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. Food delivery robots at center of bomb threat at Oregon State
One suspect has been arrested after Oregon State University reported a bomb threat related to its robot food delivery system. The robots were isolated to a safe location where a technician inspected them, and no explosive devices were found, according to a news release.
2. Just Walk Out stores at UCSD raise some student concerns
The University of California San Diego (UCSD) renovated its Sixth, Seventh, and Rogers Markets using Amazon’s JustWalkOut technology, allowing for speedier checkout. However, the functionality of this new technology has raised concerns from some students.
Read more: All eyes on the new marketplaces
3. Sugar substitute breakthrough at UC Davis
Scientists at the University of California, Davis, in partnership with the Mars Advanced Research Institute, have announced a significant breakthrough in the production of low-calorie sugar substitutes, such as allulose, which could help address one of the primary obstacles to the widespread adoption of these alternatives: production costs. Allulose (aka D-psicose) is a naturally occurring rare sugar that provides a viable alternative to sucrose (table sugar) because it has a similar taste, texture and functionality, making it an attractive option for those seeking to reduce their sugar intake.
4. Sodexo school food pre-order system in England wins technology award
Sodexo won the Best Use of Technology Award in the Foodservice Cateys 2023 competition in England for its School Food United (SFU) pre-ordering and payment platform for families and pupils across 140 of Sodexo's British school contracts. Currently, 23,000 parents are registered to use the app, which has been downloaded over 14,000 times, and there are 30,000 pupils on the system. More than 2.8 million meals have been ordered through SFU since its launch in 2021, with 260,000 meals served on a monthly basis, delivering a 20% increase in meals per school.
5. Robot makes salads at Sweetgreen restaurant in Illinois
It turns out robots can make decent chefs. Just ask salad chain Sweetgreen, which is testing automating some food preparation in order to speed up customer wait times and cut labor costs. At a Sweetgreen "Infinite Kitchen" restaurant in Naperville, Ill., a proprietary robot, not human salad makers, is handling the bulk of the work.
Contact Mike Buzalka at [email protected]