Beverage Printing Becomes a Trend & The Breadbot Rises After CES Success

We Now Can Officially Call Beverage “Printing” a Trend

While folks often wait to have three of a thing before declaring a trend, I’m gonna go ahead and call it in the case of beverage printing after two. 

And as of last month, we officially had our second startup making a home beverage “printer”, only unlike the Cana which is a Swiss Army Knife make beverage machine, the One Tap, which makes beer instantly by mixing in different flavor and aroma inputs. The printer’s “cartridges” essentially look like small vials, each containing different liquids that can dial up or down on the hoppiness, sweetness and more. 

Bar.on is a startup in Belgium that makes The One Tap. The company, which raised €.1.8 million last fall, says the One Tap can produce a variety of beer styles such as blond, brown, IPA, and tripel, as well as make high, low, or even no-alcohol beer.

Like the Cana, the company’s pitch centers around sustainability, talking up the potential impact that making drinks at home will have as compared to the carbon-heavy approach of printing liquids in cans and bottles around the country to grocery stores, restaurants, and bars. 

The jury’s still out on how much that will resonate, as well as how the beer will actually taste. The company claims the early recipes have performed well in blind taste tests, but for now, we’ll have to take their word for it as the company still needs to raise more capital before it can build and ship its machines to customers. 

You can read my writeup of the One Tap here. For those interested in going deeper into 3D food printing, we have the full video from last week’s 3D food printing deep dive under our Spoon Plus subscription program. 

Sponsor: Automated food retail startups: Bring your innovation to the Big Apple.

The MTA is seeking a qualified vending operator to provide services consisting of furnishing, installing, stocking, maintaining, managing, and operating vending machines at locations within various New York City Transit (“NYCT”) stations!

What is your platform’s potential? Learn more here about submitting a proposal for this opportunity today!

Amir Zaidman The Kitchen, Dispatches From Israel Food Tech Ecosystem

Last month, The Spoon’s Joy Chen visited the Kitchen Hub at their office in Ashdod, Israel and sat down with Amir Zaidman, Co-Founder and Chief Business Officer of the Kitchen. Before co-founding The Kitchen, Amir Zaidman spent 10-14 year in business development and investment in medical technology. 

They chatted about what the Kitchen does, what sets Israeli startup founders apart, what the ecosystem needs, how precision fermentation is the new software, and what it’ll be like for Israeli customers to try the first cultivated meat product. 

J: Let’s talk about what the Kitchen is and what it does. 

We have capital to invest in startups, like seed or pre-seed venture capital. We are able to invest more money in startups than typical seed stage venture funds because we receive government money. We invest more than one million dollars in companies, whereas a typical seed fund might only invest between $200 and $500,000. Those companies become portfolio companies and they have access to the facility but it’s also the very close support that the team in the Kitchen is giving the teams in the companies. At least for the first 2-3 years after we invest in them, it’s a very intense relationship. 

J: Wouldn’t you say that the Kitchen is similar to a venture studio. 

A: No, not exactly. Venture studio for us is the blank page. Then, we brainstorm, and decide what we want based upon the needs and trends of the industry. We begin by identifying the technologies, science and intellectual property relevant to the project. We then negotiate with universities and research institutes to obtain the technology license. After that, we hire the team and grant them equity in our newly created company which has the technology’s license. For us, the venture studio model is to start with nothing and then bring together all those building blocks. 

Thirdly, Kitchen engages in foodtech activities in Israel. 

To reach our full interview with Amir Zaidman, head over to The Spoon. 

Food Robots

Four Years After CES, Breadbot’s Robotic Breadmaker is Dishing Out Loaves at Grocery Stores

For robot startups seeking to make a splash at CES, there are a few options: holding a large press conference, making it weird and creepy, or serving cocktails. However, one method stands out above the rest for drawing in crowds: wafting the aroma of freshly baked bread (aka ‘the Subway method‘).

That’s what the folks behind the Wilkinson Baking Company did back in 2019, and the end result was their robot, the Breadbot, became a sensation that year at the world’s largest tech event. The smell of freshly baked bread brought in journalists, technologists, and passers-by like a tractor. It garnered the kind of press that even big budget brands, like Samsung, would envy.

Since then, the small Eastern Washington company co-founded by Ron and Randall Wilkinson has worked diligently to get their product on the market. They wanted to go from a working prototyping machine to a ready-to-use machine for grocery stores.

In order to make the transition smooth, the company sought a new chief executive officer. The Wilkinsons, who were both in late 60s, sought a CEO capable of taking the startup from an LLC with a big concept to one mature enough to secure funding and market the first product. Paul Rhynard, a former strategy consultant for McKinsey who also had experience raising capital as Chief Strategy Officer for Russell Investments, stepped in for Randall in April of last year and has since helped raise a seed round of $3 million last summer to fund the build-out of the company’s first production run of robots.

To read the full story on how the Breadbot is progressing, head on over to The Spoon.


Walmart gains share in online grocery as shoppers look for ways to combat inflation

While online grocery shopping continued to grow last year, where people shopped shifted significantly according to a new report from grocery researcher Brick Meets Click.

Walmart is the biggest winner according to the new report that details the performance of e-grocery for different retail formats. This was because more and more consumers were looking for ways to save money. The report, which analyzed the four main formats, namely supermarkets, Walmarts, Targets and Hard Discounts (i.e. Aldi, Lidl and Walmart all saw their online grocery sales grow.

According to Brick Meets Click, households making less than $50 thousand per year were 25% more likely to shop at Walmart than a supermarket, and Walmart’s total share of online grocery in this household category grew by 2.1% vs. a contraction of 1.5% for supermarket’s share. Walmart’s growth in this segment was 2.1%. At the other end of the spectrum is the household that earns over $200,000. In 2022, the reach of supermarkets decreased by 1.2% compared to last year.

Inflation was the main reason why both segments shifted to Walmart. Lower-income households were driven by what the researcher terms “flight to value,” where they buy products priced via an “everyday low price” pricing model employed at Walmart and hard discounters such as Aldi. High-end households are three-times more likely than lower-income households to shop online in a supermarket. However, Walmart gained share as higher-income households also sought ways to save money on groceries.

You can read the whole story The Spoon is here.

Consumer Kitchen

Tupperware: A missed opportunity to reinvent itself before it was too late

In recent weeks, news reports about the struggles of the housewares brand Tupperware have surfaced.

It’s unfortunate to see such a storied brand on the brink of bankruptcy, but it raises the question: was this avoidable? Tupperware could have been saved by adopting new ideas to modernize their brand and products.

We’ll never know for certain, but a household name like Tupperware might have had a chance if it had explored new products and business models a little sooner. Here are some ideas on how Tupperware could have reinvented its business:

DTC Housewares Rolle

Tupperware should have moved to a direct-to consumer (DTC), either through acquisition or natively, sooner. Tupperware offers its products for sale on its site, but it still relies heavily on its direct sales strategy, based on party plans. While some companies can still make this model work (like Thermomix), the Tupperware Party is a relic of the past that does not resonate with modern consumers.

The company could have adopted a strategy similar to that of Pattern Brands. Pattern has been gradually acquiring successful DTC brands like GIR, Yield, Poketo, and Onsen. Pattern was able achieve scale by consolidating the back-office and marketing. Tupperware might have considered bigger deals with social media-driven brands such as Caraway.

Read the full story at The Spoon.

Future of Retail

Starbucks Trialing Amazon’s Palm Payment System in the Seattle Market

Starbucks is trialing Amazon’s biometric payment system, Amazon One, in the Seattle market. The system, which allows customers to pay in-store with the scan of a palm, was spotted in a Starbucks north of the company’s Seattle headquarters in Edmonds, Washington.

To sign up to use the system, users can pre-enroll at the Amazon One website or inside Starbucks at the Amazon One kiosk. Since I didn’t already have an Amazon One account, I decided to sign up in the coffee shop. I was asked to scan a barcode on my phone’s Starbucks app to identify my Starbucks account. It then instructed me to hold both my left hand and right hand above the scanner in order. As soon as each palm had been scanned I was good to go. Signing up took only two minutes.

Since I was already there, I figured I’d try it out. When I was in line, I asked for an iced green tea. When I was asked for payment, my palm was hovered over the scanner until it recognised it.

The Spoon has the complete story.