This page is intended to outline evidence of macro trends in industry aligning with Infinite Food's strategy.
May 2018Yum! China (operator of KFC, Pizza Hut, etc.) reportedly announced a fifty city push to launch its own delivery platform, following a technology acquisition in May 2017. The report quotes an industry analyst: "The take-out market has enough space to accommodate multiple platforms. Although Meituan out and Eleme account for a relatively large market share, this does not mean that there will be a monopoly in the take-out market." The analysis continues, predicting that capacity is a key issue of growing importance for delivery platforms: "A top-selling platform executive who did not wish to be named pointed out that there is still a lot of room for the development of the takeout market. The importance of transport capacity for takeaway platforms will increase. In the immediate term, capacity will be the competitive focus between delivery platforms, as capacity not only determines the speed expansion, but also holds control over the customer relationship.". Infinite Food's strategy of local carry-out gives it a speed and capacity edge over the delivery paradigm, whose recent massive growth is widely understood to be based on unsustainable loss-leading growth subsidies.
A CB Insights report on the retail apocalypse concludes that "To survive, traditional retailers will have to continue to integrate technology into their brick-and-mortar operations. Specifically, technology will have to be leveraged to optimize overall operations, supply chain and logistics, as well as the customer journey. Retailers that can seamlessly integrate digital and physical commerce, leveraging their physical locations as showrooms for their e-commerce and logistics operations, while still maintaining personalized customer service, will have the best shot at powering through significant changes in the retail and consumer landscape." Infinite Food is precisely that company.
The South China Morning Post reports that a special strain of saltwater-tolerant rice has been developed that can achieve 2.5x the global average yield per hectare when irrigated with dilute seawater in desert conditions. Infinite Food believes this suggests that riceflour's future as a global staple remains secure.
April 2018US Meat and Poultry reports from Food Culture Forecast 2018 in Miami that consumer tastes have changed. "Historic expectations of reliability, efficiency, uniformity and predictability no longer resonate with today's time-starved shopper. Convenient snacks and meal solutions must offer health and wellness, experience, authenticity and distinction. Quick, easy and accessible are still important, but perhaps even more important now is the engagement, the empowerment... and flexibility". In the US "only 28 percent of dinners are created from scratch, down 3 percentage points since 2012. Just over half of dinners are decided within an hour of eating. Meanwhile, 41 percent of adult meals are consumed alone, up 3 percentage points from 2012." Infinite Food's capacity to deliver fully personalized, custom, hot, fresh meals reliably on demand is in perfect tune with these trends, which are accelerating in China.
According to data from the China Culinary Association, in 2017 China's catering industry reached 3.96 trillion yuan (USD$630 billion), an increase of 10.7% year-on-year, consistent with double digit growth for the past three years, and will reach 5 trillion yuan (USD$790 billion) by 2020. The fast food market in 2017 reached 700 billion yuan (USD$110 billion), a year-on-year increase of 15.32% — far higher than the growth rate of general retail. Fast food accounts for 35% of food retail in the US, 30% in Europe, 20% in Japan, and 10% in Hong Kong, but remains at 5% in China. Foreign operators such as KFC and McDonald's account for only 5% of this.
IGD Research predicts US$5.1 trillion growth by 2020 for convenience retail in Asia. "Asia’s large, congested cities with their younger and increasingly affluent populations are ideal incubators for proximity retailing."
In a VentureBeat article on Why some VCs are investing in hardware startups, summarizing a panel discussion at HardwareCon in San Jose, Ephraim Lindenbaum, managing director of Advance Ventures was quoted "In the food space there’s a ton of traction". Ashish Aggarwal, principal at Grishin Robotics added "Among the things we look at, food tech is one of the big things, where you start seeing innovation happening in how food is prepared, how food is delivered, how producers are meeting demand. On the consumer side, we're focused on how people spend time. You cook, clean, drive, sleep. Companies are looking at how to automate some aspect of life."
March 2018Alvin Leung is interviewed by Salt Magazine about the future of Chinese cuisine: "I don’t foresee any massive changes but technology and new techniques are being incorporated more and more in classic Chinese cooking now. So maybe robots making fried rice is the future."
February 2018Major US food retail chains are embroiled in a widely reported food retail price war, first details in a report by Credit Suisse in December. McDonalds, Wendy's and Taco Bell have all launched new budget menus. Infinite Food believes that this development underscores the fact that even in developed markets, price remains a critical factor in convenience food retail. This will bode well for Infinite Food's automated technology and robotics in its medium term push toward international markets.
January 2018Euromonitor releases a report on Chinese convenience stores, a key finding of which is that Ready To Eat (RTE) foods are a key growth area due to unmet breakfast and lunch demand for affordable cuisine in China's white collar urban workforce.
New York's The Future Market is a futurist food project and conceptual grocery store that explores how we will produce and shop for the food over the next 25 years, on display at the 2018 Winter Fancy Food Show at The Moscone Center, January 21-23: Uniform mass production and marketing have fallen out of favor. Food is customized and as diverse as the people who eat it. Food can be made on-demand and to the exact specifications of the eater. The food system of the future generally makes a lighter impression on the Earth. Food shopping hinges on digital interaction and robotic fulfillment. Data is used to generate meal suggestions based on preferences, nutritional needs, and mood. Food is prepared by pre-programmed robots, which allows for menus to include extensive offerings from a multitude of cuisines and regions. Unforgettable flavor and top-notch service is never compromised, even though the experience may be quick and casual.
Beijing's city government is reportedly trying to restimulate food retail after Beijing's new urban planning has led wholesale markets and street vendors to move out to reduce traffic congestion and reduce the population density in the capital. Urban residents are now having difficulty buying food.
December 2017Barclays analyst Karen Short described the majority of retailers as a "pack of mediocrity", emphasizing that "food is a much more difficult business than general merchandise, particularly due to the complexity of building a safe and cost efficient perishable supply chain". Infinite Food's significant investment in applying machine learning to real time supply chain management will create growth within this difficult segment that is hard to replicate.
Personal snacking is seeing sustained growth in developed economies, with the latest figures showing the market is now worth $33 billion in the U.S., as annual household spending on snacks increased to $133, about 1.1% over 2016. "Snack products that tout specific health claims drive the strongest uptick in sales. Non-GMO claims saw an 18.2% boost in sales for each of the past five years, followed by snack products that are free from artificial colors/flavors (16.2%) and no or reduced sugar claims (11.3%)." Infinite Food believes its rapid delivery, hot, personalized products are well positioned to expand to a range of developed markets over the coming years.
Bloomberg reports that "According to a United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, warming temperatures will reduce global agriculture yields more than 2 percent every decade, given current trends, as the world's population surges to 9 billion. Food prices could almost double by 2050." Infinite Food believes it is well positioned to provide technological solutions to provide cost effective food to urban populations.
Sandy Skrovan reports for Food Dive that "It's not much of a stretch to imagine robots and other automated technology penetrating food manufacturing facilities, processing plants and farms. According to Boston Consulting Group, today's robots, food-related or otherwise, only automate about 10% of the tasks that machines can perform, though that number is expected to increase to about 25% in the next decade." Infinite Food is excited by the opportunities presented by the 150% projected growth in industry-wide automation and looks forward as a new entrant to delivering the benefits of automation directly to the consumer.
BBC reports mainland Chinese instant noodle consumption is down almost 17% from a high in 2013, suggesting "Consumers are more interested in life quality than just filling their bellies these days." and quoting Kiyotaka Ando, CEO of Nissin — "most consumers want to increase the quality (of food they consume)". The trend toward healthier eating will continue and is directly in line with Infinite Food's strategy.
In a summary of modern production practices in the vehicle industry (incidentally, the famous origin of Henry Ford's factories and mass production!) Daily Kanban states "Cars can be made much faster without bots, as long as a line is purpose-built for one car. However, all that speed is lost when the line has to re-tool, which took months in the bad old days. A one-car line will sit idle when demand drops. That's why smart automakers have long traded line speed for the flexibility bots bring to the line. Modern car factories routinely produce eight or more different car models on the same line, in many cases built-to-order, each one different from the next in line. This allows a car manufacturer to ride out the ebbs and flows of car sales. As long as the line keeps moving, it doesn't matter which of its models sell more or less." Infinite Food will bring the same smart approach to hot meal production.
November 2017Scientific research in to the nature of airborne oils resulting from Asian cooking techniques are presented at the 70th annual meeting of the American Physical Society's Division of Fluid Dynamics in Denver, Colorado and widely reported. Infinite Food's advanced embedded cooking processes and total air filtration will completely prevent this type of damaging air pollution and ensure greater respiratory health for its customers.
October 2017"A robot that prepares my dinner is more valuable to me than a self driving car. Why? Well, when I leave work, I spend 45 minutes in the car, and another 45 minutes preparing dinner. With self driving cars, that will not change. But with self cooking chefs, that would add 45 minutes of quality time to my day." — @amelius on Google Has Made a Mess of Robotics, Bloomberg, October 13.
The Reformed Broker discusses automation, concluding "Just own the damn robots."
September 2017Price Waterhouse Coopers issuses a global report on technology IPOs, highlighting the significance of Chinese technology firms. "Both investment volume and value rose in the TMT [Telecommunications, Media and Technology] sectors, which again indicates that investors still believe that the TMT sectors in China have great potential," said Amanda Zhang, PwC North China private equity group leader. "The outstanding performance of large deals further reflects that investors prefer unicorn companies with leading positions and stable businesses." Zhang said. Infinite Food firmly believes that it will join the ranks of these unicorns.
August 2017Bloomberg quotes Kunihiko Tanaka, president and founder of Japan's second-largest sushi chain, Kura Corp, in an article about the origins and benefits of automation in the Japanese sushi industry. "The era where it's OK to make sushi with your bare hands is over." Infinite Food believes its technology will create similar change in other types of food preparation.
He Wen of Chunxiao Capital wrote an opinion piece stating that "The broken supply chains of Chinese convenience stores cannot support high-profit-margin products. On top of that, the high-profit-margin products, like ready-to-eat cooked food, account for very low sales in the stores."
July 2017Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences publishes a study, reported by the New York Times, concluding "working adults report greater happiness after spending money on a time-saving purchase than on a material purchase. This research reveals a previously unexamined route from wealth to well-being: spending money to buy free time. [...] Across several distinct samples, including adults from Canada, the United States, Denmark, The Netherlands, and a large sample of Dutch millionaires, buying time was linked to greater life satisfaction. These results held controlling for a wide range of demographics, as well as for the amount that respondents spent on groceries and material and experiential purchases each month. These results were not moderated by income, suggesting that people from various socioeconomic backgrounds benefit from making time-saving purchases. Furthermore, in a preregistered within-subjects experiment, making a time-saving purchase caused improvements in daily mood." This finding suggests that Infinite Food's convenient, automated, time-saving service is fundamentally well positioned to grow across a range of markets and socioeconomic demographics.
June 2017HSBC releases a report on trust in technology following a study of 12,000 people in 11 countries, concluding "rapidly developing markets in the East far more experimental with innovation than in the leading mature economies of the West. China and India are the most open to new technologies. In China, 89% believe that advances in technology will make the world a better place. China's consumers are years ahead of their counterparts in many developed economies in terms of how they ship and pay for what they buy."
UXPlanet publishes an accessible consumer psychology report on The IKEA effect, which Infinite Food will leverage.
MIT's Tangible Media Group created a method of engineering flat pasta so that it shape-shifts to assume a conventional three dimensional form on exposure to water, increasing shipping and storage density of non-continuous form noodle-likes by up to 67%. The technology, once mature, has the potential to increase Infinite Food's maximum number of servings per restock, further reducing overheads.
Seaweed pastas and other new noodle-like products are rising in popularity across Europe. Infinite Food is extremely well positioned to capitalize on this emerging product category.
Infinite Food relocates its operations to Shenzhen, as The Economist publishes an article revealing the city's rise to dominate global intellectual property generation.
Startup Grind publishes a meditation on consumer behavior with new products and services: people don't want something truly new, they want the familiar done differently.
March 2017Restaraunt Business Online discusses the trend toward national deployments of increased customer service automation (usually through kiosks) in leading American fast food and quick service restaurant chains such as McDonalds and Wendy's. Infinite Food will launch with superior technology.
Quick Service Restaurant Magazine published a feature on How Millennials' Love for Customization is Changing Quick Service. Bill Guilfoyle, associate professor of business management at The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, was quoted as stating "[Millenials] don't want the same old thing, but would rather do their own thing". Infinite Food's deep personalization allows customers to make their own custom orders, safe in the knowledge that they will be processed correctly every time.
In an analysis of robotics investment and outlook published by Dr. Travis Deyle (cofounder of Cobalt Robotics) in IEEE Spectrum, he concludes "There's a massive, untapped market for robots to be used in commercial spaces such as hotels, hospitals, offices, and retail stores."
February 2017The president of food industry consultancy Mattson was quoted in a media report highlighting the benefits of bypassing conventional retail channels: "You can hit niche consumers so well with digital advertising, it may not make sense to go through a traditional retailer". "Once you put a product into a retail market, you lose control of it. Going direct to consumer ensures freshness". "It's about figuring out what consumers who buy direct want, and then creating a new offering to meet that demand". Infinite Food is based on precisely this non-traditional approach to retail.
Market research giant NPD Group published statements regarding the findings of research for its Consumer Reports on Eating Share Trends (CREST) reports, which offer insights on consumer purchases of commercially prepared meals and snacks in key markets globally: "People want freshly prepared items in the home without having to spend a great deal of time in the kitchen." Younger consumers eat fresh foods at rates higher than older adults did when they were the same age. "As these younger consumers age their demand for freshness in a hurry will only increase".
In 2016 Starbucks adopted mobile ordering, which is also Infinite Food's primary ordering system. Starbucks' adoption of the technique is now reported to be so successful that it is causing in store traffic jams.
January 2017According to a new report by NPD Group, quick-service restaurants (QSR) will be the highest-growth sector of 2017 and recommended USPs are: targeting millennials and Gen Zs, allowing for customization, making outside dining worthwhile, embracing mobile ordering, partnering with third-party delivery services, and offering loyalty programs. These features are a virtual checklist of Infinite Food's launch-time strategy.
In mainland China, Infinite Food's initial market, many restaurants are closed for Chinese New Year as staff return home for a traditional holiday, generating a significant spike in frustrated demand for urban cuisine. This period, which repeats annually, aligns well with Infinite Food's emphasis on 24x7x365 availability.
December 2016According to an article at Prepared Foods examining engineered nanomaterials, consumers "struggle to remember to take a dietary supplement and seek convenience" and "more consumers want to receive minerals from the foods they already purchase and eat rather than take mineral supplements". This finding aligns well with Infinite Food's strategy of providing wholesome, freshly prepared meals from fresh, locally sourced ingredients.
The "world's most active hardware investor" HAX publishes The Rise of Gen H identifying food supply as one of only four major segments in the forward-looking health industry value-chain. Infinite Food sees applications for its technology in enabling true personalization of nutrition on the go.
US mega-chain Whole Foods identified 'Rethinking Pasta' as a top product trend for 2017: Pasta today has less influence from Italy and more from popular plant-based and clean-eating movements. Alternative-grain noodles made from quinoa, lentils and chickpeas are becoming favorites, while grain-free options such as spiralized veggies and kelp noodles also are on the rise. Still, fresh-milled and seasonal pastas are experiencing their own rise in popularity, showing that pasta, overall, has something to offer everyone. Infinite Food's analytical decision to focus on noodles and noodle soups as its core launch cuisine category precisely matches this trend.
The Food Marketing Institute published The Power of Fresh Prepared/Deli 2016 which found five key areas for retailers in this segment: "driving image, reputation and trips"; "Tying into mega trends and touting health and wellness claims"; "Focus on convenience as the overarching advantage"; "Elevate the profile of the food itself: driving food theater, ambiance, customization, professional chefs and meal inspiration"; "Offer variety across all types of meal options, including number of options, cuisines and regular rotation of offerings". All of these recommendations match Infinite Food's strategy for providing a broad range of custom, personalized meals prepared from quality, fresh ingredients.
November 2016Another US report by the NPD Group highlighted online sales channels as critical for all categories of snack purchasing, including healthier/ready-to-eat subcategory, noting that higher income households were the dominant demographic. This aligns well with Infinite Food's strategy of addressing demand for zero-wait food in the mainland Chinese white collar demographic.
A range of articles such as The future of personalisation and customisation and How manufacturers are personalizing and customizing their products discuss how leading brands such as Cadbury, Coca Cola, Kellogg and Oreo are embracing personalization in their product marketing. Infinite Food's core offering will embrace deep personalization to a level unobtainable by legacy brands.
The scientific journal Nature published a study Food color is in the eye of the beholder: the role of human trichromatic vision in food evaluation exploring the significance of red tones in food branding and presentation.
US consumer trend report identified freshness, sampling, local foods, specialty categories like gluten-free and ethnic, assistance with meal planning and diet key areas of consumer demand, with forward-looking retailers said to "emulate restaurant options in terms of freshness, quality, artisan-style and flavors". In addition, generational bias against processed foods was found to be steadily increasing. Finally, lighter colors signified cleaner labels and shorter ingredient lists to consumers. Infinite Food's fresh, personalized, international concept and brand identity aligns perfectly with these recommendations.
October 2016The leading international research journal Appetite published Modern foraging: Presence of food and energy density influence motivational processing of food advertisements, examining consumer food purchasing behavior, which found that "when healthy foods were more easily accessible, participants chose the healthier options available nearby instead of junk food". This aligns well with Infinite Food's convenience and availability USP, and its plans to establish service locations inside and around both commercial and residential real estate.
Make: magazine focuses on food hacking, suggesting that the time is right for the commercialization of food technology innovation.
September 2016Special dietary needs push demand for free-from foods: "More than one-third (36%) of Nielsen's global survey population said they or someone in their household deals with a food allergy or intolerance. Undeclared food allergens are one of the major reasons for FDA's Reportable Food Registry (RFR) reports and recalls. These recalls comprised almost half of the RFR reports from Sept. 8, 2013 to Sept. 7, 2014, the registry's fifth year of existence.". "In North America, consumers tend to not consume foods that are high in fat, sugar and sodium. In the Asia-Pacific region, consumers are more concerned with eating a vegetarian diet." "Simple ingredients and minimal processing continue to be mainstays in today's consumer purchase decisions." Infinite Food's freshly prepared, customized recipe, whole ingredient strategy aligns well with these trends.
IRI Worldwide's report The Omnichannel Journey: Translating Big Data into a Prescription for Growth concludes that food retailers must "adopt a customer management perspective will capture increased share of 360-degree spending and maximize customer lifetime value. Retailers must personalize the experience for each shopper across the entire path to purchase." — "know what key and target shoppers are looking for", "engage shoppers when, where and how it matters most to them", "deliver against needs and wants at the right time, through the right channel and at the right price". Infinite Food's mobile-focused strategy will enable unprecedented personalization of experience and industry-leading customer management. The report also concludes that "'I need it now' grocery trips comprise about two-thirds of shopping excursions and one-third of grocery expenditures." — further emphasizing the global urban shift toward ready-to-eat (RTE) and convenience/availability oriented retailing.
August 201694% of Americans admit to snacking at least once a day, and according to a new report from the US FDA (summary), half of US consumers' food budgets are spent on convenience, emphasizing the growth and profit potential of ready-to-eat food product retail.
A national survey commissioned by Foster Farms identified "73% of consumers have changed their opinions about the food they feel good about eating. 81% of consumers care more about the quality of ingredients, 83% choose healthier recipes, 81% eat more fruits and vegetables, and 63% seek more meat and poultry raised without hormones and antibiotics". Consumers "want their meals to taste good, but they also want to use ingredients they feel good about. Their priorities are high quality ingredients and time." In addition, the survey made conclusions about millenial generation members: "50% seek inspiration for recipes from social media, compared to 34% of older generations", "41% share food they cook on social media at least a few times a week, compared to 24% of non-millennials", "61% rely on recipes, compared to 54% of non-millennials", "77% try new recipes at least once a month, compared to 65% of non-millennials". These generational trends are perceived to be international in nature and align well with Infinite Food's strategy.
Analysis of long term breakfast trends: "Portable foods like breakfast bars, breakfast sandwiches, supplements and energy bars became increasingly popular over the past decade. Less convenient but more traditional breakfast staples, such as eggs, bacon and sausage experienced slight to moderate usage declines."
Articles on whole chain traceability and foodborne illness investigation explore the power of proper record keeping to provide safety and loss reduction in food and beverage supply chains. Infinite Food will launch with unrivalled degree of supply chain traceability for all ingredients.
July 2016A report from Datassential found that "foodservice is the top driver of profitability for convenience store operators. In fact, 77% of convenience stores claim that their foodservice offerings are 'very profitable.'" This evidence from existing operators strongly supports Infinite Food's availability and convenience strategy.
A report from Packaged Facts found that "Healthy snacks continued a steady sales growth pattern with a CAGR of 4.7% over the past five years, outpacing growth of the food and beverage industry as a whole".
March 2016Ele.me Scandal Puts China’s Online Food Delivery Industry Under Scrutiny: Ele.me, the Shanghai-based online food delivery service backed by Alibaba, Tencent and JD.com, was singled out in CCTV's annual "3.15" investigative TV program on Tuesday for allowing unqualified workers to deliver potentially unsanitary food to its customers. "You think you ordered food as pretty as in the pictures, but they were in reality made in unlicensed and filthy shacks that will cause you to vomit," the program said. Infinite Food's automated prepration systems with real time sensors and automated sanitation can provide the modern standards of cleanliness the mainland Chinese market and its regulators seek.
Euromonitor International's report Top 10 Global Consumer Trends for 2016 identified a large number of trends, including four global consumer trends in food and beverage marketing: gender blurring, greener food, mental wellbeing and overconnected consumers. The 'greener food' trend specifically identified 'all natural', 'no or limited sugar', 'no or limited artificial ingredients', 'no or limited fat', 'no trans-fat/hydrogenated oils', 'non-GMO', 'reduced or low calorie', and 'no or limited salt' as top considerations. In addition, 'fast casual' dining outpaced both 'casual' and 'fast food' in growth. Infinite Food's offering of customized hot meals prepared rapidly and conveniently from fresh, quality ingredients is well placed to meet these global consumer expectations.
December 2015The US Grocery Manufacturers Association SmartLabel initiative (subsequent discussion, subsequent consumer findings) aims to provide detailed food and beverage product information to consumers by the end of 2017. Infinite Food's mobile-first strategy will enable the provision of similar or greater levels of information to consumers without the requirement for them to first scan a QR code.
Nielsen reported that sales of "convenient breakfasts grew 40.5% year to date". "(2015) ushered in changing meal time occasions, welcomed on-the-go consumption and rolled out the red carpet for the all-day breakfast". "Health and wellness was top of mind for consumers." "2015 saw Americans spending more on eating out than on groceries." "New opportunities within the fresh prepared section, offering ready-to-eat or ready-to-heat offerings." "Deli prepared breakfast foods [grew] 15.7% [year on year]." These observations align well with Infinite Food's strategy.
November 2015According to E-commerce to be 'mission critical' for industry, overall food and beverage e-commerce sales in the US alone are expected to reach $12 billion by 2018.
October 2015The vast majority of reported cases of norovirus — the leading cause of foodborne disease outbreaks and illnesses across the US — have been linked to infected food industry workers. It was reported that more than half of US workers in the food industry, from farming to processing and beyond, said they "always" or "frequently" go to work when they're sick. Another 38% admitted that they "sometimes" go to work sick. However, a survey from the Chicago Council on Global Affairs the same month concluded that "American consumers are most concerned about food safety, followed by affordability and nutritional value of the foods they buy". Infinite Food will vastly reduce food workers' proximity to food preparation, thus eliminating or greatly reducing opportunities for spreading foodborne illness.
September 2015Chemicals in food bigger concern for consumers than foodborne illness. Infinite Food's strategy for just-in-time preparation of fresh meals from real ingredients is well aligned to address consumer concerns.
July 2015In Australia, a new study of universities and hospitals reveals a public craving for healthy vending machines.
June 2015In an interview, famous Kyoto restaurant Kikunoi's chef Yoshihiro Murata states "I think 50 years from now, the borders will be gone. We won't be talking about Nordic cuisine or Japanese cuisine anymore. It will be about what is delicious, without any sense of nationality. That will be the new cooking tradition."
March 2015The Washington Post declares The slow death of the home-cooked meal in America, revealing that, after a consistent downward trend beginning in the 1980s, "less than 60 percent of suppers served at home were actually cooked at home" in 2014. "At the current rate, less than half of all dinners eaten at home in this country will be homemade." ... "We're all looking for someone else to cook for us." Infinite Food believes this trend will accelerate in China and other developing nations as lifestyles change in response to urbanization.