Impossible's "Ground Beef" is On It's Way and We're Ready For It
Hey I'm excited to have another editorial podcast with the spoon writers. How you doing everyone great. We have Catherine Lamb. Heo Chris Albrecht Mike and Jen Marston and we're GONNA start off going to you Chris because you wrote a story this past day or so about what essentially it looks like a smart shopping cart by company called Caper and there's been all this moving around like making grocery stores more intelligent allowing you to kind of walk in and out with your goods like Amazon go in this caper. smartcard sounds like it's basically putting the intelligence into the shopping cart yeah. It's really interesting so ever since Amazon go debuted at last year was the year before basically that's a it's a small store where you walk in you. Scan your phone and high tech cameras and sensors monitor what you pick up and then automatically charge you for whatever you take out of the store and there are a number of startups looking to retrofit retro fit grocery retailers with much the same technology but they all involve like pudding installing cameras in the ceilings sensors answers on the shelves or whatever but it involves retrofitting stores to enable that sort of cash earless checkout experience what Caper does is instead of installing all that stuff in the store itself it puts it all in the sharping shopping cart so it right now it uses a scanner but the next version will have computer vision so you basically just as you're putting in tomatoes or pasta or whatever the the card itself has like an LCD touchscreen on it which is equipped with cameras for computer collision and some sensors probably for weight so that you can see like if you grab four tomatoes it you you show you hold the tomatoes in front of the cart and then you put it in it knows that you bought X. Amount of weight of tomatoes or any other kind of package good you put in there and then it automatically just keep track of everything you're walking as you're shopping and the idea being that this is cheaper for retailers to adopt because they don't have to retrofit their store with thousands of little cameras they can just buy new shopping carts and the shopping carts then will keep track of everything you purchase and they just raised ten million but it it comes on the heels of another company called Zip in they just raised a strategic investment from a Brazilian retailer Gra Bango earlier this year I think raised twelve million so we're seeing this sort of a lot of movement in the in the cashier checkouts base go from sort of like hey concept to Oh. This is becoming a reality yeah. It seems like there's space race in terms of like investment in innovation around this keeper Smart Carlisle Looked Oto bit clunky in terms of the implementation. It looks like they're putting what essentially sounds like a barcode scanner. You're in the grocery cart and we're seeing going to move to more of a kind of a of image recognition thing. We're hey knows it's milk. My question is will consumers be trained and if you know I'm I'm half the time they're just going to half asleep or just tired. Will it take too much work to actually for the grocery cart to note and putting in or can they make so easily and friction free that works well for like someone who's just kind of half asleep grocery shopping well. I think there's a couple of things to that one. I is is like yes absolutely it should be a speedy process to where you shouldn't even have to pause as you're putting in that box of pasta you should just be able to kind of throw it in and it should be able to see it and yeah no it right so that would be friction list on your on your behalf in terms of walking through and filling in the cart the second thing though is they plan on using the screen is is to sort of provide recommendations so he could see you're buying pasta and meat and it would go like Oh. It looks like you're making Spaghetti. Here's a recipe for Spaghetti that you might like and here's a map to get all the ingredients in the store so it's not just about what you purchased but it's also creating a new sort of up excelling opportunities for retailers via the cart and you see this also in a more static way with aws smart shelf. which does this via smart displays in stores but so there's more to it than just purchasing so? I should know more about this but are is there a screen on the shopping cart. That would be telling you like. Here's a pasta recipe yeah yeah that's there's a touchscreen built into by the handle and so my things more would would be round. and I've heard other people talk about this is sort of they'd have to be shopping. Carts need to be pretty robust right like they get banged up around a lot and end customers are throwing toddlers who would probably Barf all over the touch screen at some point right like are they robust enough and I'm sure you know the people at caper aren't dumb dumbs. They've all gone shopping before right so I imagine that they're they're thinking about all this but it needs to be in addition to being high-tech it also needs to be not robust enough to handle sort of the wear and tear that they would experience and then the question for retailers becomes then well. How often do they have to replace these carts or the parts of these. How expensive are they like. You don't want a five hundred dollar shopping cart. I'm sure my shopping carts and bulker. I you know twenty thirty forty six. I have no idea how much curse costs colleague a lot a lot but this is just got a Smart Korea. Yeah like these are going to cost what normal shopping Cardi get it Albertson's. Those probably aren't that much money so you know when you put one hundred two hundred three hundred. Gerster maybe not that many how much is the cost and then maybe that I start to think about. Do you yeah like maybe a premium shopping experience for people who want to use this versus those who just want. He's the regular shopping cart well. It also calls into question things like what if I don't use a shopping carte. What if I use a basket and CAPER is thought of this already like I mentioned that before and I think they have you know th that's certainly not lost on them. Yeah I mean I think the bigger story. Though is this is now. We're not only seeing funding in the cashier checkout space but we're also seeing people go public with with partnerships so it's no longer just quiet pilot tests that are going on. TRIGO vision has you for Saul and Israel and they're rumored to be working with TESCO. Oh I haven't been able to get confirmation on that. and then the giant. Eagle chose grab-and-go earlier this summer and I cam sorry. I can't remember the name I also just want a butcher it but the the Brazilian grocery retailer Pick Zip in for a line so what what's happening is that these things are getting cashier. Checkout is getting funded. People aren't necessarily scared of Amazon in this space because Amazon really just build their own solution from start to finish right like that's not not necessarily something they're gonNA at least for now as they're building out their own stores. They're not gonna go to a Safeway or an Albertson's and refit him to be Amazon. Go stores you know they have their own line of whole foods stores and supposedly other grocery chains that they're working on so anyway watch. This space is basically what this further what capers funding is further indication of grocery tech is hot and I think we need to mark mapped. Marcin get to work on it now John. I also question for you. You changing subjects. There is a story that you wrote about the California Senate passing a new bill. GIG Were Bill. Ab Five and I think most of the stories I've seen have been about how it's going to impact uber lift but also impact Jordache and some of these third party delivery services and it could be fairly detrimental to the Business Monterey Right so assembly bill five is actually it's an expansion of legislation that was passed in two thousand eighteen gene in the state of California but what pass today is basically would treat these people whether it's an uber driver or a dash which is a door dash driver categorize them as employees not contract workers so that would entitle these people to who minimum wage workers comp it would allow them to unionize all those things that go along with being an employee of a company so the bill has amendments that it it's gone back to assembly in lawmakers are GonNa vote on the amendments. If that passes assembling ambling then Governor Gavin NEWSOM has to sign the bill which every buddy I've talked to and everything I've read suggests. He will probably do that because he's a big supporter of it. It will go into effect on January first. If that's the case. I think what the big question is is. How Oh this is obviously going to add a lot of it's GONNA up the amount of money these companies have to spend on operations if they're paying if they're paying all their workers as employees and so from these companies aren't necessarily profitable right now and I think as we cover a lot they're far from it. I mean I think Uber Chris was Uber who sat on their earnings called. They don't expect Uber eats to be profitable within the next six year at least yeah and they lost five partly so these companies aren't exactly raking in bank right now. what I think's really interesting is if you add this with propose delivery are proposed caps for restaurant commissions which is happening happening in a different state in New York but the two of those combined would just yeah they would really drastically alter these companies ability to operate the way they do now. Yeah I mean these companies like you said are not profitable yet and now they're. GonNa have to pay healthcare or whatever it's going to what I mean. I have mixed feelings on this right. I feel like I'm I'm kind of a fan of the GIG economy. I use ridesharing abuse food delivery. I think it oftentimes meet people in a place where they may need partial employment or or augmented employment the maybe not making enough as their other job. Maybe they're working in hotel and they want to do on the side so I think this provides sometimes times economic opportunity for people who want to be micro-entrepreneurs but at the same time like it's also away to basically not pay as much as other businesses and it so what is fairly disruptive to existing business models so I can see both sides of this. I definitely think that the the GIG economy is under attack on the legislative side ride and we'll see if they'll survive because this is actually going to be fairly big deal. I think and I think we also have to keep in mind that even if this does pass it's not not the end of the story. I mean you know I wrote this morning that one of the things that Uber Lift and door have done is they've basically mm pledged ninety million dollars. I think it was to get a ballot or to get a vote on the ballot. That would fight this if it passes so you know even if this goes into effect as law on January first. I don't think I mean I think this is the beginning of the story. I don't don't think we're anywhere near the end. It's just a matter of what you know. What are these companies like door. Dash GonNa do in the interim while this gets while they fight this'll sowell without being an expert on labor markets right. I know the. La People will take temp jobs temp agencies. I wonder if some point will it'll land in a space where the meekness akin to temporary job right because you don't get benefits if you're just kind of working a summer job at temp agency which I don't think you do oftentimes so maybe if one way around this is if there's a limited duration to the GIG. I just don't know where this is going to end up but it's going to be one to watch yeah. I mean I wouldn't be surprised if we see the GIG economy companies. Try and create some new like work role or position that gets. It's created so that they don't have to change their structure that much. I think that's definitely something that will come up in the future. The other thing that it's sort of the specter overall this too is just the sheer amount of money that all these companies have raised right built on sort of one idea of what a Gig what they have to pay out their workers offers. The door has raised. I don't even know how much like instant art of all raised over a billion dollars in door. Dash is expected to go public so they've got a lot writing on this and again you know even genu mentioned bring up the door dash problem with tipping and and you know what kind of jobs are being created. You know it's it's interesting you know the first the first dot com boom was all about kind of very simple websites pets.com dot com and we saw eventually that bust in the tougher companies came through on the other side. I feel like this wave of of Internet innovation or the past five years as sleeping around sharing economy sharing economy concepts whether it's Uber or Airbnb or we work in all these companies are coming integrator scrutiny at the same time with the specter of a potential recession next year so I think it's GonNa be a really interesting next couple of years and see to see what's happening to all these companies and what companies survive because as you said Christmas a ton of money in the sport in there all the big industries are fighting back from Tori and kind of just all the way they can't fight back and these companies are coming under greater scrutiny so I think it's going to be an interesting couple years another. You know it's just another example of big tech getting hit again which is happening more and more people aren't necessarily happy with the way the actual human being what what the effect on the human being is because of these technologies and how they're handled or not managed very well right now so yeah yeah. I agree with you. Mike I think it's going to be I think there's going to be a lot to discuss in the next year so speaking of disruptors and a a big big companies hitting back while this about that it's about impossible being interceptor in the meat industry and yeah and they transition yeah yeah and they're coming out with a product that reminds me of the beyond ground beef pack which I just tried recently. At least they teasing a new product that looks looks like would essentially as a twelve pack of ground beef for replacement Toyota about the story Catherine yes so to be clear they have not impossible impossible to my knowledge has not stated that this one hundred percent the product. They're GONNA do but they basically put out this tweet that said can you guess the first city to find us on shelves. We'll give you one hint and the hint is it somewhere that smells like palm trees which first of all like what a palm tree smell like but second of all that narrows was it down and in the little promo video also showed a little pack of twelve ounce it says impossible burger made from plants. It looks like ground beef. It looks like the beyond `and beef more particularly so we can sort of put together some pieces and say that a impossible is likely gonna hit retail with this ground beef product. At least we're assuming it's just one product you know they could do that and they're patty simultaneously but this is a little bit more unique product so I think it makes sense for them to come out with this first. They're basically just competing with beyond beef at this point and in terms of palm trees and if anyone else has any thoughts on this please tweet us or something but my thoughts were either. La They are Miami Palm Tree cities. They're both hip. They're both you know centers of food innovation and and there's arguments for Bo oh so l. a. closer to impossible headquarters and production facilities which are in northern California. L. is also like always on the cutting edge of like cool new food foodstuff. You know it seems like a nice sort of branding place to make that launch and then impossible is also Grohl oh no no that's actually Florida so that's kind of the L. A. Argument and then over on the other side we have Miami the other side of the country and and Chris brought up the point that that could be an interesting place to sort of launch this because Miami is a hotbed of General Retail Innovation Wall. Not specifically food stuff for later. There's a lot of like self driving cars and robotic warehouses for Grocery and also Florida has been one of the first states to to see a couple impossible products with fast food partners such as the little caesars and possible supreme pie and it was one of the first areas to get the impossible walker after its trial in St Louis so arguments to be said for either if I may a placing a bet I say l. a. it's gut feeling but also I just think in terms of like a branding perspective it makes more sense there's also although celebrities over there at Yahoo Love to instagram and I don't know it just seems a little bit more on Trend Bay you now. I'd say L. A. is my I also think that they probably wouldn't put a mockup or picture of what looks like twelve ounces of very specific packaging twelve bounces of of impossible beef unless they're going to come out with that. I might guesses that they would. That's the team. That's what it's going to be right yeah. I mean definitely that I think the other question. Russian is just. Are they going to simultaneously do other products but I'm guessing it's just going to be this one and in one city I and so we have it narrowed down to two so moral of the story. We know a lot more about this retail on which we've been. We've been hearing rumblings of for over six months then we found out it was in September that we found out it's September nineteenth. Everyone Mark Your calendars. Now we're finding out that at what the product is GonNa be and which possible to possible cities you think there will be people hanging out at the at the grocery store and the place is like Chris Remember when Windows Windows Ninety came out and everyone who hung out in the stores waiting for Roy or like the impossible be. I know that I love that you of all like the apple product launches that have happened in the past ten further. Come on you gotta like Windows Windows Ninety five because that's chandler from friends whereas on the promotional we're making fun of you for your references. France's I go. I think it's funny. I'm kind of wondering if it's going to be Florida just because then they could work out the kinks without having high profile instagram around to pick up any missteps or celebrities or whatever right I I I've not definitive the did on that but the if you think about just beyond chicken at KFC in Atlanta getting a Jillian people outside right like every every place that these things have hit has become you know there's been a frenzy might be too strong a word definitely yeah well see. I don't know the problem. I think we kind of went back and forth with this. I think Katherine a when I put out the newsletter this week which is what I'm afraid of being we write about this stuff all the time so we're super into it but what I don't know is sort of do where'd how how much of a bubble WFAN versus. How much do people really care right. So what is a once you get outside sort of the food tech circles. Do people really know beyond an impossible awesome that much. I know a lot of people who still haven't tried it yeah and I you know I'm I'm explaining it to people a lot like Oh. No it's made from this and it's really good and you should try. It and they're like Oh okay I've never ever I've never had one before. Certainly in social media like just kind of anecdotally. It's made that kind of the the transition to like kind of the to the broad mainstream in terms of people. Everyone's kind of trying it for the first time. At least I'm noticing on facebook great of my Non Tech Related Equity Folks on my facebook feed. Everyone's talking about hey. I just had an impossible burger as I think it's different being in retail because with the KFC launcher be Burger King these fast food places are like doing their our own marketing for it as well and we also knew like specifically which stores it was going to launch in so there was a lot of buzz around that but something like this retail first of all. We don't know which store it's GonNa be in. We don't know if it's going to be whole foods than Kroger. It's going to be some sort of really need local spot and also it's just like a little bit less sexy to like be lining up at the grocery store to get something as opposed to lining up a KFC. There's like media and they're handing out samples like we don't know what sort of fanfare will be happening around this but I can't imagine knittle be on the same level as these fast food. launches could be wrong but I am curious. If impossible will like how much in advance will give out this information you know well. They say it's happening right now at this one whole foods in Miami or will they say tomorrow this time this place there'll be this big festivities and a a food truck and you know fireworks so we'll see we also don't know how much it's GonNa cost and we don't know I guess those are the two big question marks where exactly it's GonNa be. What's IT GONNA cost the ground. The beyond ground cost ten bucks at my store for that. I don't even know whatever their packages. I don't know how Anthony also does well yeah. I have to say I'm much more excited about the prospect of a twelve ground versus like a stack of Patty's. I know that you guys kick Chris and Catherine of tried the beyond ground. I just had for the first time last week. thought it was really good much better than the the patty the had from beyond and I may tacos intimate hamburgers with it and I I like it and I was excited to try. It and I'm excited. Try them possible. Yeah Yeah also also sorry I was wrong. Sixteen we made a sixty we made a beyond lasagna the other night and it was malicious. Pasta Bolognese as with beyond and it was excellent sounds really good well. We know my stance is that I think it's to me which means it's doing a good job. You're wrong. They don't feel like going. Sorry my fault my pulse. We can do it out privately. Chris meanwhile while you guys are taking yet. I'M GONNA keep the next door which is a story that is about our startups. We're going to have its mark kitchen summit in just three or four weeks. Now we announce the startup startup showcase finalists twelve of them next next for this year and what I really like about this list because I'd love to hear what year is just How diverse the companies are we have everything from a a countertop chocolate maker to a couple companies doing food waste anti food waste kind of concepts to a new kind of Cook tops with a smart technology built in I'm really excited. and you guys know that. I kind of get over excited about chocolate so the terras can ask me a little bit too excited but I'm not on the judging panel. I purposely don't put myself in Japan because I'd probably cheese chocolate. But what do you guys think of this. I first of all there's a couple that we've covered before on the spoon so you know sticks fresh makes a sticker that can extend fresh fruit shelf life by two weeks. I think that's super cool. Impractical kind of in the vein of like a soggy feud sucks the company that won last year. That's like this relatively low tak not to say not complicated but not you know some sort of a fancy robot thing that could have actually a pretty widespread effect actually help you and the every day in the kitchen but then there's also some some sort of really futuristic once that excite me like this and I'm not sure you say it but an rich three D which is a three d. food printer that will extruded food items to matcher chur exact nutritional requirements taste preferences and like obviously a sticker that goes on your fruit to help it stay fresher for longer. Is something that we're. GonNa see a lot more quickly than a home three D. food printer that matches up with your nutritional profile but it's just cool to see the breadth of the startups that are that are thinking about how we're going to be eating food in the future. Chris is a couple of robots on their accent about. I am more than just a robot person. I have a three dimensional care story life story. I have a purpose I have needs and wants. You know I kinda. WanNa see the Millo. Is it meal or Milo Millo. I I'm I'm a little skeptical. it's a it's a very stylish blender. That's cordless and silent and efficient and beautiful according to their own press materials and it connects to your phone although you know honestly. I don't know if you need that but you know I'm wondering if this is an example of where they can take something mundane Dane and make it beautiful and mega like an object that people want right like a blender is a blender or is it and I think that's sort of interesting also if it I want to see if it has sort of the power necessary to really make a a you know a smoothie to pulverize fruit and vegetables it is and all that stuff I don't even blender to make soup or anything but I also would like it to not sound like a seven forty seven taking off in my kitchen in the morning and if I can make yeah smoothie while the rest of the house is asleep. 'CAUSE I get up earlier than everybody else. That would be amazing so I'm really intrigued by that one about this Barista robot I mean you kind of you've covered quite a few BARISTA robots. What does this one stack up the bottom. You know the I we'll have to see right like it is are they bringing the robot. We'll see I think it's an what's interesting about that. I think it's T- focused interest rate. I think it's like basically focused on out. TVD Oh yes so they started with a I did write about them. See this is what happens when you write so many posts in a day kind of forget about the ones what happened yesterday is gone. This was at the end of August but recent does this their A. B. to B. Play so they create their starting with a drink maker that for restaurants and it's connected to the cloud so they have a bunch of recipes and you restaurants can lease this machine. Actually I think it's free is what it is and then they pay a dollar forty two a dollar ninety per drink and they kind of the hook with Theresa. Is that not only do they provide the hardware and you download and a subscription service for the software but then you also get the ingredients through them so you know if you WANNA fusion t drink they provide all of it so this. I'm interested to see and if they bring it I'll be interested. I'm definitely just didn't tasting what they have but they can make anything from like mock tales to juices to fusion teas and stuff like that so I am curious. They are they are there. In trials. I think in a couple areas in California I product before this. They actually have a business I think already with like basically do they like Boba robot or something that I think already doing like providing products for Boba la places and this is like their second yeah these these the people who are the guy is from Tesla. He worked on the assembly lines. He was like one of the lead need engineers. I think that put together the robots that built the Model S. and Exim three for Tesla so Y- you know I definitely really am interested in what and this is sort of foothold to get the you know his rationale was every restaurant needs drinks so they're starting with the drink machine and and then from there they'll be able to expand into other types of food prep. I think the models tried and true right. I was just listening to built this this week's episode and they had the story of one one of my favorite kids my kids favorite product dipping dots yeah and the dip dip dots licensing model when he figured it out was basically you know you give the Cohen and they might be charged for the ingredients to make these dipping dots which I recommend that podcast you're in if you're a nerd like me but Yeah I. I think it's pretty cool. I just speak more broadly. These twelve companies like we have all these great companies like you said like the sticker company. Catherine DOC robotics a restaurant oriented ones home cooking one so it's just a great list. I'm excited about it. Good good variety. I think something for everyone and a good opportunity to mentioned that smart kitchen summit will be in just three and a half weeks and if you WANNA come I encourage you to come use Discount Code podcast or twenty five percent off tickets If you WANNA see these startups they will be there will also some future food startups doing interesting stuff that will be will be announcing this week as well so squashes lots of great programming so and you can eat all of us you can meet every one of us is going to be there so October. Seventh and eighth and Seattle waters will be dancing. The robot ricker spoilers well so much for the big so much for my agent. Hold me Chris Sorry about that. generally be dancing. Maybe I mean that's a no that is a definite. No there's no dance. I I do surprise people. I'll be dancing in my head with excitement. I plant moon walk on the stage so that is my big kind of entrance so keep an eye out offer that on Christian now you're GonNa have your Chris Moaning all right once again Mike overdoing doing the robot sounds but once again thank you guys coming on the podcast. This is a lot of fun absolutely is. All right have a good day everyone back but.