The latest innovations in personalized food technologies

The latest innovations in personalized food technologies

By Bezalel Adainoo

In line with the increasing industrial shift from mass production to mass personalization, technologies such as home testing kits and wearable fitness trackers are providing new levels of understanding one’s health. The detailed insights into one’s eating habits and nutrition requirements provided by such devices are helping to drive the growth of the personalized nutrition space. This, combined with sustainable food packaging, illustrates how packaged food companies are moving toward holistic products that are healthier for both individuals and the planet.

In parallel, enabled by advances in IoT devices and novel manufacturing methods, interesting devices and ideas for personalized food storage and preparation are emerging in the CPG  industry. Below, we highlight a few interesting examples.

Coaster-sized inductive heating device:

Reheating food in a place outside the kitchen can be a challenge. However, Inductive Intelligence, a company founded in 2017, has developed a system that uses highly controlled inductive power that enables the user to heat food and drinks through the application of IoT. By placing the food or drink on a coaster-sized appliance, it can be heated in a matter of minutes.

Personalized food technology from Inductive Intelligence
Source: Inductive Intelligence

This unique patent-pending system is able to heat food in paper, plastic, glass, foil pouches, or metal packaging by turning the packaging into heatable IoT devices, where the packaging and the appliance communicate to ensure controlled and safe heating. This small appliance can also be used to wirelessly charge mobile devices. The product is still under development; and by filling out a form on the company’s website, customers can get to know when the product will be released and how they can buy one.

The Level oven:

The Level oven is another innovation for heating food. It is a system that is able to heat different snacks at the same time without overcooking any of the snacks or leaving cold spots in any of the food. The oven uses AI with the aid of visual and thermal cameras to simultaneously cook different snacks each at their specifically required temperature.

With this technology, there is no need to guess the cooking time, as the oven is designed to be able to cook at the right temperature. And it  even informs the user when the food is done. The Level oven is available now, and you can sign up for one by visiting the company’s website.

Smart lunchbox:

Keeping meals fresh is very important for consumers, since freshness is important for retaining  the sensory properties of food and for reducing food waste. Silbo is a new smart and innovative lunchbox that is at the prototype stage of development. It keeps food fresh and cold all day long, and with the press of a button, reheats the food to the user’s desired temperature. Further, Silbo has sensors that enable it to measure, track, analyze, monitor, and manage your eating habits and nutritional intake. By so doing, it helps promote healthy eating.

Silbo The World’s First Smart & Innovative Lunchbox from Silbo Lunchbox on Vimeo.

Portable chilling device:

Another personalized food tech innovation that has the potential to reduce food waste is the Furrion eRove. The technology is an electric cooler than can keep food cold for 7-10 days without a power source. It has pressure-injected Cyclopentane foam, which traps cool air and keeps ice frozen for up to 10 days. Furrion eRove has a compressor that pushes cool air into the main compartment to ensure fast and efficient cooling or freezing down to -8°F. In addition, the technology has a charging station compatible with USB 2.0 and 3.0 as well as a wireless charging dock. This technology will be released onto the market later this year.

Portable espresso machines:

Coffee is one of the most popular beverages in the world. However, brewing coffee can be cumbersome. But now, Wacaco Company Limited has developed portable espresso machines that allow you to brew coffee anytime, anywhere. These portable machines are capable of extracting coffee at a pressure of 18 bars, which is higher than the pressure most home espresso machines can deliver. Also, the unique design of the hand-held machine enables you to brew espresso with consistent quality all the time. The Nanopresso is 6.14 inches in length, weighs only 336 grams, and has a water holding capacity of 80 milliliters. The device is already available on the market.

Source: Wacaco

Smart Cups:

Smart Cups, a California-based startup, has developed empty 3D-printed biodegradable cups that  when you pour water into them, the water turns into energy drinks. These cups are designed with polycapsule flavors (encapsulated flavors) that are created through additive manufacturing. When water is poured into these cups, it reacts with the 3D-printed microcapsule layers contained in the soluble polymer shell, which transform the water into the energy drink. According to 3Dnatives and PR Newswire, in addition to being biodegradable, the smart cups offer a number of benefits over traditional energy drinks, including no calories or sugar and a stackable design with a storage efficiency that is 10 times higher than that of an equal number of traditional bottles and cans. For $11.99 USD, you can choose a pack of smart cups from six different flavors.

Source: Smart Cups (PRNewsfoto/Smart Cups)

Clasper bottle technology:

Clasper bottle technology is a combination of two polyethylene terephthalate bottles and a shrink label. In 2017, the technology won the prestigious Institute of Packaging Professionals AmeriStar Package Award in the alcoholic beverages category. It is designed to hold 50 milliliters of premium alcohol in the bottom part, which has a heat-applied aluminum foil seal, and the main bottle contains 192 milliliters of shelf-stable juice with a 38-micrometer headspace filled with polypropylene. To consume the content of the bottle, the shrink label must be separated at the seam between the two bottles, then the bottom bottle must be unsnapped from the base of the main bottle. The content of the bottom bottle must then be poured into the juice in the main bottle after removing its heat seal. This unique design enables users to carry two different beverages separately in one bottle.

Source: PTI

Tomorrow Machine sustainable packaging:

Tomorrow Machine, a Swedish design studio, is specializing in food package concepts using new technologies and intelligent materials. The team have designed sustainable expandable bowls made out of a 100% biobased and biodegradable material. The design of the package allows it to react when the temperature in the oven is just right; and as a result, the package opens by itself, alerting the user to ensure that the food is not overcooked.

This sustainable, functional package also reacts in the presence of hot water. Hence, foods in these packages can be heated in the package without any harmful chemicals leaching into the food, and the package can be disposed of without causing any harm to the environment.

Conclusion:

The combination of unique food preparation and storage systems with the advent of personalized nutrition technologies will enable consumers to maintain and optimize good eating habits both at home and on the go. By providing consumers with convenient food preparation solutions that incorporate innovations for minimizing food and packaging waste, companies can simultaneously capitalize on vital emerging trends.

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