Food & Drink

From the latest openings to new ingredients, a deep-dive into the landscape of food and drink

Need to Know
02 : 05 : 19

A sticker that keeps fruit fresh for longer, Walmart’s transparent approach to AI-powered stores and restaurants buckle under the pressure to be mobile-savvy.

Public Records is a day-to-night listening club

Public Records, Brooklyn Public Records, Brooklyn
Public Records, Brooklyn Public Records, Brooklyn
Public Records, Brooklyn Public Records, Brooklyn

Brooklyn – The new venue and community centre is a space for musicians and audiophiles to experiment with sound.

During the day, Public Records is a vegan café and bar that showcases rare records. In the evening, it becomes a performance space with a state-of-the-art sound system for live acts and vinyl DJs. The venue is not just designed for nightlife but acts as a community space for artists and audiophiles to experiment with their sound.

Public Records is genre agnostic, with a line-up that includes minimalist techno and a weekly jazz series. ‘It’s really sort of a home audiophile approach in a commercial setting,’ co-founder Shane Davis tells Gothamist. ‘We really want to push people to think of this as a canvas and a platform for experimentation.’

With the global rise in vinyl sales and consumers taking a more considered approach to sound quality, new Listening Clubs are opening that take music appreciation to the next level.

Walmart tackles inventory with its IRL smart store

Walmart IRL Store, US Walmart IRL Store, US
Walmart IRL Store, US Walmart IRL Store, US

Levittown, New York – The budget retailer uses artificial intelligence (AI) to manage its inventory rather than facilitate a grab-and-go customer experience.

Walmart’s Intelligent Retail Lab – or IRL – store uses 1,500 cameras and a team of 100 store associates to ensure stock is constantly refreshed. It also uses various shelf sensors, which measure weight to count the remaining products on shelves. When stock runs low, associates are notified of what's needed and where via their smartphone.

This hardware is connected by 150,000 feet of cabling, which sits behind transparent glass in full view of customers. Although the store is technically a trial lab, its findings will be applied across Walmart’s existing 4,800 US stores.

Rather than rolling out a staff-less, futuristic concept echoing the likes of Amazon Go, Walmart is beginning its foray into Grocery AI-sles with technology that offers real, practical solutions.

StixFresh has a simple solution to food waste

Kirkland, WA – The food-tech start-up has developed a sticker than can help keep fruits fresh for up to two weeks longer.

The sticker contains an all-natural compound that creates a protective layer around the fruit, extending its shelf life. Recently awarded Best Packaging Technology at the 2019 World Food Innovation Awards, the StixFresh sticker provides a non-invasive solution that mimics the compounds plants naturally secrete to protect themselves from harmful environmental conditions.

‘Further independent studies have also shown that fruits treated with the StixFresh sticker show increased sweetness, higher retention of moisture, and sustained cellular structure resulting in increased firmness,’ says Moody Soliman, StixFresh co-founder and CEO.

The biotechnology currently works with apples, pears, avocadoes, mangoes, oranges and other citrus fruits, but the company is working to develop stickers for additional fruits and vegetables. For more on how innovations in packaging and storage are helping consumers to reduce food waste, read our Smart Food Storage microtrend.

Stixfresh Stixfresh

Jaguar Land Rover will let drivers earn cryptocurrency on the go

Jaguar smart wallet booth Jaguar smart wallet booth
Jaguar smart wallet booth Jaguar smart wallet booth

UK – The automotive company is testing technology that will allow consumers to earn cryptocurrency by using a range of connected car services.

Using its Smart Wallet technology, drivers can build credits by enabling their vehicles to automatically share data about road conditions, such as traffic jams and potholes, with navigation providers and local authorities. In turn, drivers will be able to use the credits to pay for a variety of everyday services, including tolls, parking and electric charging – and even coffee.

The cryptocurrency technology is currently being trialled at the new Jaguar Land Rover software engineering base in Shannon, Ireland, and forms part of the company’s Destination Zero strategy, which aims to achieve zero emissions, zero accidents and zero congestion. Building on ideas we first explored in The New Value Economy, equipping vehicles to play an integral role as data gatherers in the smart city of the future is key to achieving this target.

Stat: Restaurants are unprepared for digital innovations

Restaurant owners are increasingly under pressure to improve their use of mobile technology, according to a new report by Oracle. The research found that just 48% of restaurant operators feel prepared for future mobile innovations, while 59% believe their businesses could be under threat due to the prevalence of mobile-savvy competitors.

These restauranteurs are also aware of how mobile technology can improve their business’ labour costs, speed of service and repeat business, highlighting that they are missing out on a huge opportunity to experiment with mobile technology. With large-scale companies such as McDonald’s, Burger King and KFC ploughing budget into digital innovations and delivery mechanisms, restaurants are challenged to be more creative in their approach.

In the same vein as Storefront Salvation, operators must look beyond the physical and consider integrating an invisible layer of technology into their hospitality spaces.

Thought-starter: What’s next for China’s dairy market?

Fuelled by the belief that dairy products are a vital component of any healthy diet, Chinese consumers are adding an increasing selection of milk, cheese and yoghurt to their shopping baskets.

China was once perceived to be a nation that was largely lactose-intolerant, but its consumer behaviours are telling a different story. As demand for dairy booms, opportunities are emerging for brands to carve out a niche with consumers young and old by creating tailored offerings that appeal to the health-conscious and instil a sense of fun into the sector.

‘With more sophisticated and well-travelled palates, Chinese consumers are increasingly open to bold, exciting and unique tastes,’ says food company the Kerry Group. Traditionally, yoghurt in China has been flavoured with fruit but brands like the Inner Mongolia MengNiu Dairy Group are demonstrating the desire for unusual flavour profiles with the expansion of its Zuo yoghurt drinks range.

Elsewhere, a growing segment of the population is enjoying plant-based dairy alternatives. ‘We think that the opportunities for plant-based milks are huge in China,’ says Oatly spokesman Tobias Nordström. In fact, a strong familiarity with plant-based alternatives, such as soy milk and tofu, means appetite for both domestic and imported dairy alternatives is strong.

Read the full China Dairy Market here.

Yo Yogurt by Design Bakery Studio, China. Credits Marking Awards Yo Yogurt by Design Bakery Studio, China. Credits Marking Awards
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