and the kitchen is expanding into Europe with its first-ever SKS EU on June 12, 2018 at the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin, Ireland. Entering its fourth year, SKS is a global event series that brings together powerhouse line-ups of startups, leaders and innovators across food, tech, design, commerce, appliances and housewares.

SKS EU will explore the impact that technology has on the entire food ecosystem: from where and how food is grown to the global problem of food waste to making cooking good food at home easier and more accessible and using data to hack personal nutrition. Led by The Spoon founder and NextMarket Insights chief analyst Michael Wolf, SKS was founded to examine the ways that innovation is shifting the food, cooking and kitchen space and provide discussion, demonstrations and analysis from leaders around the world.

SKS EU will explore a cross-section of themes including:

  • The digitization of the senses and the evolution towards hyper-personalized food and nutrition
  • Increased transparency across the food system using technologies such as blockchain
  • The Internet of Food and the move to corral data and intelligence from the things we eat
  • AI, machine learning and how it’s transforming the methods and tools we use to cook and prepare food
  •  The reinvention of the kitchen as a living and activity space within the home

The first-ever European smart kitchen and food tech event will bring together leaders from some of Europe’s biggest food brands, appliance manufacturers and some of the most innovative startups across the food and cooking marketplace.

Don’t miss the opportunity to get early bird tickets on sale now through February 2018. If you are interested in obtaining a press pass for the event, let us know! Send an email to ashley@castercomm.com for info.

For more information on 2018 SKS EU, visit www.smartkitchensummit.eu and to stay up to date on the latest additions to the agenda, follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

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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