This is Smart Kitchen Notes, our weekly newsletter with news and analysis about the connected kitchen and the Smart Kitchen Summit. If you were forwarded this email and enjoy our content, do yourself and us a favor and subscribe!
In This Edition...
- Mozilla's smart kitchen bot
- Alexa, make me a drink
- Alchema hopes to create a new generation of home cider makers
- Foodtech investment may be reallocating slightly towards connected kitchen
- Podcast: From the White House to smart kitchen with Sam Kass
If you've ever wanted to fuse technology with a love of alcohol, now is a great time to be alive. That's because whether you're looking to brew home cider or just ask Alexa how to make a drink, you now have options.
This week we look at both of these scenarios: First, we talk to Alchema CEO Oscar Chang about the company's two-year journey to make a connected cider maker, and we also look at Patrón's effort to modernize itself with a digital recipe platform and Alexa integration.
We also discovered this week that Mozilla, the maker of the Firefox browser, is busy working on a smart kitchen service platform, and look at how foodtech investment is shifting slightly from a mix dominated almost entirely by food delivery to one with at least a few pinches of the connected kitchen.
We also had a conversation with Innit's chief consumer experience officer Sam Kass, who went from being Barack Obama's chef in the white house to helping steer the direction of the connected kitchen startup.
There are only a few more days to get early bird tickets, so if you were planning on coming to the Summit, you will want to act fast.
Lastly, if you are a foodtech or smart kitchen startup and want to get in front of the biggest buyers in the world, apply for our startup showcase. Entry is free, and if you win, you get a complimentary table at our opening reception and two tickets to the Summit.
Now, on to the news...
The Mozilla Foundation, the non-profit organization in charge of running the open-source Mozilla Project, is working on a smart kitchen bot that would help you decide what to make for dinner, Smart Kitchen Summit has learned. The project, which is part of the Mozilla connected devices project and launched in June of this year, could ultimately result in a software system that utilizes sensor technology such as RFID or image recognition and artificial intelligence that accounts for dietary preferences, current kitchen food inventory and other factors to help a person coordinate and cook meals. Read More
If you look at the foodtech investment landscape over the past few years, you'll notice one - and pretty much only one - investment theme: food delivery.
Yep, the vast majority of foodtech investment, as tracked by investment tracking firm CB Insights, goes to food delivery startups. As can be seen in the chart below, all but 6% of foodtech venture funding in 2013 went to delivery and, while the percentage of non-delivery foodtech investment almost doubled in 2014 to 11%, it tanked in 2015 with a paltry total of $93 million (less than 2%) of investment. Read More
One of the more interesting long-term trends in foodtech is watching food and drink brands transition to the connected world. Whether it's launching their digital platform or working with large digital native players like Amazon to integrate with their platforms, many consumer packaged good brands are busy reinventing themselves for the world of IoT and connected commerce.
And it's not just giant food conglomerates like Campbell Soup or Nestle getting in on the action, but focused brands as well like Patrón. Patrón, which has helped popularize and reinvent the image of tequila in the US market as a more trendy and premium drink over the past decade, is now jumping into the world of digital with its Patrón Cocktail Lab, a digital cocktail recipe platform. The cocktail lab comes with an Alexa voice integration kicker, which will allow the user to ask Alexa for drink recipes.
If you've been itching to make your own alcohol - but don't like beer and aren't quite ready to go full hillbilly - Alchema might have a solution for you: cider. The company is making a machine which makes small batches of home cider using nothing else besides store bought fruit and a company-provided fermentation pack. Just this week, Alchema launched a new Kickstarter campaign allowing early backers to get in on the home cider maker - which is expected to ship in July of 2017 - for well below the anticipated $499 retail price.
How does one go from being an aspiring baseball player to being the personal chef of the President to working in the smart kitchen space? That's something only Sam Kass could tell us.
Until next week - Michael Wolf