In this special edition of its 5 Things series, Food Management highlights five recent technology-related developments affecting the foodservice world.
Here’s your list for today:
1. Smart Soda looks to bring customized beverage dispensers to Compass B&I sites
Wellness beverage technology brand Smart Soda Holdings has announced a strategic partnership with Compass Group North America to bring its JuLi personalized beverage dispenser units to workplaces, micro markets and office cafeterias across the country. JuLi dispensers allow customers to formulate customized beverages ranging from "sparkling water to coffee to iced tea, lemonade, and everything in between,” through a simple-to-use touchscreen interface, according to SmartSoda CEO Lior Shafir.
2. Blendid enters Midwest and office markets
Robotic food service solutions vendor Blendid has announced the opening of its first location in the Midwest at Schneider National’s Green Bay headquarters, which will also be the first Blendid kiosk in a corporate office environment. While the kiosk at Schneider marks a strategic move into the Midwest market for Blendid, it also serves as a launching point for its expansion into more office parks and corporate campuses, according to the company. Blendid already operates kiosk locations in a variety of non-traditional venue types like shopping centers, college and university campuses, travel centers, hospitals and now corporate campuses/office parks.
3. Leanpath looks to leverage AI to speed food waste reduction
Global food waste prevention firm Leanpath is integrating the AI engine behind ChatGPT into its suite of prevention tools as a beta test starting April 12. Its new AI coach assistant will offer users tips on preventing their specific food waste as a way of testing the effectiveness of the new technology to help speed food waste prevention efforts. "While generative AI is still early in its journey, we're excited about what it can already offer in the food waste prevention space," says Leanpath Director of Product Brennan Hogan. "We'll continue to adapt this innovation based on customer feedback and usage."
4. Intelligent vending market set to boom in coming years
The market for intelligent vending machines—units equipped with advanced technologies like touch screens, facial recognition and machine learning algorithms that enable them to provide personalized recommendations to customers, accept cashless payments and monitor inventory levels in real-time—is expected to grow from an estimated $8.9 billion in 2022 to $25.2 billion by 2032. The market is being driven by the rising adoption of smart vending machines across various industries such as retail, healthcare, and transportation; hospitals are using them for dispensing medical supplies while airports supply travelers with snacks, drinks, and other travel essentials.
5. Chipotle using cutting edge tech to shrink its carbon footprint
Chipotle Mexican Grill first announced its carbon footprint reduction goal in late 2021, aiming to shrink its greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030 from a 2019 base year. The chain recently identified some new ways in which it plans to achieve that goal, including the introduction of a “responsible restaurant design,” with all-electric features from the kitchen to the solar panel rooftop. Two restaurants are already open with these design elements, and a third is planned for the summer. Further, more than 100 of the chain’s new restaurants opening next year will feature some of the design’s new elements.
Contact Mike Buzalka at [email protected]