Forget the news about robots, 5G and augmented reality from this year’s SXSW event. They’re all great of course, undeniably important. But you may have missed this little gem: a company called Open Meals has created a food replicator à la Star Trek.1
That’s right, the future is here. From the convenience of your own home you may soon(ish) be able to program your favourite recipe and have it replicated from taste to texture right in your kitchen.
The ability to ‘teleport’ (as the company is calling it) sushi is certainly a massive step in what it means to apply ‘digital’ to the food sector, but it’s really only one way in which technology is transforming what and how we eat.
Just consider the following recent stats and news items:
- According to the below infographic from Toluna, 43% of respondents in the US have used an app for their grocery shopping and a further 32% would consider it.
- Amazon has started rolling out its grocery delivery service following last year’s buyout of American grocery chain WholeFoods.2
- Meal kit service Blue Apron listed as an IPO and teamed up with Airbnb to offer six country-specific meals created by Airbnb Experience chefs.3
- Australians are spending AU$2.6 billion on food delivery via companies such as UberEats and Deliveroo – each year.4
- And by the way, lab-grown meat is coming to supermarket shelves.5
Naturally, many of these developments come with unintended consequence to society and the economy that need to be examined, but at the same time, the ability to easily access or 3D-print food could be revolutionary when it comes to ensuring that the world’s population has access to adequate nutrition, or illness-suitable diets.
No matter where you stand on the tastiness of artificial food, it’s an appetising thought.