The 5th Annual Smart Kitchen Summit attracted leaders throughout the kitchen design, food and cooking worlds to explore new technologies and provide the latest on the intersection of technology, food, and kitchen design. Here are several of the major trends identified at the Summit.
Sustainability was one of the hot Summit topics. The Impossible Burger, made from plants, is not a fad and food made from plants is not limited to burgers. Plant-based foodstuffs continue to evolve and gain in popularity. Manufacturers are responding to this trend by creating appliances, applications and information resources that make plant-based eating easier and more readily available.
Healthier Cooking & Eating
Healthier cooking and eating was another significant trend. We have found that homeowners Denver are interested in healthier cooking for themselves and their families but find changing long-standing habits difficult, simply because most homeowners (in name of service territory?) do not have a lot of free time. According to Nancy Roman, CEO of the Partnership for Healthier America, the average time for preparing meals and cleaning up has dropped from 60 minutes in 2006 to 36 minutes in 2016.
The desire and demand for healthier foods and lifestyles are also expected to alter smart kitchen design. Anticipated trends include increased specification of glass cabinets that showcase fresh ingredients and hydroponic cabinets where consumers can grow their own vegetables, herbs and other items. Specification of cabinets, countertops, tile, paint and other materials used to create new kitchens with low Volatile Organic Compounds that produce fewer hazardous gasses and byproducts and promote improved air quality will continue to gain in popularity as will the use of lighting that promotes more healthy lifestyles.
Reducing Food Waste
Efforts continue to expand to help reduce food waste. The FDA estimates 30-40% of the food supply is wasted annually or the equivalent of $161 billion of food every year. New natural coatings are being attached to fruit that can extend the freshness by up to two weeks and other technological advances are being explored to help preserve food for longer time periods.
Cutting Down on Waste
More than 2.1 billion tons of food worldwide will be tossed in the garbage can by 2030, predicts the Boston Consulting Group. And the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization reports that food waste and loss accounts for 8 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Both the amount of food waste and the greenhouse gas emission that waste generates could be substantially reduced thanks to a new mobile food scanner that is expected to hit the market later in 2019. The pocket-sized scanner is being developed by a German research organization and uses an infrared sensor to determine the safety of fresh food, which is measured using an app on a smartphone or tablet.
A lot of edible food is discarded prematurely because of blemishes or because it has lasted beyond its past use by date. Consumers have no way to determine if blemished or expired food is still safe to eat. Most consumers would rather be safe than sorry, contributing to a lot of unnecessary food waste. The scanner and app developers hope that their new technology will curtail needless food waste.
The scanner uses a near-infrared sensor to determine the ripeness of food. Artificial Intelligence converts the sensor readings into inferences about the safety of the food scanned. Currently, the technology is only capable of determining the ripeness of a single ingredient. You can’t scan a plate of leftovers to decide whether they have gone bad nor can you assess the safety of pre-prepared food. However, the researchers developing the technology plan to expand applications across multi-ingredient foods soon.
An added bonus of the technology is that the scanner can determine the authenticity of the food scanned. For example, it can determine the difference between real crab and manufactured crab and the difference between salmon and salmon trout.
The scanner is further evidence of how technology will continue to change the way we prepare meals and eat. Kitchens are becoming more connected with new applications coming to the market almost daily. If you would like to know how you can take advantage of new technologies that enhance your family’s lifestyle, health and well-being, give us a call.
Some refrigerators allow you to check their contents from your smartphone while at the grocery store or any other place. Others feature computers that enable you to store recipes, make grocery lists or order via your home assistant. Zoned refrigeration continues to evolve and allows you to store foodstuffs and beverages at the perfect temperatures. Another trend is the growth of beverage stations. Whether you want a built-in coffee station or a wine dispenser, there is an appliance that can meet your needs.
Smart Appliance Options
There were several cool products on display. FET featured a backsplash that doubles as a digital screen that consumers can use to watch on-demand and live cooking classes. The backsplash is voice-activated, giving users an option to select classes based on cuisine, calories, diet, duration and a host of other options.
Another head-turning product was the HotSpot CookTop that can recognize pots, pans or food placed on the surface. If the food item does not have a uniform thickness, think of a salmon fillet, the HotSpot automatically applies more heat to the center than to the ends so that the item cooks evenly.
There was even a device that allows you to take cocoa beans and make your own chocolate in approximately two hours.
If you would like to know more about smart kitchen options, new technologies, ways to cook and eat healthier, give us a call at (303) 300-4400 in Denver or (303) 688-8279 in Castle Rock or visit either of our showrooms 2324 S. Colorado Blvd. Denver, CO 80222 or 1375 Caprice Dr. Castle Rock, CO 80109.