The evolution of how we eat has brought us to a place where there are fewer limits to what is prepared in your home (or delivered to it). We've come a long way from the time when health or gourmet food was not available to most of society. Now with the help of the "Internet of Things," going healthy is just a click or tap away.
When it comes to food delivery, there are many options. Companies such as Radish and EatWith are changing the way we experience high quality food with minimal effort or finances. GoRadish delivers to your door, while EatWith lets you eat at other peoples' homes. Grubhub and Eat24 offer speedy food delivery from restaurants in most major American cities. Other delivery services appearing in the health and gourmet food space are Epic and Foodoro. Fast-growing Sprig and Munchery are also delivering organic, locally-sourced food and are the darlings of Silicon Valley investors.
IoT in Your Kitchen
There's much more to this evolution in how we eat than who delivers the food to us. The Internet of Things (IoT) has maneuvered itself into the kitchen. According to Parks Associates, more than 17 percent of US homeowners are planning on buying a smart kitchen appliance this coming year. With the help of technology, we are now able to enjoy feasting at a higher level in the comfort of our own homes.
Take for example the trendy sous-vide cooking style, a precise temperature control method of cooking food, once only used in top Michelin restaurants. It is now available for home use.
"Cooking's been the same for 50 years. We invented the microwave, started killing ourselves with frozen crap, and then we stopped innovating. That's ridiculous. Americans are back in the kitchen: a lot more people have started cooking in the last decade than in the years before. The organic food movement woke people up everywhere, and now it's possible to eat well on the cheap," says Zé Pinto Ferreira, the CEO and co-founder of Mellow, a sous-vide home cooker that connects to your smartphone.
The more technology reshapes our relationship with food, the more anyone will be able to go gourmet. In the last few years we have seen more smart appliances that are connected via mobile apps in our homes. IoT solutions have been developed for the stove. Home brewing systems are appearing. Technology also enables us to conserve energy when we make food, thereby reducing waste. The desire to save energy as well as eat healthy food has led to more than 80 percent of customers claiming they would be happy to pay for such devices.
Here are some examples of how IoT is changing the way we cook and eat, one appliance at a time.
Do you ever wonder why it's so important to get quantities of ingredients right? It can make or break a dish. IoT tech has helped make sure our dishes end up tasting good and that we are not eating too many calories. Smart scales such as SITU or the Orange Chef let you weigh your food in both nutrients and calories, giving you better control of what food goes in your mouth. This is especially helpful for diet-conscious American consumers.
Whether you are looking to make the perfect salmon, or want to cook impressive meals more easily, there are many options. The aforementioned Mellow is a machine that lets you cook "sous-vide" food in watertight bags placed in temperature-controlled water. The machine can be accessed through a mobile app, which you can connect to whether you are at home, work or even out jogging. If you're more into frying, Pantelligent has created a smart frying pan that can optimize your cooking time through hidden sensors at the bottom of the pan.
After smart cooking, you will need smart storing devices. Samsung has manufactured a smart refrigerator with an embedded camera that takes pictures every time the door closes. It can also monitor for leakages, or alert you when your food is going off. It was unveiled at this year's CES and has a release date for May. Smaller smart containers, like SkeLabs, are also being developed, that let you learn more about the products you're storing in the pantry.
So if you're a foodie, a chef, or just know someone who is, it's time to take notice. In 2016 you are increasingly likely to run into one of these appliances in someone's home. Maybe you'll even find a use for one yourself.