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Three startups that are changing the way we see cooking


Three startups that are changing the way we see cooking

A casual online search for the “future of food” reveals countless results pertaining to how we need to adapt what we eat for a sustainable future. However, while this gives a fascinating glimpse into how the way we eat could change over the coming decades, it doesn’t quite offer a full picture. It isn’t just how we eat that will be impacted by changes in nutritional and technological trends, but how we cook as well.

The way people cook has altered unrecognisably over the past fifty years, from the advent of the countertop microwave and corresponding rise of the ready meal, to websites and apps rendering not only recipe books but drawerfuls of takeaway menus redundant. Yet it isn’t established kitchenware companies which are spearheading this evolution, but new companies who are establishing themselves in order to disrupt and improve the future of cooking. Read on to find out more about the three startups are taking the biggest steps.

Nutritionally complete food with minimal preparation: Huel

Started four years ago, the mission of Aylesbury-based startup Huel was to create a product which is environmentally friendly, easy to prepare and provides consumers with their complete recommended daily allowance of nutrients from just seven ingredients. Initially only sold in powdered form (to be blended with water and ready near-instantly), the company has now branched out its offerings to include snack bars and granola. Beyond being completely vegan, a gluten-free variant of Huel’s products also hit the market in 2016.

The company’s founders recently admitted to Wired that Huel was originally “made on a spreadsheet”, in order to maximise its nutritional value above all else. However, over the last year, the company have been seeking to balance taste with convenience, developing a range of flavour sachets to add to the basic Huel powder, as well as a pre-mixed drink to make the product even more convenient. Both have been extremely well-received by the community of Huel drinkers—who have dubbed themselves “Huelers”—which numbers Niall Horan amongst its members.

Huel has expanded beyond the UK at a rapid clip, beginning shipping around Europe in 2016 and to America in 2017. The startup has since shifted 15 million units across the world, showing that there is global demand for a product which is as easy to make as it is good for your body.

Waste-free commercial kitchens: Winnow Solutions

According to statistics released at the start of the year by the UN Food And Agriculture Organisation, people around the globe waste around 33% of the food grown and manufactured for consumption—around 1.3 billion tons per year. In the UK, the hospitality sector alone wastes nearly 3.5 million tonnes of food, a figure that is not only a waste of food but of money for the restaurants in question.

Aided by an additional £5.6 million in funding last October, British startup Winnow Solutions has been running since 2013, and is seeking to help those in the service industry change their more wasteful practices. Their technology is simple: chefs use the Winnow Waste Monitor to record the food waste they are producing as they go, and why they are throwing items away. The app will then evaluate this data over time and create a plan outlining how to cut down on food waste and cost of supplies going forward.

The Waste Monitor has been rolled out in nearly 30 countries since it was created, and the company has claimed to have reduced food waste by 4,300 tonnes in that time. Whilst this is a drop in the ocean at this point, their mission has the support of MPs and celebrity chefs, as well as being used by major chains such as Accor Hotels and Ikea.

Accessible recipes and integrated cooking: SideChef

Initially financed through Kickstarter five years ago, SideChef was founded to make cooking easy, positioning itself as “the first app of its kind [to use] audial [sic] and visual guidance” for recipes. Compared by CNBC to a car’s GPS system, the free app can run off voice control so that users don’t need to keep washing their hands to see their next step, and starts a countdown when to ensure that everything is kept in the pan or oven for the perfect time.

This, in itself, is extremely useful, as is its increasing portfolio of recipes, but what is truly stunning is how the app has evolved beyond this initial use. Kitchen tech companies such as Sharp and LG have partnered with SideChef to integrate it into their own smart appliances; DigitalTrends has reported that this interconnectivity can set alarms and preheat smart ovens to the correct temperature. This gives those who lack confidence in their own culinary skills the opportunity to improve their abilities and create great meals from tried-and-tested recipes.

I am the founder of Startup Today. I am the main writer and have put in many hours of work into creating this blog. If you want to find out more about me then lets get in contact.

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