I never thought I would see the day that Silicon Valley types made an important contribution to the food industry. Clearly I was wrong. Earlier this month the first Food Hackathon was held. The Food Hackathon brought programmers, designers, and other technical types together in a competition to create new products to improve the food ecosystem. Food Hackathon is the first event of its kind, empowering food lovers and techies to positively impact the production, storage, distribution, access, discovery, sharing, consumption, and social impact of food.
Teams created at the Food Hackathon will have an opportunity to demo their products and receive feedback from notable judges with a chance to win prizes and awards. They will be recognized in global food and tech communities and network with notable movers and shakers in Silicon Valley.
I tried a few of the products referred to in the articles with mixed results. The first is an iTunes app called Can I Eat, available for $1.99. You configure preferences and establish a daily guideline for your nutrition intake. You can then scan an ingredient bar code to determine how the food item fits into your diet.
The second is a website: http://unhungry.me/canyoucookme.html#. This site asks you to name up to ten ingredients that you have on-hand in your pantry. It suggests recipes that you might like from a web search. I personally think the search needs improvement because I didn’t like any of the recommended recipes and there wasn't a way to fine tune the search with my preferences.
Foodies are a discerning crowd with very individualized palates. One of the reasons we got into the recipe software and cookbook publishing business is because we wanted to create a platform where foodies could express their own palate. Generic food solutions will never satisfy foodie palates. It will be interesting to see if the hackaton teams figure this out.
There is a second Food Hackathon scheduled for June. It will be interesting to see what other innovations they come up. You can learn more at their website foodhackathon.com.