Wonder’s Big Bet, Parc’s Cold Chain Spinout, an in-depth review of the 15-minute grocery store model
Will Wonder reinvent the food delivery business or become another cautionary tale? Only time will tell
Imagine you want to build a complete meal delivery business from scratch.
Not just the delivery part like Doordash. I’m talking about building a business that’s basically a complete food-in-a-box restaurant and delivery industry, a company that works with great chefs to develop new restaurant concepts, builds food production facilities centralized, creates a network of mini-kitchen centers around a large metropolitan area, and owns the delivery network to get food to people’s doorsteps.
In other words, everything. If that sounds like a grand vision, it is, and that’s exactly what Marc Lore is building with Wonder. The founder of Jet.com and Diapers.com described the concept in a Linkedin post last December:
Our innovative, vertically integrated approach begins with exclusive menus from the country’s top chefs and restaurants. A central commissary sources fresh, high-quality ingredients and serves as the starting point for each meal’s journey. Orders are then cooked, finished and served in our mobile kitchens just steps from your door, and served as soon as they are ready, allowing you to experience food the way it was meant to be enjoyed.
Lore is no stranger to big ideas that change the industry. He created Diapers.com, an early pioneer of online baby products (acquired by Amazon), and Jet.com, a discount online retailer acquired by Walmart in 2016. He also intends to build a utopian city in the American West.
Read the full story on The Spoon.
PARC Spinout EverCase uses electric and magnetic fields to store food in freezers without ice crystals
If you’ve ever put meat or fish in a freezer, you’ve probably noticed that it doesn’t look as fresh when thawed.
This is because the process of freezing food alters and damages its structure at the cellular level. When the temperature drops, the water molecules slow down and the ice crystal embryos form ice nucleation sites. From there, the ice spreads to freeze the whole piece of food. Water in food expands up to 9% when frozen, causing food cells to rupture. When frozen foods thaw, nutrients and flavors leak out of the food, often in the form of drip loss (that red liquid that drips from a reheated piece of red meat).
But what if you could store and preserve food in a freezer at sub-zero temperatures and avoid the damage caused by traditional freezing? That’s the idea behind a new startup called EverCase, a spin-out of legendary research and business incubator Xerox PARC.
Read the full story of EverCase’s freezing technology here at The Spoon.
Delivery and Grocery Technology
The case for 15-minute grocery delivery is moot. So why did he raise so much capital?
For about as long as I have been seriously observing the internet industry, companies have been trying to make home grocery delivery a business.
It started in the late 90s when companies like Webvan and Homegrocer raised massive capital after convincing investors that food shopping would largely be done online in the future.
Webvan would raise nearly $400 million in venture capital investment and another $375 million through an IPO. HomeGrocer has raised $440 million in venture capital and nearly $288 million has gone public.
None of this was enough. The two companies would eventually merge and go bankrupt less than a year later.
Of course, some online grocers have survived, some dating back to the early days of the internet. Ocado, conceived in 2000, continues to this day and is one of the largest online grocers (and grocery store automation technology companies).
But despite the occasional success story like Ocado, the reality is that online grocery shopping is a tough business, which perhaps seems to work as part of a larger omnichannel marketplace approach where grocers like Walmart, Kroger and now, yes, Amazon offer both in-person and online shopping experiences for the consumer. And even Ocado.com is essentially an omnichannel model, partnering in its early days with Waitrose.
Which brings us to the 15-minute grocery store category, a model built around hyper-local delivery with distributed micro distribution centers placed in dense urban markets like New York, Philadelphia and other locations. Startups in this space focus on convenience, offering a limited set of items, much like you might find at a convenience store like 7-Eleven (but usually with a little more fresh food sprinkled into the mix).
You can read the full story of 15-Minute Grocery’s questionable business model here at The Spoon.
Is Roku about to bring us buyable TV content featuring Martha Stewart and other culinary giants?
Last week, Walmart and Roku announced a deal that would allow viewers streaming through a Roku device to purchase items – including groceries – using their remote.
According to the announcement, the new experience will allow customers to click and purchase advertised items in “entertainment moments” (translation: during an actual performance and not an explicit advertisement), as well as during commercial breaks during the ad-supported programming. .
The new integration will allow viewers to click on a buyable ad and proceed to checkout. The customer’s payment information will be pre-populated from Roku Pay, Roku’s payment platform, then the customer presses “OK” on the Walmart checkout page to place the order. A Walmart purchase confirmation is emailed to the customer.
By bringing purchasable commerce to the TV screen, Walmart is going beyond the purchasable integrations the company has already achieved through partnerships with SideChef and Tasty. While the rise of video-centric social media platforms blurs the lines, watching TV (including streaming) is generally a very different experience from spending time in front of our computers doing things like shopping online.
Read the full story here.
Food of the future
Coming Out Of Stealth, Paleo Reveals Six Animal-Free And Non-GMO Heme Strains
In 2024, imagine walking into Burger King and ordering a gigantic burger. No, not one bigger than your head; this Whopper will taste like the extinct proboscideans that roamed the earth millions of years ago. It’s all part of the magic of a Belgian food ingredient company called Paleo.
After two years, Paleo has come out of stealth mode to announce its technology to bring the authentic taste and aroma of meat and fish to plant-based meat and fish substitutes with non-GMO and animal-free heme. As part of the announcement, the World Intellectual Property Organization published Paleo’s patent application, finally allowing Paleo to share details of its precision fermentation technology.
Hermes Sanctorum, CEO and Co-Founder of Paleo: “When we set out to create the ultimate animal-free meat or fish experience, we quickly focused on heme. Without exaggeration, we can say that we have cracked the heme code, allowing us to produce non-GMO heme that is bio-identical to the most popular meats and tuna – as well as mammoth.
Read the full post here at The Spoon.
Podcast: A conversation with Bruce Friedrich of the Good Food Institute
If you work in the alternative protein industry or are just interested in the space, chances are you’re familiar with the Good Food Institute.
In this episode, we sit down with GFI CEO and Founder Bruce Friedrich to talk all things alternative protein and the future of meat.
Some of the topics we cover in this podcast include:
- The current state of alternative protein sales
- Why plant-based meat sales plateaued in 2021
- The need to invest in alternative protein infrastructure
- The politics of alternative meat
- When will cultured meat get regulatory approval for retail sale in the United States
- The need for affirmative messages around alternative proteins
You can listen to the full episode below by clicking play or, as always, find it on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.
Food & Internet3
From the Paneraverse to the Wendyverse, the Food Web3 brand gold rush is on
While it’s uncertain at this point about the profitability of the food industry’s efforts to establish a presence in the metaverse, what we do know is that those who are bound to gain notice in the short term around all of these food network3 initiatives are brand advocates.
All anyone has to do is do an informal search of the USPTO’s Trademark Database or check out Brand Twitter (there’s a Twitter for everything) to see which food brands rushed to trademark Web3-related trademarks to ensure they have their reserved place in the metaverse for whenever they’re ready to take a trip.
Coverage of these filings in the crypto press is often modeled, usually featuring tweets from one of the few trademark attorneys who are making a name for themselves on crypto twitter talking about different trademark filings. Whether it’s Snickers or Chuck E. Cheese or Panda Express or you name it, stories usually tell us that these brands are ready to enter Where towards or already entered the metaverse.
To read the full story, click here!