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!


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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