An OnlyFans for Foodies, Bear Ships 5K Robots, The Golden Age of the Mini Dishwasher

Here’s the Spoon Weekly, a collection of some of the most interesting stories from the past week. Be sure to subscribe to get the best food tech news straight to your inbox.

Can food-centric streaming platform Kittch succeed where others have failed?

In 2016, I had a pitch about a successful entrepreneur launching a streaming site dedicated to foodies.

Steve Chen, the co-founder of Youtube, combined a love of food with his proven track record of creating online videos to launch a new site that “would allow anyone to direct, produce and host their own cooking show.” Called Name, the site debuted at SXSW on March 9, 2016 and went live for the general public a few days later.

Two years and $4.7 million in funding later, Nom closed its doors.

There have been other sites with similar locations since 2016, including YesChef, a “dedicated online cooking education platform” with award-winning James Beard chefs like Nancy Silverton to teach techniques and recipes. of the kitchen. Or World Chef, a “platform for foodies; a place where truly special chefs can share their extraordinary culinary experiences directly with their fans.

And then there was Fanwide’s searing pivot to a chef platform amid the pandemic, or GE’s attempt to create a video streaming platform for chefs called Chibo that has since shut down.

So you’ll have to forgive me when my first reaction to hearing the pitch from Kittch, a site Vanity Fair calls Onlyfans for Chefs, is one of skepticism.

You can read the full story here.


Consumer kitchen

The golden age of small dishwashers? Bob and Tetra start heading to a counter near you

Ever since we first stumbled upon the little dishwasher named Bob in the basement of the Sands Convention Center at CES 2019, we’ve wondered when the little guy will be coming to the States.

The answer is this year. Daan Technology, the French startup behind the Bob, began shipping the space-saving dishwasher to Europe in 2020 and had originally planned for the Bob to arrive in the United States the same year. While this Bob model has remained in Europe, an updated global version should finally start shipping this year.

The company launched a Kickstarter campaign this month and is offering bundles featuring Bob starting at $379 with an expected ship date of September 2022. For those who don’t want to buy through Kickstarter, I guess the company will start selling Bob by itself. website later this year.

Control options include a hose to connect the dishwasher to a tap (Bob also has a one-gallon water tank that can be manually filled) and a range of colored fronts. The Bob Premium also includes an interesting UV-C ultraviolet option that allows the user to sanitize items (like phones) that cannot get wet.

You can read the full message here.


Web3/Crypto

This farmer’s market vendor has been accepting Bitcoin for 5 years. Here’s how things changed.

In 2017, before much of the general public had thought about cryptocurrency, Alessandro Stortini started accepting bitcoin as a form of payment at the stand of his local farmer’s market, La Pasta.

Since then, virtual currencies have become mainstream as everyone from grandmothers to professional athletes have jumped into the world of crypto. In fact, from 2017 to 2022, the number of crypto wallets grew from less than 12 million to over 81 million in January 2022.

If you’re like me, you’d think that with almost seven times the number of cryptocurrency wallets, the number of people looking to spend their virtual currency to buy pasta at their local farmer’s market would have increased. This is not the case, according to Stortini.

“We had a lot more customers paying with bitcoins in 2017,” Stortini said.

Stortini told me the reason was that back then crypto owners were more willing to use it as a form of payment.

To read the full story, head over to The Spoon.


Emily Elyse Miller wants to reinvent breakfast cereals. That means vegan ingredients, edgy mascots, and (of course) NFTs

Emily Elyse Miller knows something about breakfast.

Not only did the former journalist and fashion trend forecaster write a book on the subject (with 380 recipes from 80 countries), but she also ran a consulting company that helped world-renowned chefs like Enrique Olvera develop breakfasts.

But after years of writing and teaching about the first meal, Miller realized that cereal, the centerpiece of the American breakfast for generations of children and adults, had gone stale. So she decided to start her own cereal company to reinvent the category.

Called OffLimits, Miller’s company has created a line of irreverent brands like Dash and Zombie, each with its own “moody mascot” and ingredient list.

Funky mascots were important to Miller because while she loved the rainbow-hued pop culture she grew up with in the cereal aisle, she felt it was time for something new. .

“Tony the tiger is not cool,” Miller said. “Grain is one of the only products that carries culture in this unique way, and that culture hasn’t been updated in decades.”

Read the full post on The Spoon.


Alternative protein

SuperMeat partners with Japanese food giant Ajinomoto to expand cultured meat production

SuperMeat, an Israel-based cell culture meat company, and Ajinomoto, a large Japanese food and biotechnology conglomerate, today announced the formation of a strategic partnership to “establish a commercially viable supply for the cultured meat industry”.

According to the announcement, the partnership, which will include Ajinomoto’s investment in SuperMeat, will combine SuperMeat’s expertise in cultured meat with Ajinomoto’s R&D technology and expertise in biotechnology and fermentation capabilities.

A key focus of the new partnership will be the development of cell culture media, the broth that contains the nutrients needed to grow animal cells, which remains one of the biggest overall cost drivers in creating cultured meat. According to a 2020 Good Food Institute study of cultured meat producers, 72% of respondents indicated that cell growth media accounted for more than 50% of their operating costs, and 38% said that cell growth media growth accounted for 80% or more of operating costs. By combining SuperMeat’s advances in cultured meat technology with Anjinomoto’s expertise in biomanufacturing, the two companies hope to reduce costs while increasing the supply of food-grade growth promoters.

You can read the full story on The Spoon.


Food robots

Meet Don Roverto, X’s robotic rover on the hunt for the next beanstalk to feed a starving planet

When you spend thirty years looking for a beanstalk, you’re open to a helping hand when trying to find the next one. For the Bioversity International Alliance and CIAT, that help came in the form of a traveling robot nicknamed Don Roverto.

The farmbot is part of Project Mineral, a company of X – Google’s famous research and development subsidiary that studies hard problems and searches for moonshots – to scale sustainable agriculture. In a blog post published today, project leader Elliott Grant describes how Mineral helped the Biodiversity Alliance and CIAT accelerate their work to understand and uncover the hidden characteristics of crops in the world’s largest bean collection. in the world.

From the post:

The Alliance team is using Mineral’s technologies in its new Future Seeds gene bank in Colombia, which contains over 36,000 bean varieties. The hope is that what the Alliance discovers with Mineral’s tools can be used to grow better beans for the world, faster.

According to Andy Jarvis, associate chief executive of the Alliance, the organization has spent decades building and analyzing its bean collection. Finally, after thirty years of research, they found a “magic” bean with intrinsic drought-resistant characteristics. With tools like Don Roverto, the organization can process its findings at lightning speed and find the next breakthrough bean faster than ever.

To read the full story, click here!


With 5,000 robots shipped, Bear Robotics raises $81M Series B to accelerate growth and expand into new markets

Today, restaurant robotics startup Bear Robotics announced it has raised $81 million in Series B funding. The round was led by IMM, with participation from Cleveland Avenue. The new funding brings the company’s total venture capital investment to $117 million.

Bear, co-founded by former ex-Googler and restaurateur John Ha, makes robot servers that help hospitality businesses do everything from food delivery to tables to bus tables. A few years ago, the company began testing its first robot, Penny, at Ha’s restaurant, the Kang Nam Tofu House in Milpitas, California. Since those beginnings, the company has shipped 5,000 robots, many of them last year.

The company has been on a roll lately, winning contracts with big names like Denny’s to Chili’s and a sports stadium or two. Bear’s biggest markets today are in South Korea and Japan, with the US rapidly catching up. With their new funding, the company plans to expand further into the United States, Europe and other Southeast Asian countries.

According to Bear COO and co-founder Juan Higueros, the volume they’ve seen over the past two years is the result of a concerted effort to ramp up mass production in 2020.

“It took us all of 2020 to do it,” Higueros told me via Zoom. “We really started to ramp up in the first quarter of 2020 in the United States. It has been growing at a good steady pace ever since and we expect the US market to continue to grow.

You can read the full article here.

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