By Cynthia Maxwell, Trend Forecasting
“I WONT BE IMPRESSED WITH TECHNOLOGY UNTIL I CAN DOWNLOAD FOOD.”
I recently saw this posted on a friends Instagram page and it reminded me of my last article “Romancing the Consumer.” The consumer wants an experience! Though technology is not at the point where we can download food, soon, give or take ten years or so, we will be able to experience cooking, tasting and smelling food via virtual realty and new concept kitchen technology.
When most of us think about virtual reality we think of ...what? Although virtual reality is not new it has just started to gain public acknowledgement. So the general public might connect VR with video games where it is more widely used. But what about a VR food experience? The Project Nourished “A Gastronomical Virtual Reality Experience” web page opens with the alluring question “What if you can eat everything you want without regret?” Ok, now you have my attention!
The companies behind Project Nourished, Kokirilab, are leaders in virtual, augmented and mixed reality food experiences. Project Nourished goes beyond sustenance to have a pleasurable eating experience without negative consequences. Besides the VR headset Project Nourished uses several tools including an Aromatic Diffuser and a Bone Conduction Transducer, which can mimic the eating experience. One can experience smell, taste, texture and even drink virtual cocktails that mimic intoxication all in a “beyond your wildest dreams” setting.
Kokirilab also created Habit.at, a hologram experience that teaches children to have positive experiences with foods that are not so desirable… think brussel sprouts and beets! This could be a winner!
Both projects are designed with well being in mind-for those of us who have food allergies, aversions to food, eating disorders etc. Fortunately, it also sounds like it could be fun!
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From a trend perspective, restaurants grocery stores and food delivery programs could also use these Kokirilab projects. To give the consumer a “taste” of the product which creates that all-important experience that is needed to get the consumer’s attention and most importantly gain their loyalty.
Now on to concept kitchen technology, one of my new favorites is the collaboration between Ikea and Indeo, “Concept 2025.” Their question “How will we behave around food in 2025?” kicks off exploring the 18-month project of how our approach to food is changing over the next 10 years.
With four prototypes to discover the following two use some pretty amazing technology that has me wishing for a quicker delivery.
“A Table for Living” is an exciting development for the home. This table takes inanimate objects and brings them to life using smart light. A camera and projector mounted above the table, looks at what is happening on the table, and project images back. The table surface is a preparation surface, dining table, hob, work bench and children’s play area. Amongst its many features are to help the cook get suggestions on what to cook based on what is available at home, guide the cook through a recipe or alter the recipe based on how much time there is available to cook, induction charge your mobile devices and there are built in scales to get proportions right. These are just a few of the table’s functions. The goal was to also keep the surface simple and user friendly. The heating element and scale are covered by the table surface so the surface appears to be just a table.
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Concepts 2025 research is predicting that food could be 40% more expensive ten years from now and there will no longer be a need to do the big weekly grocery shop as our food, fresher and higher quality, will be arriving instantaneously via drones and autonomous vehicles.
The “Storing Visually” prototype removes the need for a refrigerator and in its place is an open pantry that puts perishable foods front and center. The pantry shelves house hidden sensors and smart induction cooling technology. This technology will keep perishable items fresh and right where the consumer can see them, not hidden or forgotten behind refrigerator doors. The visual pantry also includes terra cotta storage boxes that naturally cool to keep items like garlic and potatoes fresh.
“Storing Visually” will reduce food waste by keeping the consumer aware of what is available.
The connection between Project Nourished and Concepts 2025 is creating the all-important experience for the consumer with health, wellness, eco friendly principles and technology top of mind. Through the next two years all generations will be focusing on living and eating in a more sustainable way as well as looking to new ways in improve their health. Businesses that consider these points will be a step ahead of the game. Who knows we just might be able to “download food” sooner than we think!
Photo credits: projectnourished.com
Photo credits: conceptkitchen2025.ideo.london
Photo credits: Brainstorm movie 1983