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Warning: While you cook, Google and Amazon are fishing for your food data!

Michael Haase16. October 2018

What’s for dinner? This is a choice worth 100 Bn Dollar EVERY DAY (5% of global GDP), and the big tech companies are dying to influence it.

What if Amazon knew what vegan, gluten-free, millenial women in Copenhagen like to eat on Wednesday evenings? What if they knew what’s in their fridge, when they tend to stock it up, or whether they dislike cilantro and like quiches?

The dystopia: ‘Amazon-ification of food’

A few years from now, a few global tech-players will guide you on what to eat, and point you to the most appropriate retailer, restaurant, or take-away.

It already happened in music (Spotify et al), books and electronics (Amazon et al), motion picture (Netflix et al), fact checking (Wikipedia), jobs (LinkedIn), photos (Instagram), and journalism (Facebook). Food is next.

Is that a bad thing? Guidance is great, but this is likely to mean  ‘Amazon-ification’ of food: A food chain where the only purposes are short-term cheapness and convenience. Feel like that’s already happening? Ain’t seen nothing yet.

Is this online shop selling food or books? 😉

The good news: The field is still open

No-one won the market yet, because very few people still use technology for home cooking.

Surprisingly, Online food shopping (Ocado, Amazon Prime, Nemlig, HelloFresh,…) is used by less than 1% in the Western world. Even the world’s largest online recipe sites have only around 30 mn visits/month, which is tiny in comparison to the billions of monthly visits common among players in tech-savvy fields like Netflix, Spotify, Instagram and Facebook.

Why are people largely offline when it comes to food? Because, the operating system for online food guidance today is quite bad: It’s based on recipes, and it isn’t helpful – just try to find a recipe for yourself tonight.

How to solve it? Amazon and Google believe speech interfaces will save them because it will become seamless to share your food choices. That is why they are investing greatly in Amazon Alexa and Google Home. Some might even argue that they’re listening in on your cooking.

However, a Danish startup called Plant Jammer believes they found something smarter. They are building the Operating System for a new food chain; and it’s modular much like LEGO’s.

A Danish startup fights ‘Amazon-ification of food’ with Nordic Design principles

Plant Jammer’s modular approach to cooking enables individualization and gamification of meal planning without jeopardizing convenience. See more in this video.

Something seems to be working if you ask their users:

At the center of the app are Nordic design principles of Simplicity, Sustainability, and Playfulness. Plant Jammer believes these principles can protect sensuality in food – picking up a fair fight against ‘Amazon-ification’ of our food chain.

Try it yourself: