11 February 2020
From lab-grown Impossible Pork and personalised DNA diets to robotic assistants and home grow systems, food and the kitchen remained popular sectors for cutting edge innovation and concepts at CES 2020. The innovation-focused show provides us with the opportunity to uncover weak signals and early signs of change that will impact the attitudes and behaviours of mass consumer groups in the near and distant future. Here are our top three kitchen trends uncovered at the show.
Sustainable Kitchen: Minimising Waste
As the focus on climate change shifts to the climate crises, we see an emerging appetite for improving sustainability closer to home. This year at CES 2020, several innovations looking to help consumers reduce their waste in the kitchen were released. The Sepura, a waste disposal system made by Anvytech, automatically sorts the solids washed down your sink into an odour-free composting bin. The Phyn Smart Water Assistant is an intelligent water meter that attaches to the hot and cold water lines under a sink to help homeowners conserve water and detect leaks throughout the home. Although the Yummly Smart Thermometer’s main function is to help users cook a delicious meal, it also has the added benefit of reducing food and energy waste, preventing food from being burnt or wasting energy from accidentally leaving the oven on.
Wireless Wonders: Cutting the Cord
As a result of our increasingly tech-focused lives, managing cables and cords has become a daily struggle, particularly in the kitchen. Limited flexibility because of plug positioning and minimal counter space due to smaller homes drives interest in wireless solutions. This idea of a wireless future was explored by companies at CES 2020, with concepts that create a seamless kitchen free of cords and cables. Integrated with their Magnetic Air Drive (MAD) technology, Millo demonstrated its new MAD kitchen table. Simply by waving your hand over it, areas of the table light up showing householders cooking surfaces or a wireless power generator, where appliances should be positioned. Similarly, the Wireless Power Consortium displayed their KI Cordless Kitchen which delivers up to 2200 watts of power to smart cordless kitchen appliances. Small appliances are powered by placing them onto power transmitters installed in enabled induction cooktops or neatly hidden beneath any standard non-metal countertop surface, cooktop or table.
Cooking Robots: A Helping Hand
Robotics was a key focus for CES 2020 with several established and smaller brands showcasing their vision for consumer-friendly robots. The Samsung Bot Chef is a pair of multi-jointed robotic arms with three-fingered hands that can prep food, manipulate bottles of oil and utensils, as well as open cabinets in search of ingredients. Samsung intends Bot Chef to act as a “cobot” (collaborative robot), helping you to create meals rather than being a personal chef.
Already utilised at venues such as Cafe X and the Bionic Bar, the appeal of robotic arms (commonly used in manufacturing) has now reached the fine-dining world. Michelin star chef Heston Blumenthal recently joined robotics startup, Karakuri, as a board advisor, keen to explore the applications of the tech for high-end cooking. In an interview with Wired magazine, Blumenthal said, “Robots will free up chefs to be more creative – to try things previously too difficult for humans to measure accurately or replicate consistently”. Although it is unlikely we will see robotic arms become mainstream in the next 5+ plus years, these innovations will have a near future impact on consumer expectations of current appliances in the next 2-3 years.
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