The Weekly Spoon: Innit Buys Shopwell, Cooking With Facebook Bot, Panasonic's Smart Kitchen, Bonaverde Ships

A few years ago, I uninstalled Facebook on my phone because I was tired of the barrage of notifications that came with the social network app. After all, the social net was already doing all it could to distract me at my desk, so why would I need it distracting me while I was away from it?

But last night, Facebook found its way back onto my Android device in the form of Facebook Messenger. What was the reason to risk more distraction?

Cooking, (un?) naturally. 

In case you didn't know it, Facebook's Messenger bot is the underlying platform beneath ChefSteps' new conversational cooking bot. I had cooked with Alexa, an integration ChefSteps had announced last fall, but I wanted to see what it was look to use my social network to make steak. 

So, was the steak worth having Facebook on my phone? While it was definitely tasty, I'd say (for me at least), not quite yet. It's definitely early for Facebook cooking, and there are many instances where I'd rather just use the Joule app or Alexa. That said, I have to admit I was impressed with the ease and intuitiveness of use an AI bot as a cooking interface and can see it being useful once it matures through more exposure and learning from customers in the field.

You can read my write up of my Steak-by-Facebook experience here, as well as read more about how foodbots are becoming ever more important in the world of food.

And it's not just bots of the virtual variety that are becoming a bigger part of our lives. I caught up with the VP of technology for iRobot to talk about the evolution of home robots, including those in the kitchen, in our most recent episode of the Smart Home Show.

Also, big news last week on the smart kitchen front, with Innit buying Shopwell to extend their reach into grocery stores in an effort to create an end-to-end platform for food and cooking. Read the details here.

We have lots of other great stories at the Spoon, so make sure to check them out below. 

Also, we are getting lots of great speakers for Smart Kitchen Summit and will share them with you 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.


P.S I will be at SXSW in a few weeks on a panel about the Smart Kitchen. If you're going make sure to attend. If you'd like to connect while we are there, just DM me via Twitter and we can make arrangements.

In the 03/01/2017 edition:

BeeHex Gets $1 Million Investment To Create 3D Food Printer

By Michael Wolf on Mar 01, 2017 09:53 am
3D food printing has been one of those categories that has wowed folks at pop up restaurants and trade shows, but has yet to attract much in the way of investment dollars. Until now. That’s because BeeHex, a company created when CEO Anjan Contractor won a contract with NASA to develop a pizza printer for space, […]
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I Made Steak With Facebook Messenger. Here’s How It Went

By Michael Wolf on Mar 01, 2017 06:47 am
We know that over half of Echos end up in the kitchen, making Amazon’s voice assistant Alexa a natural interface to help us make food. But what about Facebook Messenger? While we don’t have exact numbers on how many use Facebook’s communication app while in the kitchen, with over a billion downloads of the app in […]
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Chatbots Utilize Advanced Technology to Bring Instant Grub Gratification

By Allen Weiner on Feb 28, 2017 08:49 am
Restaurants, supermarkets and even TV food networks are taking the concept of multichannel marketing to new heights. Using technology like Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Natural Language Processing (NLP), companies ranging from Food Network, Whole Foods, Pizza Hut to Wingstop are using social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook Messenger to connect with their customers. Chatbots, […]
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Panasonic To Debut Kitchen Concept For An Aging Population At SXSW

By Michael Wolf on Feb 28, 2017 05:56 am
Panasonic wowed folks at CES this year with their out-of-the-box thinking and futuristic concepts for the kitchen. Now, it looks like they might have more in store for SXSW. That’s because the Japanese consumer electronics conglomerate will be debuting a new kitchen concept designed for seniors at the interactive portion of this year’s big tech, culture […]
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Amazon & Hershey Company Both Experiment With The Future of Grocery Shopping

By Amy Cravens on Feb 27, 2017 05:00 am
Amazon’s done it again.  In their quest to revolutionize grocery procurement, Amazon is once more redefining the grocery experience with Amazon Go. Introduced late last year, Amazon Go is a new kind of grocery store that eliminates the check-out line.  Their “just walk out technology” lets shoppers simply put the goods in their bag and […]
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Full Transcript: Creating A Food Data Layer With Edamam’s Victor Penev

By Michael Wolf on Feb 25, 2017 11:52 am
  I recently caught up with Victor Penev, CEO of Edemam, about his company’s effort to create a data layer for the Internet of Food. You can hear that conversation on the Smart Kitchen Show podcast here, or you can read the full transcript of the conversation below. The conversation has been edited slightly for […]
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Smart Cooking Startup SmartyPans To Appear on CBS Innovation Nation

By Michael Wolf on Feb 24, 2017 12:40 pm
The sister-brother cofounders are appearing with Mo Rocca this weekend to show off their smartpan.
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Three Years After Kickstarter Success, Bonaverde Ships Roast-Grind-Brew Coffee Machine

By Michael Wolf on Feb 24, 2017 10:10 am
The do-everything coffee machine from Bonaverde is finally shipping over three years after Kickstarter success.
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Podcast: Here Come The Robots

By Michael Wolf on Feb 24, 2017 08:49 am
Is it time to get robot insurance? It just might be. One of my predictions for the smart home in 2017 was that robots would become an ever more important part of the smart home. While we aren’t quite upon the era of fully independent humanoid robots, there is no doubt we are beginning to […]
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Analysis: How Postmates Tackles the World of Urban Logistics for Restaurants and Beyond

By Allen Weiner on Feb 24, 2017 06:29 am
Since launching in late 2014, San Francisco-based Postmates has had its own grand vision. This plan includes disrupting the way products get from any restaurant or store to their ultimate destination. Competing in a SRO category, which includes UberEats, Amazon, Grubhub, and specialty delivery companies, such as Drizly, requires more than a fleet of drivers with […]
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