Tuesday, June 9, 2015

"The Future of Food Is Food"

From recode:
I’ve seen the future of food, and with all due respect to my visionary colleagues in Silicon Valley, it is not Soylent.

It is not Schmoylent or Schmilk, either.

The future of food is not a powder mixed with water to create an engineered superfood. It is not a race to consume calories as quickly as possible so as not to disrupt the disrupting. It is not alleviating the “pain point” of having to “waste time” eating food with friends and family, in order to maximize time building the next app.
If you are unfamiliar with Soylent and its various competitors, it is powdered drink that, when mixed with water, enables you to “never worry about food again,” according to its marketing materials.

Soylent is a cleverly engineered product marketed as an “alternative to traditional food,” ostensibly enabling people to “live life and focus on what is important to them instead of worrying about the time, expense and complexity of maintaining a balanced diet.”

When I first saw the promotional video for Soylent, I thought it was an advertisement for a Hooli project led by Gavin Belson, the fictional CEO of the fictional corporation in the HBO show “Silicon Valley.”

My skepticism is not rooted in a belief that the food industry isn’t ripe for disruption — to the contrary, it’s a $5 trillion sector in need of innovative startups to challenge the way food is produced, distributed and consumed. The “Big Food” industry has put profits over health, pushing processed food over real food for the past half century.

We also need to make sure our kids eat better meals in schools, with healthier choices that are still tasty and filling. The idea of our children sitting in lunch rooms drinking powdered shakes is about as dystopian as continuing to feed them overly processed junk foods. Full disclosure: I’ve put my money where my mouth is and invested heavily in companies like Revolution Foods and Sweetgreen aiming to do just that.

But rather, it reflects a Babylonian belief of some in Silicon Valley that even the most basic, fundamental aspect of human life is a mere earthly constraint to be left behind....MORE