January 09, 2016
I hate cooking. There are few activities that I hate more than cooking. As I grow older, I find myself caring more about my health. With this, I have come to realize that cooking needs to be part of my day and part of my weekly habits. I can no longer live off of two boxes of Cinnamon Toast Crunch and still manage to stay fit and live a healthy lifestyle.
Over the past few years, there have been startups who have attempted to solve the problem of cooking. Some of these would mail you the ingredients measured out with a list of instructions to follow. This approach was interesting, but I was paying a premium for people to cut up ingredients and put them into little bags for me. If you like cooking these type of products were probably really helpful as the result was always a good, healthy dish, with ingredients you recognized.
However, the problem was still in the action of cooking. The preparation was not the problem for me.
Maybe I am just lazy, but I went searching for a better solution. I had found a fitness routine that worked well for me, but I still ate poorly. I need a solution to this that would add or tweak my diet.
Soylent 2.0 Soylent is a meal replacement drink that is supposed to be like created to be something like the perfect meal in a bottle. It has all the shit you need in a meal. Soylent has gotten a lot of buzz in recent months. The 1.0 of the product was just a simple powder. To get the final shake, you would need a blender. That, of course, did not interest me as the goal was to see if I can eat healthily and do as little work as possible.
I have been keeping an eye on the progress of Soylent and saw that they recently released the product in a small bottle form. Each bottle would count as one meal. This took care of my blender problem, and I was super excited to order them and have breakfast solved once and for all.
The case of 12 bottles arrived, and it took me a few days to try to have one of these for a meal.
Now, this might be because I am used to eating eggs or Cliff bars for breakfast, but the taste was just hard to get around. I feel like it is something that I could get used to over a certain amount of time, but the taste was hard to work with at 5:30 in the morning.
Conceptually, I love the idea of Soylent, and one day it could be implemented into the healthy living tool chest. However, currently, I think they need to do something about the taste. I would love to see a starter kit created with a few trial flavors that can get you ready for the full Soylent experience.
I still have a few bottles left from my original purchase, and I think that I will try to drink three bottles write about it. There might be something to it after you get used to it.
Soylent is still something that I am going to keep on my radar and will try again when the 3.0 product is released, but it is just not ready to get into our day to day habits just yet.
Sereneti Kitchen I was listening to an episode of This Week In Startups, and Sereneti was being demoed during a Future of Food Showcase. The scene was during the Launch Internet Of Things conference. There were some different products demoed, but this was the only one that wowed me.
Sereneti is one of those products where you see a little glimpse of what it can do, and you can’t stop thinking about all the uses for such technology. The company said they were just showing off a prototype, and this product is 12–18 months off from being consumer ready.
So, Sereneti is a device that will cook for you. During, the onstage demo they made a simple omelet. The essential component of the thing is this mechanical arm that does the work.
Think of Sereneti as if a crock pot met a 3D printer. The device has some connected capabilities. Such as setting up timers and being able to get these little trays of the ingredients to make your recipe. The founders kept stressing that they are going to work with chefs and get a huge database of different food that this thing can create.
I honestly don’t care what it can make. If this thing can make ten things well and even if they are simple it would be a must own for me.
Let me paint my dream scenario here. We all look at our phones first thing in the morning right? We wake up, and we can tell our Sereneti what type of oatmeal we want or the kind of eggs we want and set a timer for delivery.
This company is the closest thing that I have found to my dream device. They have taken out the pain point of the creation process. Now, if they can make this into a consumer product will be a different thing.
I think there will be a market for this product even if they just nail a certain amount of meals and then release patches to increase the knowledge base.
Bento Bento is a delivery service that, at the moment, is only in San Francisco. It has a twist on the delivery concept that makes it much more attractive.
Bento has their own kitchens and drivers. This is how their website explains their food. All of our food is: • Asian inspired • Prepared in a healthy manner — No MSG or additives added. We never abuse sugar, salt or fat. • Sourced responsibly — We hold our suppliers to high standards so we can stand behind the source of our ingredients.
The app allows you to pick a main, and a side dish for your bento and the choices are different every day.
I love this concept as it allows you to get some quality food delivered to your house. It gives you new options and enables you to get that takeout and be able to eat still well. The price and the process are incredibly compelling.
Sadly, I think Bento is going to be hard to scale up and won’t hit my small town in the coming year. I love the more on demand apps coming to the food industry. Bento, Uber Eats, Postmates, and even Amazon Prime Now. There are a lot of delivery services that can simplify parts of the food creation or delivery process.
Bento has a unique take on the home delivery, and I like how they are focusing in on one thing and trying to do that well.
What’s Next So far, there is not that perfect solution in the market. Living in a small town, I don’t have access to a lot of the on-demand services.
Startups like Plated and Blue Apron just don’t do enough for me to help solve my issues. Things like Instacart, Amazon Prime Now, and Google Shopping Express would be more helpful if they ever got into town.
Sereneti is the most interesting food startup that I have come across, and it is the most exciting tech, and I can’t wait to see it.
I think that there is a massive push for a more healthy lifestyle. We all know we need to get 10,000 steps, and we have wearables to track our posture.
The food industry is still something that is ripe for changes and ripe for significant changes during the mobile revolution.
It is still way too easy to eat poorly. We have the technology and the ability to change the consumption channels to solve the various needs of people. We are getting there and when we get devices like Sereneti being made a mass scale it is going to change things. It is going to be hard to ignore the fact that you can have your omelet waiting for you and not get yourself that donut in the morning. I still dream of the day where our food could be automated and set once and all.
Written by John Siwicki who lives and works building interesting things. You should follow him on Twitter