Powered by Edible Manhattan and Edible Brooklyn, Food Loves Tech (FLT) is an education-by-entertainment innovation expo. From rooftop farming and the food app boom to virtual reality menus and insect proteins, FLT unites food and drink innovators, thought-leaders and enthusiasts to experience the future of food and drink.
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May 22, 2017
In the week before our annual innovation issue went to press, Facebook added the ability to order food from nearby restaurants while you’re in your stream; a start-up named Yolk launched to make recipe suggestions based on emotional cues in your selfies; Domino’s started delivering pizzas by rolling robots in Hamburg; and a countertop smart bartender was introduced that is voice activated by Google Home. For those people watching the food tech space this wasn’t even a particularly eventful week. It seems that our digital lives are melding with our analog food culture and at an accelerating clip.
Which was a big part of the reason behind the launch of last summer’s Food Loves Tech, our education as entertainment exposition. This year, we move it from Manhattan to Brooklyn’s Industry City, a hub for food innovation, on November 3 and 4, 2017. Like last year, attendees will get to see, smell, touch, hear and taste food’s not-so-distant future.
These explosive ways in which technology is wending its way into our food system are not just novelties like simpler, faster ways to order food online or apps that make cooking fun (aka, solving #firstworldproblems). Many start-ups in the space are compelled by a mission to fix our broken food system, and so we see hope in companies like Propel, which aims to streamline and simplify food stamp redemptions, or firms like Smallhold, which give restaurants and eventually homes the ability to grow their own mushrooms. There are also small-scale biodigesters that will turn New York City’s food waste into fertilizer, and tiny farm robots that will help vegetable farmers cope with labor shortages.
We’ve partnered with Union Square Hospitality Group and Great Performances this year to make it an even more “edible” event. Their innovative chefs and mixologists will create exclusive dishes and drinks just for Food Loves Tech attendees, from salads of Gotham Greens leaves and fish cakes from undersung fish species.
We’ve taste-tested rapid meal replacements like Ambronite, crowdsourced recipes with the FeedFeed, experienced multisensory smelling with Givaudan, reviewed the ability of allergen-detector Nima sensor, and talked to our fair share of the inventors behind juicebots and beerbots, food computers, lab-grown milk, smart wine carafes and kitchens that “listen” to your food and recommend recipes based on what’s in your fridge.
Why are we so fascinated by this? At best, this data-flooded food culture will mean more traceability, less waste, increased crop diversity, less overeating. Hopefully.
We hope you will consider joining us in this ongoing conversation. Send us your tips and opinions. And if you happen to be in New York November 3 and 4, we hope to see you at Industry City for Food Loves Tech.
Brian Halweil, Editor-in-chief
Stephen Munshin, Publisher