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November 6, 2015

Now it's time for kitchens, even food, to get smarter

  • A Silicon Valley company called Innit says it wants to “unlock and listen to the information within food through science, technology and culinary expertise.”
  • By JON SILVER
    Journal Staff Reporter

    Thanks to the Internet, kitchen appliances like smart fridges already can just order more eggs when they run out. But good luck using your high-tech fridge to make better use of the food you already have.

    It's been reported that a typical U.S. family wastes about $1,500 of food annually, but much of that food could have been eaten if consumers had better information.

    A new Silicon Valley company called Innit wants to tackle that problem with a new technology platform it's developing.

    The company announced its launch yesterday in Seattle at the Smart Kitchen Summit. Innit executives said they have $25 million in initial funding from the company founders and other investors.

    In press materials, the company said it wants to “unlock and listen to the information within food through science, technology and culinary expertise.”

    Imagine sensors in your fridge that can measure the freshness of those veggies — and give you advice on how best to prepare them even if they've already wilted. Or an oven that can expertly roast a chicken without undercooking or drying it out.

    Those are just a couple of the real-world applications the company said it wants to develop.

    Innit's leadership hails from two worlds: food and technology. CEO Kevin Brown last led a company called Coraid, a computer data storage vendor. President Eugenio Minvielle is a veteran of giant food firms such as Nestle France and Unilever North America, where he was president and CEO.

    Minvielle made a presentation in Seattle Thursday and said that the company is looking for partnerships with appliance makers to use Innit's technology.

    The focus will be on consumer products rather than commercial kitchens.

    Brown told the DJC that Innit wants to leverage nutritional science and “bring all of that data that has lived in the professional environment to consumers. The smart kitchen is an excellent place to do that.”

    The kitchen of the future could have a number of interconnected devices that work together on everything from storage to preparation. A third-party technology platform would help ensure all those devices worked together, even if they are produced by different manufacturers.

    Brown said Innit is using its seed money to hire staff, do research and improve its capabilities. He said the company isn't ready to announce the release of any specific devices, but hopes to have more to announce next year.


     


    Jon Silver can be reached by email or by phone at (206) 622-8272.


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