For this month’s top four feature, we’ve partnered with Pennywell to look at how integrated technology will change the future of preparing food at home.
Smart technology is an area that has exploded in recent years – from smart kettles and chopping boards to gadgets that will tell you when you’re low on food, and order some more for you. Smart appliances have gone from a $40 million industry in 2010 to over $9 billion today, and, according to forecasts, could reach a staggering $26 billion by 2019.
And by that time, these four smart concepts could be in homes around the world.
Leading the smart revolution is a new gang of connected fridges, which make consumers’ lives easier by allowing them to piece together a shopping list when they discover that they’re out of a certain food, and then do any number of clever things like sending that list to their smartphone to be used in store.
But upping the ante on smart fridges at this year’s CES in Las Vegas, MasterCard and Samsung announced a partnership which will let people buy groceries directly from their fridges. Samsung’s new Family Hub refrigerator comes with an internet-enabled screen that people can use to order their groceries through a MasterCard app. Users only need to save a debit or credit card to their fridges once, and groceries will then be delivered at a selected time by FreshDirect and the supermarket chain ShopRite.
Just like the smart fridge, a leading thread in the smart appliances market is that of technology that extends the kitchen beyond the home – whether that’s kettles you can boil from your bed, gadgets to check the contents of your fridge from the supermarket, or smoke alarms that keep you updated about the state of your home when you go away.
The Prep Pad from Orange Chef is a novel piece of kitchen tech that serves two main functions. First of all, it’s a smart weighing scale that instantly sends the measure of any ingredient placed on it to an iPhone and iPad app.
Second, it delivers an accurate breakdown of the calorie, fat, protein and carbohydrate content – so not only does it allow you to get the right portion size, it also ensures that you’re cooking a healthy meal.
It falls in line with a trendy series of smart gadgets that lets consumers easily and quickly measure the nutritious content of the food they’re cooking, which is popular among increasingly health-conscious consumers.
Urban cultivators and water recycling
According to Pennywell, concepts exist that could pave the way for automated hydroponic systems, allowing us to grow our own vegetables in the kitchen where we intend to cook them – a sort of herb tray that grows the plants for you. What’s more, conceptual designs exist for kitchens that conserve water; water from the sink could be saved and used for the washing machine, and water from the dishwasher fed into an urban cultivator.
Smart technologies make it easier for consumers to monitor their waste and use of valuable resources, like water and electricity. But turning these concepts into linked-up solutions that ease pressures on the environment – rather than just making our lives easier – will be a genuine challenge for the kitchen of the future.
Subscribe to FoodBev magazine this month for our feature on faster, smoother, more energy-saving conveyors – as well as the usual focus on current and future trends in the global food and beverage industry.
Cooking is one of the biggest aspects of life – inside or outside of the kitchen – where consumer electronics can add genuine worth and convenience to consumer’s lives. That’s why a series of ‘smart ovens’ that allow you to keep a close eye on your evening meal, even when you’re not at home, is setting the industry alight – not literally, of course.
In March, we reported on the innovative Tovala smart oven that can bake, broil, convection heat or steam cook ready-prepared meals in a matter of minutes. The handy gadget, which looks and functions in a similar way to microwave ovens, will be accompanied by a chef-curated meal plan to offer consumers an array of convenient dishes that perform well on taste and nutrition. And, tapping into the trend for online communities, users will be able to share their recipes and cooking combinations with each other through a specially designed app, which will increase the versatility of the Tovala oven and sweeten the appeal to consumers, who, like their technology, are getting smart to subscription-based business models.
Zoe Cunningham, managing director of Softwire Technology, said: “Within 10-20 years our kitchens will be so well integrated with the online world that we will find it hard to imagine how we coped when they were not connected.”
With this breadth of innovation, she’s probably not wrong.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2023