10 Top Trends and Innovations from CES 2024

LAS VEGAS – CES 2024 wasn’t solely a showcase of robots and gadgets; it also served up a tantalizing array of innovative food technologies and trends that are set to redefine the way we eat.

Let’s break down the most noteworthy innovations that emerged from the event in Las Vegas – from smart kitchen appliances to sustainable culinary items.

1. Sustainable Gastronomy at CES 2024

  • Vertical Farming: Companies like Plenty are developing cutting-edge indoor farming technologies, promising fresh, pesticide-free produce grown year-round, regardless of climate or season. Imagine leafy greens harvested on-site at restaurants, reducing transportation and environmental impact.
  • Plant-Based Alternatives: Beyond Meat and JUST Egg partnered on a “Sunrise Scramble” breakfast sandwich, highlighting the rising popularity of plant-based alternatives. Expect more meatless options and innovative plant-based ingredients like cultured and 3D-printed meat.
  • Food Waste Reduction: Companies like Apeel Sciences showcased edible coatings that extend the shelf life of fruits and vegetables, reducing food waste.
  • Seafood Takes Center Stage: Companies like Finless Foods and Kuleana are creating plant-based tuna, salmon, and shellfish, catering to the growing popularity of seafood alternatives and addressing sustainability concerns.

2. Tech-Enhanced Kitchens

  • Robot Chefs: Moley Robotics unveiled their robotic Chef Moto, capable of prepping and cooking elaborate meals from scratch. Imagine restaurants employing robot chefs for increased efficiency and consistency, even offering personalized dishes based on dietary preferences.
  • Connected Cookware: Companies like Brava showcased smart cooking appliances that connect to your phone, allowing you to control cooking remotely and access personalized recipes. Look for seamless integration between cookware and smart devices for ultimate culinary convenience.

3. Personalized Nutrition

This trend goes beyond traditional one-size-fits-all diets and embraces the power of data and technology to tailor nutrition to individual needs. It encompasses several developments:

  • DNA and Gut Microbiome Analysis: Companies like DayTwo and Nutrigene offer personalized meal plans based on your unique genetic makeup and gut bacteria, optimizing nutrition for health, performance, and disease prevention.
  • AI-Powered Food Tracking and Recommendations: Smart devices and apps like Nutrino scan meals and track nutrients, offering real-time feedback and personalized recommendations for healthier eating habits.
  • Smart Food Tracking: Devices like Nutrino’s wearable scanner connect to food databases, instantly telling you the nutritional content of your meals.

4. Culinary Experiences Reinvented

  • The Convergence of AR/VR with Culinary Experiences: The incorporation of Virtual Reality into the culinary sphere is facilitating a remarkable shift. Picture experiencing a culinary journey to Italy while savoring an authentic Italian meal crafted by a local chef in the comfort of your own kitchen. Companies such as Voke Restaurant exemplify a transformative trend that blurs the boundaries between travel and dining, offering immersive virtual experiences.
  • Haptic Feedback Dining: The dining experience is evolving with the exploration of haptic tableware. These innovations replicate textures and temperatures, enhancing the sensory aspect of dining, ultimately redefining how we perceive and engage with food.

5. The Future of Food Retail

  • Automated Grocery Stores: Amazon Go-style stores continue to evolve, with companies like Standard Cognition pioneering cashierless supermarkets that track shoppers’ movements and automatically charge them for chosen items.
  • Hyperlocal Food Delivery: Drones and robotic delivery services are on the rise, promising speedy delivery of fresh produce and prepared meals from local farms and restaurants. Look for increased options for sustainable and community-supported food delivery.

6. Tech-to-Table Delights on Display at CES 2024

In a monumental shift, the food industry is witnessing the rise of a megatrend that can be defined as the “Culinary Automation Revolution.” At its core, this trend is driven by the integration of advanced robotics and AI technologies into the culinary world.

  • Robot Cooks Take Over: At the forefront of this culinary revolution is Moley Robotics’ Chef Moto, an AI-powered chef. The strategic implication is profound: it liberates human chefs from repetitive tasks, allowing them to focus on creativity and innovation, while also creating stress-free, efficient kitchens.
  • Demonstrated Precision: The strategic significance lies in the demonstrated precision of these AI-powered robotic chefs. They’re not limited to basic tasks; they can perform elaborate culinary processes, from chopping vegetables with accuracy to sautéing and plating dishes with finesse.

7. The Rise of AI-Enhanced Smart Appliances

This trend is fundamentally reshaping how we interact with and utilize household appliances, going beyond their traditional functions to offer enhanced convenience in our daily lives.

  • Emotional Intelligence in Appliances: Devices like the “MoodUP” refrigerator analyze the user’s emotional state and adapt the ambiance by adjusting lighting and music accordingly. This goes beyond utility; it creates a harmonious environment that complements daily activities.
  • Holistic Automation: The trend extends beyond refrigerators. AI-powered dishwashers that learn cleaning preferences, self-cleaning ovens, and smart cookware that guides cooking processes represent a holistic approach to automation.

 8. Virtual Culinary Experiences Redefining Dining

This trend represents a significant shift in how people engage with culinary experiences, transcending traditional dining and offering immersive journeys that expand the boundaries of taste and ambiance.

  • A bridge between virtual and physical: Voke Restaurant, for example acts as a portal to a virtual world. This reimagining of dining allows users to transcend geographical limitations and immerse themselves in virtual landscapes while enjoying authentic cuisine from those very locations.
  • Unprecedented Convenience: Consumers can now partake in globally inspired culinary adventures without leaving their homes. This aligns with the growing demand for at-home experiences that offer diverse international cuisines and the comfort of home.

9. Haptic Feedback Feeds the Senses

At CES 2024, a panel discussion of esteemed experts from academia, tech firms, and the F&B industry converged to delve into the transformative influence of haptic feedback in dining experiences. The session illuminated both the challenges and opportunities on the horizon for future development.

While commercially available haptic F&B experiences are still limited, there’s growing interest and active research in this area. Consider Nestlé’s Haptic Packaging Research. The food giant is exploring the use of haptic feedback in packaging to provide information about product freshness, temperature, or even expiration dates through subtle vibrations or textures.

10. Beyond Liquid Experiential Beverages at CES 2024

The line between beverage and experience is blurring with:

  • Multi-Sensory Bars: Bars like The Molecule Project in London use aroma diffusers, temperature-controlled glasses, and even edible garnishes to create immersive and multi-sensory cocktail experiences.
  • Interactive Beverage Dispensers: Smart kiosks with touchscreens and voice-activated ordering systems are adding a layer of gamification to the beverage experience.

Editor’s note: Ivonne Kinser serves as the innovation advisor at The Food Institute. Kinser previously served as the head of marketing and innovation for Avocados From Mexico for nearly a decade and in 2023 founded Vantage Creative, a marketing innovation lab.

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