After covering the smart home and emerging markets for over a decade as an analyst, Michael Wolf, founder of the Smart Kitchen Summit, started to see a quiet revolution happening in the kitchen. Technology was proliferating the way consumers engaged with and consumed food in all facets of the food industry, from foodservice to food manufacturing to e-commerce and retail, Wolf said.
“Leaders in these spaces don’t traditionally talk to one another often and many don’t have a strong grasp on how technology could potentially change their business,” he explained, adding that the lack of these conversations is what conceived the Smart Kitchen Summit in 2015.
This year’s summit, Oct. 10-11, in Seattle, Wash., will mark the event’s third year of mapping the future of food, cooking and the kitchen, the scope of which continues to grow each year with more brands and startups showing up in the food and kitchen technology space, Wolf said.
“We’ve seen more partnerships, more innovation and just an explosion in interest,” he told Smartbrief. “We’ve moved past the conversation about basic connectivity in the kitchen — a central theme in the first year — and now we’re diving into the next wave of tech that’s impacting the space, including artificial intelligence, robotics and machine.”
Themes of this year’s summit include personalized food and nutrition, virtual and augmented reality and food experiences, automation and the role robotics can play in the kitchen and how professional kitchen technology has impacted the modern consumer kitchen. Expect to hear from leaders from big appliance manufacturers, executives from CPG companies like Campbell Soup Company, retail giants like Amazon and big names in the restaurant space like Chefs Michael Voltaggio and Tyler Florence.
“Anyone who touches the food supply chain — whether at the retail or service level or in manufacturing needs to understand the role that technology is playing not just in the consumer kitchen but anywhere that consumers touch and interact with food and the role it will also play from a B2B perspective,” Wolf said. “Automation, robotics and AI will play a big role in transforming the entire food space – and there’s a dearth of startups ready to disrupt the field.”
The Startup Showcase and Pitchfest, which Wolf calls a crowd favorite, will give startups in the food and kitchen technology space a chance to pitch ideas to an audience of key decision makers and thought leaders.
Looking ahead, SKS plans to continue to grow and expand its international presence, Wolf said. It held its first event in Japan this year, marking its first foray into the international community, and plans to go to Dublin in June 2018.
Interested in joining the conversation? Join SKS Oct. 10-11, 2017, at Benaroya Hall in Seattle, Wash., for two days of networking, product demonstrations and programming, and enter the code SMARTBRIEF to receive 25% off registration.
SmartBrief is a media partner of the Smart Kitchen Summit.
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