Why Technology Is the One Ingredient You Should Always Keep in the Kitchen
Business Solutions Mediaplanet sat down with Michael Wolf, Founder of the Smart Kitchen Summit & Chief Analyst at NextMarket Insights, to discuss how technology can be integrated into cooking.
What are the best areas in the kitchen that technology can be applied?
Michael Wolf: We’ve seen technology transforming everything from how we cook our food to where we shop and how we get our groceries and everything in between. There’s a big shift right now in cooking technology; the move to create products that allow for home chefs to easily utilize precision cooking techniques only previously used in professional kitchens can be seen in the mainstreaming of sous-vide to the ramp up of RF technology.
Technology such as voice-powered AI assistants and more intelligence built into our appliances is changing how we order and source our food as well. With on-demand delivery, grocery ordering and subscription services creeping into the mainstream, procuring food for our meals looks very different than ten or twenty years ago.
How can smart technology in the kitchen bring families together?
The most exciting concept behind technology in the kitchen is one that makes cooking a better and easier experience and meets people where they are. For some, tech can turn cooking from a frustrating endeavor with poor results to an enjoyable one that ends with something delicious for dinner. I think making the experience better for people can help them spend more time with their families and do more of what they want to be doing at home. The same goes for food ordering and overall better management of our food – if meal planning and prep is faster and less confusing, the consumer gets back more time.
There’s an effort to make cooking fun again as well and we see that in recipe communities that are popping up and in the huge increase in digital food content and how popular that has become in the last five years. People want to learn how to cook good food at home and social media and the digital revolution has made eating at home a shareable experience.
What is the number one benefit of turning a kitchen into a connected kitchen?
There are probably three big benefits to tech in the kitchen – quality, convenience and enjoyment. The future smart kitchen needs to reflect a level of customization and convenience for each individual home; tech can make cooking easier and faster but still procure a better product than using older methods but it can also help enthusiasts experiment more at home and enhance their expertise as a home chef. The needs of a busy working parent might be quite different than those of a new-to-the-workforce millennial, and there are innovators out there looking to create environments and devices that work best across those various audiences and needs.
Where do you see the future of the connected kitchen moving towards?
More personalization and customization and more professional and commercial cooking technologies moving downstream and becoming more affordable to put into consumer homes. Technology will help our nutrition and food be more personal, our cooking tools more precise and agile and our options for sourcing foods at home that meet our needs will be varied and include healthier choices. Long term, there is interesting research in private and university labs that will result in the ability to easier create food at the point of consumption that could have a transformative impact on developing markets.
We are at the beginning of a large-scale transformation around how we discover, buy, store and cook food in our kitchens. Technology and business model transformation will result in more personalized and sustainable creation of food, while also creating opportunities for food, appliance and cooking companies to meet consumers needs in both mature and emerging markets.