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  • Photo du rédacteurOmbeline Choupin

How tech will revolutionize the way we eat - Part 1/3

Optimizing the meeting of offer and demand in the food industry

Written for Entrepreneur Handbook in September 2013

There have recently been whispers in the Silicon Valley about a new tech trend; a really weird one for those who are unaware of what it implies. I am talking about the Great Alliance between Food and Tech.

Strange, you might say. Well, perhaps you have heard about some technologies that are trying to change the concept of food altogether: Soylent[i] offers a vegan-liquid-all-you-have-to-eat-to-survive futuristic drink. Beyond Meat[ii] provides organic-recomposed-tastes-like-meat-but-is-better-for-you chicken.

Nutritional problems aside, these products are pretty cool when you think of solving world hunger or organizing a journey in space.

But what about you, busy person of the twenty-first century who still wants to eat something tasty and solid for lunch (om nom nom)?

When looking for food, most people have a simple equation to solve: they want to reduce the time they spend seeking for or making food, but they still want it to be healthy and tasty. On the offer side, many restaurants, chefs or food lovers with free cooking time on their hands want better ways to target their customers.

That’s the first problem tech is trying to solve in the food industry.

In many ways, it has started doing so.

First, tech is revolutionizing the food delivery system. In the U.S., startups like Munchery[iii] or Chefler[iv] are allowing anyone to get meals prepared by great chefs for a very reasonable price. Chefler’s subscription model makes it very easy for individuals or families to stop worrying about what they’re going to eat the next day. The data collected on customers’ preferences can also be analyzed to better adapt their offer to what customers like.

Second, some startups are helping people cook easily on a daily basis. D.I.Y cooking kits are very trendy. Global Grub[v] in the U.S., as well as Cookit[vi] in France, delivers carefully weighed ingredients with very simple recipes to allow their users to eat a chef-like meal. All of those can be ordered online. You get the rewarding feeling of cooking something yourself, without wasting any extra ingredients and spending time thinking about what you’re going to make.

Third, social media can allow more and more foodies to sell their preparations to anyone. What if you’re a stay-at-home mom and you want to take advantage of your cooking time to make a little money? By using social media’s payment APIs, you can start a business from your laptop. Or you can transform your home into a restaurant and find customers depending on their location, which is what Traveling Spoon[vii], the ‘Airbnb for food’, does. The California homemade food law recently made it easier for anyone: for now, only some categories of ‘safe’ homemade products can be sold, but the law could extend the list. As for the rest of the U.S., 34 states allow the sale of homemade food under certain criteria (mostly, where the ingredients come from). In Europe, conditions are simpler, and young startup Cookisto[viii] has established itself as a sales intermediary between stay-at-home amateur cooks and their customers.

The first step on food revolution is on its way. Geeks, designers and foodies of the world, ally!

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