People increasingly expect quality food, rapid delivery and the possibility to verify the production chain and measure their consumption; likewise, they want to enjoy meaningful gourmet experiences, whether at restaurant, at home, or when invited to friends’ homes, but the ingredients must be ‘special’ yet ready to use...
Thanks to digital technology, many of these desires can be satisfied. Let’s take a look as some of the best food apps for consumers.
Meal and Food Delivery
One of the most sought-after and crowded areas of the Internet of Food: some companies have grown to global dimensions while others have disappeared or have undergone a process of reorganisation. However, the market is so appetising that several big players from outside the food industry are entering it (e.g. Amazon, Uber).
This sector is vast and variegated in terms of service and product categories: it goes from the delivery of meals prepared by affiliated restaurants (e.g. Deliveroo, Foodpanda) to companies engaged in the preparation of themed menus by dedicated chefs and their delivery, (e.g. Blue Apron). This huge market – apart from those linking up food producers and consumers – comprises grocery and liquor deliveries as well as suppliers of meal kits containing all the ingredients for cooking dishes, even of a complex nature (e.g. Plated) or online video tutorials (Chef Day).
The Internet of Food has led to a vast range of applications and devices enabling those wishing to do so, to control their food intake.
Eat with AVA, for instance, is a Boston-based start-up offering an “intelligent eating” service, that allows a rapid calculation of the calories and nutrients in the dish you are eating from a simple photo: the app immediately provides a chart containing all the data you need to plan the rest of the day’s intake.
HAPIfork is an intelligent fork which that, when connected to an app compatible with all devices, teaches you to eat slowly by monitoring the length of the meal.
The idea of social food is to unite the tasting experience with a social experience: websites have sprung up globally to collect, vote and classify “home-cooked dinner” proposals.
In the wake of the considerable success achieved by ‘home restaurants’, there are also intelligent search engines such as Bon Appetour enabling users to recommend and consult the best “domestic venues” worldwide and to give a mark to their experience. Viz Eat is a French-Italian social eating platform that is expanding all over Europe, connecting gourmet tourists with local chefs, cookery courses and food and wine tours.
Cookisto, on the other hand, is an app that collects and shows those people who are willing to share their meal with others in the neighbourhood.
Wysiwyg (what you see is what you get)
The latest discoveries in the field of artificial intelligence and neural networks (IT networks reproducing the functions of biological ones) are starting to be applied to the food industry.
An interesting experiment is that of Borsch, a food recommendation application able to analyse and recognize food pictures posted on the social networks: at the precise moment in which a user expresses appreciation for a particular dish, the application is able to provide him or her with a list of restaurants in the neighbourhood carrying a similar dish on the menu.
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