When it comes to technology in the home, one of the most controversial and helpful places it is included is the kitchen. Homeowners have arguably more of a personal connection with this space than any other room in the house. Holidays, celebrations and family meals are constructed here; friends and families gather here. Many despise the thought of something cold and impersonal imposing on this intimate space but are interested in cutting down on the drudgery of certain tasks in a smart kitchen design.

According to the report released today from ResearchAndMarkets.com, the Global Smart Kitchen Appliances Market size was estimated at USD 18.51 billion in 2020. It is now is expected to reach USD 21.29 billion in 2021 and projected to grow at a CAGR of 15.34 percent, reaching USD 43.60 billion by 2026. On the heels of that news was the Smart Kitchen Summit, which took place virtually last week and annually covers all things food and cooking tech. Connected Design tuned into the virtual talks to find out more and break it down.

Robotic Smart Kitchen Designs on the Horizon
Again consumers do not want to give up the crafty, hands-on part of cooking. They want to get their hands dirty sometimes, allow their children to help and enjoy the fun part of making a dish. However, anything that will help shorten cleanup or can do the labor-intense tasks like chopping for them is welcome.

Enter innovative solutions like Money, which is a fully automated kitchen unit, consisting of cabinets, robotic arms and hands, a recipe recording system, a connected GUI screen with access to a library of recipes, and a full set of kitchen appliances and equipment that have been optimized for both for robot and human use. Or there is the less intense Julia robot from Nymble, which can dispense pre-cut ingredients, stir and cook all in the same device, allowing the user to do other tasks rather than hover by the stove. Both of these devices offer a certain type of consumer the ability to spend less time doing the boring parts of cooking and more time doing whatever it is they love more.

Sustainability in the Kitchen
Another big trend we picked up on was enhancing sustainable practices in the kitchen. There are now apps that help homeowners waste less food, use less water and cook more efficiently. Along with eco-friendly appliances and water-saving faucets, a popular product today – perhaps inspired by the pandemic – is home-grow kits. Take Babylon, which send you the full kit and then keeps your indoor garden in stock with subscription boxes and an app that helps you grow better foods. There is also Ava Gardens, an AI-powered smart garden that optimally nourishes and monitors your plants 24/7.

Healthier Living
Eating cleaner, more life-giving foods in a definite trend in this space today. Wearables like Fitbit and Apple Watch make it possible to track a user’s basic health data, and now other apps can help advise that user how to improve their health. What’s on the horizon now is integrating that data with the kitchen; soon your kitchen might be able to recommend what to eat that will help lower your cholesterol, order it and help you make it.

The sixth annual Startup Showcase took place at this year’s Smart Kitchen Summit, which features the most interesting new startups building innovative new products for the future of food and cooking. Here are the 10 finalists that were presented at the summit:

Minnow Technologies
Minnow Technologies is making an Amazon Locker for fresh takeout food. The connected food pickup pod can house takeout meals in an antimicrobial environment. Pods can be placed virtually anywhere and restaurants, food halls and other food businesses can leverage them to provide their customers and delivery providers with a safe and way to grab and go.

Cultured Decadence
Cultured Decadence is a cell-based tech startup creating a system that can produce seafood like crabs and lobsters sustainably. It does this using cell culture and tissue engineering techniques for the high-value portions of crabs and lobsters, producing no shells or wasteful organ pieces. It can also potentially eliminate the need for wild harvesting altogether and help create a more sustainable ocean ecosystem.

Satis.ai is a full-stack operating system for restaurant kitchens. The system uses live camera feeds in kitchens to analyze cooking processes and provide actionable feedback to back-of-house staff in real time as well as give owners/managers business intelligence to help increase efficiency, inventory ordering and customer order accuracy.

Zymmo LLC
Zymmo’s platform is a meal marketplace along and foodie social network that gives chefs a place to connect with local food lovers and potential customers. Zymmo allows chefs to publish their menus, promote their events and facilitate ordering and payments all in one app.

Bonbowl is a small appliance startup making an induction-based heating cooktop along with patent-pending cookware that can be used to cook with and eat from safely. Their induction technology enables power efficient cooking that uses half the power of electric stoves of similar size. The Bonbowl pot doubles as a bowl that consumers can eat right out of, eliminating a longer cleanup process and additional hardware.

Nymble Labs
Nymble Labs makes Julia, a domestic cooking robot that helps consumers cook healthy meals for their families. The cooking robot only requires users to select a recipe, chop up or gather the ingredients for said recipe and insert them into the device. Users press a button and Julia does the rest: heating at the right temps, adding ingredients at the right time, stirring and simmering until the meal is done and ready to be served.

Taste Boosters
Taste Boosters is the startup behind SpoonTEK, the world’s first taste-altering utensil. Using taste buds, the human body’s sensors and their patent-pending ionic technology, SpoonTEK can alter and enhance taste and flavor of any food dish.

Vobil is a startup that’s developed a voice-based e-commerce technology platform that links food ordering to connected car interfaces, allowing for entirely voice-based ordering, checkout and navigation to the store in real-time.

Kitche is a free app for iOS and Android phones that helps uers reduce food waste at home by helping change personal habits with what they buy and consume. The app uses a connection with an OCR (optical character recognition) engine and a food ontology database to help users know what they already have at home, even when they’re on the go. The app helps users understand how much money they waste every time they throw food out at home.

Piestro is an automated pizzeria startup that has created a standalone, fully-integrated cooking system for artisanal pizzas. From start to finish, it takes three minutes to make a pizza. Piestro will be able to press pizza dough, spread sauce and shredded cheese, add up to six desired toppings, and calculate the perfect cooking time based on the ingredients and humidity. Orders can be placed either in person at a public location (e.g., shopping malls, college campuses, movie theaters, hospitals or airports) and cooked in front of the customer. Customers can also opt to get the pizza even closer to their door by ordering through an app for delivery.