What Does the End of Nomiku Mean for Consumer Sous Vide?
So we're here. We're recording your editor. podcast Chris Albrecht just mentioned that. We're one week out from Christmas. Eve exciting nerve wracking. I haven't finished my shopping thing before we get into that What's go around the horn? I mentioned you Chris. How're you doing good? Thanks Mike. Happy Holidays happy holidays. I'm going to call you catherine lamb today Catherine Great. I just had a Christmas cookies for breakfast. So I'm in a very good place and in judging by your name on the podcast for those listeners. Know when we signed into our podcast recording we can pick makeup our name Jin Marston. Chosen to Carcelle humbug today. So you're not the holiday spirit. Jen I take it Oh you know I'll get there. She's got yeah I have a week. Yeah maybe maybe Catherine. Send me some of those Christmas cookies. That'll do the trick Christmas cookies. You're you're making Christmas. Cookies sent them around. Well they're there nondenominational holiday cookies but yes do they have. CBD In them not this batch. That's you're giving me some good ideas shoot. You put a warning on them if you're giving them to families and say hey this question is the question is much more fun to not put a warning on them and and see what happens very true. I'll let you guys know what went down next year. When we check back in the tension over those like tenth political conversations at Holiday Family family dinners? Maybe could just be more relaxed. Even though you know it's just GonNa be Kinda roll extra muscles a little bit man. Chill out all right. Let's Talk Food Tech One of the big stories of the past week I wrote about it. Was this past Friday. I We wrote about the news at Phnom Eq- A seminal an early consumer SUV startup was shutting. Its doors and they shut the doors. Basically last Friday us is a pretty quick thing was no roe forewarning I had a chance to talk with Lisa fetterman about the news and what she just told me is like they just couldn't make it work they can make it work. They have pivoted a year ago to also really start delivering food and center the company on basically since Zubeidi meals But and then the day this started to to struggle she'd indicated. They would need to raise money if they were to kind of sustain themselves in the long term and it just wasn't in the cards so This is interesting. I think it's maybe a little bit of a sign some of the struggles. Some of these startups have had Chris. You've been covering these company company. Says well what do you. What did you think this news at the risk of sounding I? It didn't surprise me is what I should say right because as you pointed out in your Article Mike you broke this story That they had pivoted sort of from hardware right there are a bunch of sous. vide out there I I got really into sous vide two years ago especially when I first started working at the spoon and then since then have been like. It's just too much work. You know you have to bring it back a water bath up to temperature sure and then you have to. You know sue the meat for however like an hour or whatever and then you have to finish it off and I know that Nanako pivoted more towards meals but it just seemed like I don't know it didn't seem like it was it didn't surprise me what I should say. They haven't gained it. Seems like nobody's really talking about them. it wasn't I duNno top of mind in any of anybody that I've talked with so and the combination of like a meal delivery delivery service. We've just seen those just haven't really worked that well especially when you're a small company like Nanako. I think what you said where it just takes too long long. It's not all that convenient really gets to the heart of it right. I mean I think we've learned from this That you know sous vide cirque. Waiters are not the next microwave as as much as they wanted to be that. I think that there's been attempts to make Su Vida easier to do because it is time consuming process almost by definition. So that's that's what really I think. It was at the core of their idea. Let's do these ready meals and just you know. Hey people just kind of put up you press the button and go but then the today's still takes twenty minutes half an hour. So it's it's just not the microwave on it takes too long and I think you know we also a little bit of a similar attempt by chef steps. Were they try to do their severity sauces. Because another competition is hey if I cook probably sauce together and wait another half an hour. It's a lot of work. So chef steps tried to go down that path and they didn't work in as we saw earlier this year chef steps also basically had had some struggles had basically Almost all do a significant amount of layoffs and then got acquired by reveal what followed or what came before that was a year a year ago or so. San Sayer shadow store. So it does seem like we're kind of seeing being essentially a changing of the guard or a really kind of a the consumer saving market Kind of reaching end of chapter the only really big exit we we saw was a Nova right well and even think about a Nova is coming out with a steam oven right. So they're kind of expanding beyond the SUV lead wand and in another startup. We mentioned it. In terms of kind of the SUV lead the carnage lack of a better term. Is I shop. which was a company that I for one of the first I companies? I wrote about it the spoon which was their whole meal Kit Hook was they created really tasty proteins steaks also buco and chicken And then would shrink wrap them so all you had to do them and they got out of and even part of the deal was when you when you got a subscription or order to box. They sent you a free SUV. He'd wand and they after awhile after not that long. I think less than a year around here. They got out of that business entirely because there then pivoted towards Other more business B. Two B. any type stuff but they were like even they recognized. They couldn't make any money off it yet. It's like this combination of like businesses where you try to combine hardware and meal delivery. These companies are trying to emulate in a way what what we saw a successful recipe successful kind of formulation in the coffee market with Espresso and courage. But as we weren't it's not really quite the same. I mean I think that there are companies like all of that actually are seeming to make a go of it but by and large that seems more accepting the exception to the rule. I think the differentiator that you pointed out Mike and why they're not the next. Microwave is just speed like Chris. Chris you said it to. I gotTA sued last year. Granted I betcha -Tarian so I don't use it as much. It's mainly for me but it's just the time thing I'm like okay. It takes thirty. He minutes lease to bring the water up to her alone. And then you have to cook it low and slow then you have to sear it. And even when I used the sauces from jewel the jewel ready saucers. That's a cool idea. But when I can just nuke something in the microwave or a frozen meal or any of these other things you're saying that just give you much more instantaneous results it's just it's not feasible for a week night really. Yeah I would agree with that. It almost seems like there. The SUV market is is trying to appeal to consumers who want convenience but then not delivering on that convenience what has taken off over the past year or two who is another category in air. fryers right so it's that isn't a category which allows you to cook food fairly quickly and it's a fairly straightforward thing. You put something in like a chicken chicken nugget out of the out of the frozen your freezer and it cooks at at you in a much. Taste your way much better way than than a microwave would and then also we seem to obviously the rapid rise in kind of runaway success of incident pop but that's cooking basically more complicated meals right. The thing about it is largely cooking by and large the slab of meat. Most people are used to throwing that on a grill. I I think there's room for new categories have further consumer kitchen and and we've seen that with the rise of air frying and pressure cookers. But we just I think consumers basically just tried seed and then it's just found largely too difficult. Yeah I mean. I used to work in a restaurant. That was the first time I ever saw us. WHO'VE E to veto their meat I think for something like that? It makes a lot of sense. 'cause you want it to be perfect time there's a lot of consistency but just it's too much trouble for home. Cook Cut. So that's one category of product that we've seen rise and start to inner struggles. But I still feel like. There's a lot of other categories trying to make a breakthrough. Chris you wrote wrote a piece just yesterday about some hits and misses in kitchen tech kickstarter. Talk about some things you saw this past year. kickstarter continues to be a place where entrepreneurs can crowd fund gets lots of money to fund their food tech dreams product ideas. It seems like if you really want to make money go do something in coffee or booze or some kind of drink because of the of the ones we covered last year the majority were Some related to drink so there was the coffee grinder which just launched last week and they've already raised more than six hundred thousand dollars and still have more than fifty days to go in their kickstarter. Your campaign The most T- decanters or brewer. I should say the UK G- Nitro Cold Brew Coffee Maker the Travel L. D. Kanter the stacy's clay called homebrew Schiller. Like all of these things are around. Well not only drinks but also passions right so beer making the coffee audience as anybody who's written the Spoon Jen and Katherine. I note like if we write about coffee. We get It gets a ton of traffic. There's such a rabid community around that that it's not a surprise that you're able to say. Hey if I can help you make your coffee better or more precise there are lots of people who are willing to spend a fair amount of money. I think the the owed grinder was like a two hundred forty nine bucks for preorder and all it does was grind. Your coffee and you can only do it. One batch at a time didn't even have a hopper on the top so You you know along with this though we've also covered throughout the year. How some of these have gone bust right like right press made its money? Last year they raised more than a million dollars for their no mess. French press but but then they still haven't really delivered tobacco's yet and The website has gone dark at different points and people are super backers. Are just like hey I spent you know. And they're just they're left holding the bag. which is caveat emptor and they and they take out? Thank anger on you Chris. Because you're one of the few people that I know that drake direct their anger somewhere much like the people who are curious about spin seemed to like come to meet asked me about it because We cover this so closely you know. Another emerging category that. I haven't seen on your but it just seems like in the last two months I've seen a new ways to basically take food to work or to school like these kind of smart food containers. Have you noticed kind. I'm an uptick in those that category. Too that I've written about the heat box and the knee oven are both very stylish. Modern Day lunchboxes. If you will that you can put your food food in and then it'll heat You can use an APP to set it to heat at a particular time the neon also comes with modules like a blender and a chiller so you can keep things things cold refrigerated or make a SMOOTHIE You know both of these got funded and are supposed to ship next year. The one and that was really surprising. And Catherine I appreciate your take on. This was arc reusable food containers. You wrote about them. We all thought that was a really good idea but they couldn't. They didn't even get funding. They they didn't even hit their goal. That was surprising to me. I mean so for anyone who doesn't know which probably most people didn't get funded so arc resembles is a career container that you're meant to take to like sort of fast casual place like to put layer even like a whole foods Fast or hot lunch area. And then you fill it up and you take it away. And they're silicon silicone so you can easily wash them In the dishwasher sure they are have specific measurements inside of them so that the really easy for food service workers to fill with. Say Half a cup of something I wonder if a lot of the issue was around. People just not really moon like thinking of that miss chest. Tupperware substitutes which aren't quite as appealing link. But really their whole thing was like no. This isn't just to keep your leftovers and is to take to these places these hot bars whatever and to fill up So that you're reducing using the amount of Single use plastics take away containers and I also wonder if some of the issue was food service not really wanting these sort of things things out there because even though like in California they're putting some regulations in place to encourage consumers to bring their own containers a lot of places. You go in and I've tried to do this before but like Oh could you possibly like even with coffee being like oh I brought man mug some places. Let's say we can't accept that for health reasons and so I think some people might have been skeptical optical about whether these would actually be accepted a lot of the places they go and eat. Yeah I think part of the problem is I think consumers are still trying to learn about what silicone is. I mean I think there's been a huge like it was a slow bill for Sasser so stature is basically a replacement for a ziplock bag. It's reusable what I like about. It is that you can cook can actually put it in a microwave and heat it whereas the thought of microwave is being a ziplock bag. I- Decision Eh. So yeah you could save eat it so like I think I think these types of like these categories containers are definitely gonna find more traction I also defined. I just had a fatal flaw on their kickstarter in that they had a forty thousand dollar goal and they reach twenty four thousand dollars which is a lot of money on almost three hundred backers but they just they set their target too. I so it's almost like basically a designer around their campaign but I I yeah. I'm surprised as to make it but I think this category in general is going to get more trashing. Yeah Yeah and interestingly. They also have operations based in the Netherlands. I believe as well and there's very successful so I think it's definitely partially the goal being really high and partially just attitudes consumers like in Europe. Maybe they're more open minded towards this less of a single use mentality whereas in the US might not be as willing to sort of pay for Pay To go out of our way to use something beyond just sort of maintenance of a single use container and in contrast we saw like a runaway success for go The ghosts on folks with their reasonable cutlery and they were. They're the folks that made the solar powered ovens and they went to cut. Were Colori that you can basically put in your in your wallet and take out at a restaurant and they raised three hundred thousand on. That Ginny wrote about them and I did. I think I'd put them in my gift guide but Catherine wrote about them as well. Thank you can share and you both white idea. I wake idea. Well I think as opposed to a reusable full container. The appealing thing about goes. Oh son is that it's small. Yeah it's supposed to fit inside your wallet or you're not going to take up a bunch of space. I think the one like the the difference in one of the reasons I wasn't necessarily one hundred percent surprised by arc not our campaign not being that successful because go sons convenient. You put it in your wallet. You put it in your purse. You don't have to think about it whereas something bigger you have to Kinda Hall around all day if you're going to use is it and I I think a lot of You know it's like quick service restaurants a spur of the moment purchases usually so you may not necessarily have it on you whereas theoretically at least you could just be carrying a thing of goes on cutler around with you everywhere you go and never think twice about it why thickest gets the magic combination of of like convenience and low consumer friction as well as like brings value to the consumers. You have to hit and some of these hit that some of them. Don't some people just want like cool cooking or coffee gadgets. And those always seem to do well but it always is like a mystery to predict what will succeed. Or what won't another prediction that about whether something will succeed or not is I predict a blue bottles GONNA struggle or they're going to completely zero waste in two thousand twenty they You may you wrote about this Jen. This past week a blue bottle coffee which has always been fairly progressive in terms of their You know some of the things. They're trying to attempt in trying to nudge. Their consumer stores better behavior. This is a really big one. They're trying to basically move towards zero waste that's all that's a big ass for their consumers and what they're going to have to to put up with. I think Chris Rock is D.. Convincing or makes them things west convenient for the consumer. Do you think that we ought to do it. You know I'm with you. I think the Sounder Brian Mehan in the announcement about it he straight up said this could be a huge failure an operational struggle and difficult difficult for consumers. So I I think they're aware But yeah I mean I think over all of a sudden even progressive chain like bluebottle which is always kind of appealed to a more progressive audience. I think in terms of these sustainability measures to overhaul your entire operation so that it's zero waste so that's you know not just reusable coffee cups that you have to now put a little deposit on and then remember bird to take it back to get it cleaned. It's if you want to whatever order at croissant. Like it's not gonNA come in a little one of those little paper bags. It's going to be unreasonable containing it. Just seems like a very expensive operation that you know. It makes me wonder why they're choosing going to overhaul the entire thing at once. As opposed to slowly introducing pieces of zero waste in Over say the course of a couple years And Yeah I mean I. I have to be honest. I'm a little bit skeptical about whether or not they're going to successfully successfully becomes zero waste across their US stores in twenty twenty but there's no doubt what they're doing is is gutsy and it's kind of a big moonshot type of approach. Chris you you wrote about it in the newsletter you compare them with the Tesla truck in terms of like. They're basically pony on muscular sink. Think for hit. Whatever one thinks? We're just going to do this. The cyber truck to be more specific just to make sure the right nomenclature. Yeah no I like you know I'm a big Fan. I had a college professor who once said that. He's a big fan of vertical cuts instead of horizontal cuts. The idea being that you just lop off something entirely and get the pain over with and I agree with what everybody's saying here right like this could be disastrous for the company. But if you're going to try it anywhere try it with blue bottle in a town. That's you know. They're based out of San Francisco and The it's a very progressive town bunch of techie people who who is ostensibly at least one to save the world I what I like is just. It's not a half. I like that. It's not a half-measure. I liked that he. They're just going all in Indus. I get we. It's something's gotTa be done. So let's do it like it always bothers me when I go into a place a you know like if I go to get I don't know like a croissant. Or whatever I don't need the bag I don't need you know I can. That's just more waste so I applaud it. I think it's great and I think it is very muskie in lower haight. Elon on. Musk he is doing his best to just drag us into the future With electric vehicles solar power. hyperloop all those things so you. So you know I'm all Bravo I say that'd be clapping Muskie in Muskie if if he if come out with the Cologne. I think you should call it muscular or just. Musk also interesting to me. That bluebottle Nestle right owns the majority stake in them. So you know this could function a couple of ways like one. They sort of have that assurance that they have like a big company like Nestle backing then. It's maybe a little bit it less of a risk to do something like this but it's also cool that Nestle is like all right with us and supporting it. Yeah it seems like something that could have just been killed in like some in the bowels of some Nestle Esley meeting somewhere said now knows I imagine blue bottles probably like a rounding error for Nestle. Yeah yeah true but this could be a cool way for them to be like look. We're progressive we're Nestle but we love zero ways like look we're supporting bluebottle and then blue motto yet to do it. Yeah I mean in Nestle's European right I honestly think there's a difference oftentimes between the sensibilities and and kind of like the abrasive. How much accompanying braces sustainability in a European company versus a North American? uh-huh yeah so this make some people uncomfortable. You know much like The Cyber Trek makes people a little bit uncomfortable about the future. But I'm telling you something that makes me. Maybe some people really uncomfortable this idea of like making milk without humans Catherine. You're about turtle tree labs last week this this company that looks who is looking to create milk from Lactating mammary gland cells. Talk about this dystopia kind of futuristic product. We may have some day. Yeah for sure. So they're based in Singapore and they as you said make They basically like lab grown meat but they just take the mammary gland cells of any animal. And then Put it in a solution and it the cells lactate so then they can separate the milk out from the cells so you know they can do that from cows. They can do that from sheep they can do that from goats and they can do it from humans so Interestingly enough I spoke to their CEO and CTO last week and in or two weeks ago and they said that their first product will likely be with their calling human milk AK press milk because It's quite a hyper hyper. Like they can enter the market in a much higher price point than you know. There's tons of alternatives to knock out there oatmeal. Whatever almond milk that are relatively inexpensive? It's bad the only alternative breastmilk is extremely expensive per lacked And they're hoping that they can Start selling relatively quickly by entering the market with human milk. I have no doubt though a there will be a market for this always is particularly high price point And we all know that MOMS want the best for their kids into this promises. Just maybe a better milk than like formula at the end. They can't afford proactive. OR THEY WANNA know turn into that. I'm sure they'll find the market It just feeds into the like the idea of it is just kind of weird so I'm just wondering if from abroad market basis that people be able to get used used to this idea. Yeah I don't know I mean. People are already not totally on board with the idea of cultured meat or eggs or whatever to begin again with the The gets like four and ten consumers the number kind of goes around but like that's how many people are like. Yeah we try this. Maybe we'll give it a go but it's a very narrow line to cross to go from like this is an interesting thing and it's really environmentally-friendly like there's an argument. Environmental Leeann to reducing our reliance. It's on animals by making meat and other ways you know human stuff is it's also just a lot more personal and a little bit more. Grossing roasting at like. It grosses people out a lot more quickly. I think just because we're like WHOA. That's crossing a line that like we're not okay with and they're making human milk like where else will we be going with this technology like. It's not just limited to like making it more ethical steak on your plate it can go a lot of different directions and some them. We might not be okay with so so I'm wondering Canada. I don't know if you know this. But who would they be disrupting in sort of the human milk space right because part of the issue with lab grown meat is that you have a lot of Interested traditional like incumbent. Party's who don't want it to succeed right your got your cattle ranchers in your your meat processors so they actively want to sort of muddy the waters around what is processed and what is lab. Grown meat You know I'm a middle aged dude dude so I I don't. I have very wary of stepping into sort of any debate around Breast Milk. I know that it can be a struggle for a lot of women just being being data knowing MOMS who struggle with it. But I'm just kinda curious. Is there at a that sort of speaks to me to the market for it like human milk is because I don't know if there is is a big big in all caps big human milk industry. That is that is that could be threatened by it. There's really only one other option right now. which which is pro acta which is basically as far as I know in some limited research here? It's women who donate their breast milk. That then pasteurized tries and given to babies specifically I think in hospitals which is where I maybe see this product at least at first like given to sort of preemies babies that may be would would benefit from whatever is impressed. That's not in formula Or then eventually I could see if things get more normalized it could be moms. who like? Maybe can't breastfeed breastfeed or don't want to X. Y. Z.. But for right now there's really only one competitor proactive and it is very expensive. It's like hundreds of dollars per bottle. which is the price of the turtles relapse? Elapsed would be well. That's that for this this week. Who else has any Any sort of shopping to do Catherine. You don't do your shopping. I have one gift remaining for my mom Tom. Sorry Mamata listening but I have ideas. We won't tell her walk. Chris does your mom. Listen to the podcast you no. I don't know if she does. I know she reads critical. I don't know she listens to the case he could tell us. How did you get any get food? Tech for I did so mom if you happen to be listening turnoff not off now I actually back to speaking of hardware. I actually backed of the Brew Tea Maker which now that I think about it. I forgot to mention in my roundup. Ironically really it is a countertop tea maker and what I like about it is that it only it only bruce like one cup of tea at a time so you can put in loose leaf tea. They drink a lot of tea on rather than boiling an entire kettle of water they can just put in the loose leaf brew that one cup of tea at the temperature they want and they're done with the Nice hopefully won't arrive by Christmas but hopefully a it will get made And be They'll you know it it will come out and I can go to him at some point in the next year. Jen What did you get for your family. Any sort of food tech gifts Well like Chris Justin Justin. I'll tell my mom to quit listening if she wants. I did get her an ember because she is definitely a woo. ooh always running to the microwave to heat up. Really love your mom. You know it's Nice. Yeah show look through food tech Yeah I have to be honest. I'm one of those people who Forgets to shop and then panics at the last minute so I'll give it a few days and I'll be thinking about that stuff. I thought that showed love through food. Tech's should be like our new catchphrase I like That's next year. Next year's holiday gift guide tagline. That is all right guys. Well this Oughta Fun mm-hmm we will probably take next week off. Enters a podcast so everyone who is listening have a great holiday season and enjoy and spread left through. Thanks everyone everyone.