Smart Kitchen Notes: Smart Kitchen Retail, Big Food Innovation, Food Delivery Robots

In This Edition...

  • The success of smart kitchen at retail
  • Charlie Kindel and Nathan Myhrvold coming to Smart Kitchen Summit
  • A conversation with the Food Lab's J. Kenji López-Alt
  • Big food's big bet on innovation
  • Anova's big Target win
  • Wired covers guided cooking
  • Dacor raises $
  • Food delivery robots from the founders of Skype

One of the biggest challenges for the connected home industry over the past few years has been figuring out how to sell at retail. The concept of the connected home and the value it delivers to consumers is not something easily communicated using traditional retail methods, which has meant disappointing sales for many of the early products in this category. 

This has led to a reexamination of by both retailers and manufacturers of the category and how to sell it.   Some retailers like Target have been actively trying to experiment with new retail formats, while startups like b8ta have tried to reinvent the entire concept of retail for a more modern age.

While this broader story of figuring out how to sell the smart home is ongoing and evolving story, there is a bright spot for retailers trying to sell products: smart kitchen.

While some of the growth in the smart kitchen is a result of emerging fast-growth cooking categories like sous vide, the growing interest in the category also appears to be a result of the fact consumers seem to simply understand kitchen products - even newer ones that are smart - more easily than more esoteric products like smart home hubs.

While some retailers like Staples are exiting early efforts to sell smart home products, others, like Target, Best Buy and Williams-Sonoma are doubling down on the connected kitchen. We talked to these retailers and have the full story here

Alexa, Cook Me A Meal

We're only three months away from the Smart Kitchen Summit, and we couldn't be more excited for the amazing line up of speakers we've assembled. One such speaker is Charlie Kindel, the person responsible for the smart home efforts for Amazon's Alexa platform, the voice control and interface technology that powers the Amazon Echo.  We can't wait to hear Charlie talk about how new interfaces such as voice control will change the way we buy, cook and interact around food.

We also are looking forward to hearing Nathan Myhrvold of Modernist Cuisine and The Cooking Lab discuss the state of cooking science and how that will shape the professional and consumer kitchen over the next decade. 

If you're interested in hearing Charlie, Nathan or any of our other amazing speakers at the Smart Kitchen Summit, make sure to take advantage of early bird pricing. You can buy early bird tickets through the end of July here

Hamburgers And Science

At last year's Summit, I was pretty excited to get a signed copy of The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science. And not only did Kenji Lopez sign it, he drew a pretty good hamburger:

We caught up with Kenji for this week's episode of the Smart Kitchen Show, which you can listen to or download here. Since last year, the Food Lab has gone on to win both a James Beard award as well as the best cookbook award from the International Association of Culinary Professionals, so if you missed your chance to get a copy signed (complete with hamburger) by Kenji, we've got your back since Kenji will be back at this year's summit (hint hint). 

Around The Kitchen

Big Food Going All In On Innovation: This week we learned of Nestle's expanded efforts to tap into the startup ecosystem around food with Henri@Nestlé. Read our write up here.

Anova Rolling Out to 1800 Target Stores: We discuss this in our piece on smart kitchen and retail, but it's worth calling this out on its own. Anova's year over year growth has been impressive, and the addition of Target will no doubt only contribute to the company's fast growth. 

Wired Covers Guided Cooking: Looks like others are noticing the trend of guided cooking we first discussed after Housewares Show. Joe Ray has a piece over at Wired discussing guided cooking, including a look at the Paragon and the Hestan Cue. 

Dacor Raises $13.5 Million: Premium kitchen appliance maker Dacor has raised money from private equity firm Lateral Investment Management. Dacor was one of the earliest oven makers to add connectivity and a compute platform (using a modified version of Android), so it will be interesting to see if the company continues to invest in the connected kitchen space with this new cash infusion.

The Robots Are Coming (And Are Bringing Delicious, Delicious Food): Bloomberg writes about food delivery robots. A couple of Skype cofounders started Starship to develop autonomous delivery robots and now are trialing their bots in 12 countries. 

That's it for this week. Please subscribe to our newsletter if you haven't to get analysis of the connected kitchen and foodtech in your inbox every week, as well as news about the Smart Kitchen Summit! Also, don't forget to get your early bird tickets for the Summit by the end of July.