The Weekly Spoon for February 22nd: Flavor as a Technology, ChefSteps Meat Marketplace, KitchenBowl/ABC, FeedMe

We publish a weekly newsletter at The Spoon. You can subscribe here and see back-issues here. Starting this week, we will also begin publishing the weekly newsletter here on the SKS blog. 

One thing I've learned about having a conference about innovation in food and cooking is that you learn a whole lot just by talking to people who come to your event.

One of those people is Mikel Cirkus. I met Mikel at the startup showcase the first night of SKS 2016, and when he told me he travelled the world to keep on top of global flavor trends for Firmenich, the world's largest privately own flavor and fragrance company, I thought that sounded like maybe the coolest job ever created.

The more I talked to Mikel, the more I became fascinated with the idea of how technology is impacting flavor trends around the world. 

A few things became evident pretty quickly based on these conversations:

  • Flavor trends are accelerating with modern technology. What may be an inventive treat created by someone in a mom and pop shop in Dublin could be next year's global flavor trend as ideas and flavors travel at lightning speed
  • New technologies in the home are going to unlock new ways to create and enhance flavors. New cooking, delivery and food creation technologies are going to offer new opportunities for packaged food, food delivery and fresh food companies in the home to create exciting new flavors in their products.
  • Lastly, flavor is in many ways a form of technology. Just as communication or transportation is a technology that has witnessed large advances over the past many decades, we're in an era where science is advancing the technology of taste to create newer flavors faster and faster. 

I sat down with Mikel and R. Matthew Walter to discuss this new world of taste in the most recent episode of the Smart Kitchen Show.  I learned a whole lot and hope you do too. 

We have lots of other great new stories at The Spoon, including ChefSteps' new effort to create an online marketplace to connect consumers with cattle ranchers, the story of KitchenBowl's acquisition by cooking studio giant ABC, the new food delivery aggregator FeedMe and much more. 

Also, remember 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.

Talk to you next week.


P.S. If someone forwarded this newsletter, why don't you subscribe yourself to get the once-a-week must-read update on the future of food, cooking & the kitchen?

Updates from

The Spoon

Analyzing the future of food, cooking & the kitchen.

In the 02/22/2017 edition:

Former HBO and Porch Execs Create FeedMe, An Aggregator For Food Delivery

By Ashley Daigneault on Feb 22, 2017 06:48 am
Jason Allen is no stranger to the concept of “website-aggregator” as a business model. As the former CTO of, Allen was hired in 2014 to help the home professional marketplace pair its service of helping homeowners find people to help them with work around the house with Houzz-like portfolios to show off what’s possible in […]
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Podcast: Is Flavor a Technology?

By Michael Wolf on Feb 21, 2017 12:58 pm
Is flavor a technology. Yes.
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June Adds Multiple Pairing As More Kitchen Devices Get Over The Air Updates

By Michael Wolf on Feb 21, 2017 06:30 am
As kitchen devices become more connected, over-the-air updates will become more commonplace.
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Why Amazon Needs Automation To Drive Retail Profit

By Ashley Daigneault on Feb 21, 2017 05:39 am
Amazon is one of the biggest retailers in the world, with total value at the end of 2016 surpassing the value of other U.S. retail giants like Wal-Mart, Kohl’s, Target, Sears, Macy’s and Nordstrom’s combined. So at $355.9 billion market value, it’s a little surprising to see Amazon continue to post slim profit margins on its […]
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A Bittersweet Ending And New Beginning For KitchenBowl’s Waliany

By Michael Wolf on Feb 20, 2017 10:46 am
Last fall when I reached out to KitchenBowl founder Ryan Waliany about speaking at the Smart Kitchen Summit, he told me he was in the process of acquisition talks for his company, and because of the likelihood that he would be in the middle at the deal at the time, he would have to decline. […]
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Does The Shape Of Your Spoon Impact Taste? Apparently, Yes.

By Ashley Daigneault on Feb 20, 2017 08:17 am
Learn how two researchers are using innovative design concepts - and a spoon - to change our perception of a food's taste.
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ChefSteps Working On Marketplace To Connect Cattle Ranchers With Consumers

By Michael Wolf on Feb 20, 2017 04:00 am
Just last week, ChefSteps announced the rollout of a new Facebook Messenger bot to assist users of its Joule sous vide cooker in the process of making a meal. This just a few months after adding an Alexa skill for the Joule, and we know from conversations with the company they have plans to create a platform that […]
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Inirv Retrofit Kitchen Kickstarter Surpasses Goal

By Ashley Daigneault on Feb 17, 2017 05:49 am
The 2016 Smart Kitchen Summit’s startup showcase was home to many exciting new companies showing off connected and high-tech devices for kitchens of the future. One of those companies, Inirv, had a safety system designed for stoves that highlighted the importance of retrofit solutions in the smart home. While many are building connectivity and smarts […]
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IoT Innovator Smallhold Sees Minifarms as Big Business

By Allen Weiner on Feb 17, 2017 05:48 am
Believe it or not, those mushrooms you had in your go-to restaurant’s nightly pasta special were grown in the back, between the walk-in fridge and the spice cabinet. Home grow systems are the buzz, keeping in mind that not everyone is blessed with a green thumb or the time and energy to maintain an indoor […]
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Research: People Prefer Grocery Stores To Automated Delivery…For Now

By Amy Cravens on Feb 16, 2017 05:00 am
You know those time when you’re standing at the fridge,  pulling out the things to prepare dinner, and realize you’re missing a key ingredient? Frustrating, right? But here’s the thing: nowadays all this could have been avoided with a little planning and the automated delivery services now available. And make no mistake: grocery delivery services […]
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