The Kitchen Meets the Computer
Today’s tech investors are spending heavily on a new menu of innovative culinary businesses. The next wave of food-tech startups goes beyond the social review platforms (Yelp), food delivery services (Foodler, GrubHub) and online reservation services (OpenTable, UReserv) that have dominated the market in recent years. And they’re doing it by focusing on the side of the equation these startups left out: dining at home.
Here’s a look at a few notable startups that are winning over investors, and giving you a whole new way to get your grub on this October:
Blue Apron: At last, a company finally understands how awful it is that you need to skip "Wheel Of Fortune" to go grocery shopping once a week. Blue Apron is a New York-based weekly subscription food delivery service that offers to send all the ingredients needed to make fresh, restaurant-quality dinners directly to your door.
At $60 a week for a maximum of three meals, Blue Apron won’t exactly replace your weekly shopping trips -- for that you’ll need to check if AmazonFresh, Peapod or Instacart is available in your area. But, it does provide a cheap alternative to dining out, and a fun way to enhance your cooking skills with new ingredients and recipes.
Blue Apron sends refrigerated packages every Wednesday, and in two trials, the meals and produce beat expectations. One avocado bested anything at my local Trader Joe’s, and meals like the orange-glazed tofu with barley and vegetable salad, and the peronata pizza with broccolini and fresh mozzarella, while occasionally intensive to prepare, packed a taste that kept me talking about the service.
Similar services: Chefday!, HelloFresh, PlateJoy, Plated
Cookening: Tired of making your wine-simmered manila clams for an audience of one? Cookening may be the startup that helps you finally share your passion with others. Styling itself as the Airbnb or Couchsurfing of cooking, the France-based company pairs travelers looking to save money with semi-pro cooks willing to welcome guests to their table, sometimes in their own homes.