Have an innovative food idea? IKEA wants you to come to Sweden

Y’all know I’m an IKEA fan.

I didn’t have strong feelings one way or another about the Swedish furniture behemoth until I went to a midsummer smorgasbord dinner a few years ago and met all kinds of Swedes and suecophiles. Then I went to Sweden on an ancestry trip last year and immediately hit IKEA for a taste (and feel) of my Scandinavian homeland.

Austin American-Statesman food writer Addie Broyles fills her plate with traditional Swedish cuisine on Friday, June 14, 2013 at IKEA’s midsummer smorgasbord feast. The event returns in 2017 on Friday, June 16. Andy Sharp / For the American-Statesman.

The Round Rock IKEA is hosting that midsummer smorgasbord again on Friday. The first seating is from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m., and then the restaurant staff will reset the buffet to start again from 6 to 8 p.m. Tickets cost $12.99 for adults and $2.99 for kids if you’re an IKEA Family member. (It’s free to join and will save you $4 per ticket to the dinner. You can buy tickets ahead of time at ikea.com/us/en/store/round_rock/activities.)

If you love cured salmon, rye bread, cheesy potatoes, meatballs and lingonberry soda, you should check out this dinner sometime. The menu is bigger than what IKEA usually offers, and you’ll get a chance to chat with all kinds of Swedish-loving folks from Central Texas.

The IKEA news this week that caught my eye, however, has nothing to do with tomorrow’s dinner.

The company announced this week that it is hosting a startup competition for entrepreneurs and innovators who align with IKEA’s mission of combining high-quality, purposeful design and sustainability.

IKEA is hosting a startup bootcamp later this year that includes an invitation for food companies to apply. Contributed by IKEA

From the website:

IKEA Bootcamp is about collaborating and co-building with startups. We are looking for startups to help us solve the IKEA ‘Big Problems’ around being truly affordable for the many people, reaching and interacting with the many, and enabling a positive impact on the planet, people and society.

Most of the startups that enter will likely have ties to home goods, but IKEA is specifically seeking food innovators. On the site, they suggest areas such as urban farming (think in-home aquaponics or vertical farm systems), VR food tasting, new ingredients (like maybe Austin’s Aketta?), sustainable sourcing, food conservation and healthy eating.

The winners will go to Älmhult, Sweden from September to December this year to work with the IKEA team and other startups to build and improve their ideas. Interested? Check out ikeabootcamp.rainmaking.io to apply.


Outrider — ‘Airbnb for hunting’ — connects landowners, hunters

It’s not a big hunting season right now, but it’s time to start planning ahead if you want to book a weekend this fall or winter.

About a year ago, I wanted to go hunting for the first time but didn’t have access to land, gear or the know-how to get started — and didn’t want to splurge on a big guided group hunting package. A friend eventually invited me to his property and accompanied me on my first hunting expedition, but without knowing someone with land and deer stands, who knows when I would have finally had a chance to try it.

Outrider is a new Austin-based website that connects landowners with hunters, similar to the way Airbnb connects homeowners with travelers. Contributed by Outrider

An Austin-based website wants to make that exchange between people who want to hunt and people who already have land easier. Founded by photographer, entrepreneur and hunting enthusiast Logan Crable, Outrider launched recently as an “Airbnb for hunting” to allow private landowners to connect with prospective hunters and vice versa.

Crable works with Feral Austin, which has a kitchen specifically outfitted to butcher game and process the meat into sausages or other proteins. On the site, you can specify various requests, whether you’re just looking for a place to stay on the land or you need gear and a guide. Outrider also allows landowners to specify if they have feral hogs they’d like to have eradicated. You can check out the site at outrider.us.

Did Amazon just reveal the grocery store of the future? What happened to the check-out lanes?

It’s a Monday morning in December, and I just saw a glimpse of the future of grocery shopping.

A future where there are no check-out lines. Where sensors on the shelves can determine when you’ve picked up a product to buy but then change your mind and put it back. Where you scan your phone to walk into the store and then stroll out without interacting with a cashier.

People have been debating what the future of grocery stores looks like for a long time: Smart carts, digital coupons, smaller stores, bigger delivery sales, etc.

But I’m not sure any of us were prepared for what Amazon just announced.

Early next year, Amazon will open its premiere Amazon Go store at 2131 Seventh Ave. in downtown Seattle. From the video and an FAQ on the website, we know that you’ll have to scan your phone in order to get into the store, but once they know you’re there, the sensor technology in the shelves will know when you’ve picked up a product (or put it back) based on the proximity of your phone to the shelf.

(I have no idea what happens when the store is busy because the products themselves *probably* won’t have the sensors actually attached to them, but I could be wrong. Actually, I might be happy to be wrong on that one because it would require quite a bit of human labor to affix sensors to the thousands of products in the store, which would help offset some of the job losses that would come from not requiring cashiers.)

Without check-out lines, the new Amazon Go store that will open next year in Seattle uses sensor technology to determine when you’ve selected an item, and then you are charged for it after you walk out of the stores. Contributed by Amazon

The retail giant could have picked any kind of goods to sell at this debut 1,800-square-foot store, but they picked food. Why? Food is expensive to ship and it’s a product we often prefer to buy ourselves because we rely on our senses to help us make purchasing decisions. Plus, if you just want to buy a drink or a sandwich, you don’t necessarily want to buy it online for delivery.

The store has been in development for four years, and it will feature “ready-to-eat breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks made fresh every day by our on-site chefs and favorite local kitchens and bakeries. Our selection of grocery essentials ranges from staples like bread and milk to artisan cheeses and locally made chocolates. You’ll find well-known brands we love, plus special finds we’re excited to introduce to customers. For a quick home-cooked dinner, pick up one of our chef-designed Amazon Meal Kits, with all the ingredients you need to make a meal for two in about 30 minutes.”

Yes, they’ve tapped into one more major food trend by making those meal kits available for purchase in the store, too.

It sounds like the store already open to Amazon employees in a beta program, but the company announced that the store would be open to the public in early 2017.

Is it crazy that I’m thinking about buying a plane ticket to Seattle just to check it out? Probably.

Am I crazy to think that this could be what the future of grocery shopping really looks like? Probably not.

Twizoo searches tweets for restaurant advice

twizoowebEven with so many review sites such as Yelp, many of us are more likely to post our opinions about a restaurant on social media instead of submitting an official review.

The London-based Twizoo, one of a handful of local apps we’re featuring in next week’s food section, pulls in tweets from Twitter and analyzes them for sentiment, context, credibility and influence. You can then use your location or type of food you’re looking for to search tweets to find both recommendations and places to avoid.

The service is available in a number of cities, both as an app and at twizoo.com.

Overwhelmed by delivery options? Harvest helps sort out services

harvestdeliveryOf the many apps that have launched since last year’s SXSW, Harvest Delivery could be one of the most useful.

It’s an Austin-based app, this one “the Kayak of food delivery.”

That’s a reference to the website that aggregates travel sites, but instead of buying plane tickets, Harvest helps you sort out all the food and beverage delivery options based on where you live (or want the goods delivered) and what you want to order. You can also compare delivery times and fees.

Harvest doesn’t charge a fee on top of the ones charged by the delivery company that fulfills the order, but you can order and check out through the app.

Right now, it only works in Austin, but as countless delivery services pop up, the demand for a site to sort them all out will grow, too. Visit harvestd.com to use the browser version or download the app.

Austin-based Dindr wants you to swipe right for food you like

The storm of exciting new apps debuting at South by Southwest is thundering through Austin. On the food desk, it’s been hard to keep up with all of them, in fact. Here is the first of several apps we’re writing about for next week’s food section that might be handy as you’re sorting through the SXSW food options, or trying to avoid the madness.

dindrDindr is like Tinder for dinner.

This Austin-based app allows you to look at food photos from restaurants in any U.S. city and, like the popular dating site, swipe left for food you’re not interested in and right for dishes that are right up your alley.

As you swipe photos, Dindr can help recommend restaurants and dishes based on your preferences. You can also filter what kind of photos you’re browsing by meal type, cuisine, price, popularity or neighborhood. The app does offer in-app photo editing and user profiles, making it almost a food-exclusive Instagram of sorts.

Dindr is only available through the app store, but you can go to dindrapp.com to find out more.


For better or worse, it’s a chef’s world at SXSW’s SouthBites

“That’s a lot of chefs for a technology festival.”

That was one of my first thoughts as I dug into the food programming for this year’s South by Southwest.southbites_dec_collage_conv_bigtop-ready

More than 20 of them, including SXSW first-timers Danny Meyer, Ludo Lefebvre and Jose Andres, will appear on dozens of food-focused panels at SXSW’s food-focused SouthBites, which takes place March 11 to 14 at several venues downtown but mostly the Driskill Hotel.

When it comes to the big names, it’s mostly repeats, including featured sessions with Anthony Bourdain and Andrew Zimmern, as well as plenty of programming we’ve seen before, such as a panel on whether food bloggers belong at the proverbial table and another on the future of grocery shopping and “smartcarts” that feels nearly identical to one in 2013.

I know duplicate content at conferences like these is common, especially when there are so many panels to attend each year and so many new attendees, but it does seem like there are plenty of relevant subjects missing from the lineup that I’d rather seen instead, such as how Favor, UberEats and Amazon Now have broken into the mainstream, as well as how technology is propelling the meal kit industry.

There’s a real lack of diversity, in general, among the panelists, and there aren’t any fresh takes on smart cooking devices, food apps and cookbooks/magazines/food publishing.

I was surprised to see Zimmern scheduled to speak again with Hampton Creek CEO Josh Tetrick, who was his panel partner at SXSW last year.

Bourdain as a headliner is certainly a draw for big crowds, but I’m curious to see what he’ll say that’s different from his boozy keynote in 2012. The fact that, as a Roads & Kingdoms backer, he’s being interviewed by one of the co-founders of the site to talk about new publishing models feels like a slippery slope of self-congratulations.

I also can’t figure out what this chef-heavy panel on why cooks should pay their dues in a physical kitchen has to do with tech culture, especially when there’s a much more relevant (and tech-focused) conversation to be had about the changing nature of culinary education now that culinary schools are in trouble. (Maybe that news will come up, but the panel description doesn’t hint at it.)

PP56337I like seeing some subjects usually reserved for SXSW Eco, such as food waste and scarcity, bycatch, lab meat and the food supply chain, as well as the panels on how chefs can use their platforms to create more equity in the industry and another with Whole Foods and Instacart that will hopefully reveal some insights into the booming grocery delivery space.

I’m super excited to hear Michael Twitty, one of, if not the lone African American in the entire SouthBites speaking lineup (please correct me if I’m wrong — abroyles@statesman.com), talk with Eater editor Helen Rosner and NYC chef Alex Stupak about cultural appropriation in restaurants.

I don’t see Monsanto’s influence on SouthBites as I have at recent SXSW Eco conferences, but I’m eager to see if the food myth panel with SciBabe and another called In Defense of Big Food churn up as much discussion as I hope they will.

UPDATE: In the non-SouthBites programming, I found a food panel from the same company, 6SensorLabs, that is doing the Sensors, Transparency and the Modern Restaurants panel below. I also noted that organizers must have done away with their rule against an attendees speaking on multiple panels, because there are definitely duplicates.

UPDATE 2.0: The folks at Favor reached out to let me know that their CEO is speaking with executives from Drizly, the alcohol delivery app, and Alfred and Washio, two other delivery and task-outsourcing app, in a panel called “More, Now, Again: How On Demand Changed Our Lives” at 11 a.m. Saturday, March 12 at the Hilton Austin, Salon C.

Friday, March 11

11 a.m. Dirt, Drones and Data: The Future of Farming (Austin Convention Center, Room 5ABC) A workshop on technology-focused agriculture with folks from Frog Design.

12:30 p.m. Danny Meyer and the Age of No-Tipping (Austin Convention Center, Ballroom D) New York restaurateur (and Shake Shack founder) Danny Meyer will talk about his controversial no-tipping policy with Bon Appetit editor-in-chief Adam Rapoport.

2 p.m. Food of the Americas: Dishes from Our Ancestors (Old School Bar) San Antonio chef Diego Galicia talks about how old food traditions can influence new ways of cooking.

3:30 p.m. Creating an Agricultural Oasis in an Urban Setting (Old School Bar) MIT CityFarm founder Caleb Harper, San Antonio restaurant owner Rob Flemming and Suzanne Etheredge, CEO nonprofit Culinaria, will talk about urban farms and city design, including Culinaria’s urban farm in San Antonio.

3:30 p.m. Digital Engagement Prep List for Your Restaurant (Hilton Austin, Room 412) In this workshop, restaurant owners who want to spiff up their websites and social presence.

5 p.m. Food + Tech Meet Up (JW Marriott, Room 209) An annual meet up hosted by Austin restaurateur Sharon Mays, owner of Baby Greens.

5 p.m. Tech vs Craft: Making Food, Wine and Spirits (Old School Bar) An East Coast distiller, a West Coat winemaker and a San Antonio chef about the old and new ways of making food and beverages.

Saturday, March 12

9:30 a.m. Culinary Innovation: Tracking Food Trends (Driskill, Maximilian) Amanda Hesser of Food52 will lead a discussion about how food trends evolve, who decides when a fad becomes a trend and what brands can do with them.

9:30 a.m. Food Transformers: Reimagining Food Traditions (Driskill, Driskill Ballroom) Food customs and cultures will be the focus of this discussion with Tatsu Aikawa of Ramen Tatsu-Ya, Michael Fojtasek of Olamaie, Marla Camp of Edible Austin and cookbook author Virginia Willis.

11 a.m. Sensors, Transparency and the Modern Restaurant (Driskill, Maximilian) What happens when sensors can detect gluten in a pizza that’s supposedly gluten-free? That’s one of the questions the folks behind a new device called Nima will answer in a general discussion about food and sensors.

11 a.m. How Do We Get Billions of People to Eat Less Meat? (Driskill, Driskill Ballroom) NPR’s Eliza Barclay will chat with lab meat pioneer Isha Datar of New Harvest and Austin food historian Rachel Laudan.

12:30 p.m. Food Hall Nation: The Return of Public Markets (Driskill, Driskill Ballroom) Four entrepreneurs who are involved with food markets in Portland, New York City and Southern California will talk about the renaissance of this old style of buying food.

12:30 p.m. Next-Gen Food and AgTech Meet Up (JW Marriott, Room 209) The CEO of BlueCart, a service that connects food suppliers with restaurants, will host this meet-up to talk about how companies can address inefficiencies in the supply chain.

3:30 p.m. Hooked on Bycatch: Seafood You Should Be Eating (Driskill, Maximilian) Houston chefs PJ Stoops and Chris Shepherd, fishmonger Jim Gossen and Rosa Zirlott, co-owner of Murder Point Oysters, will talk  about lesser known fish and shellfish you might be eating soon.

3:30 p.m. Just Food: What It Looks Like When We Start Over (Austin Convention Center, Ballroom EFG) TV host Andrew Zimmern and Hampton Creek founder Josh Tetrick will pivot away from non-animal proteins, the subject of their talk last year, to discuss what the food system would look like if we started from scratch to rebuild it to bring more “truth and justice” to how we eat.

5 p.m. The Future of Grocery Shopping (Driskill, Driskill Ballroom) An evolution of a similar 2013 panel, technologists from the Austin-based Chaotic Moon will discuss how technology might change grocery shopping, including their SmartestCart, an autonomous shopping cart that utilizes advanced technology to streamline the shopping experience.

5 p.m. Changing Times: Restaurant Survival in Real Time (Driskill, Maximilian) Three Texas chefs, including Austin’s Tyson Cole, will talk about the evolution of the business with Mariam Parker of the Austin Food & Wine Alliance.

Sunday, March 13

11 a.m. Do Food Bloggers Deserve a Seat at the Table? (Driskill, Driskill Ballroom) Kerry Diamond and Stephanie Smith with Yahoo! Food talk with the blogger behind My Name is Yeh about this crazy new thing called food blogging.

11 a.m. What a Waste: 40% of Food Discarded, 49M Go Hungry (Driskill, Maximilian) Ashley Zanolli with the Environmental Protection Agency, Feeding America’s Liz Baldridge, Kroger’s Suzanne Lindsay-Walker and dairy farmer Marie Audet will talk about food insecurity and waste.

12:30 p.m. Disruption at Every Stage of the Food System (Driskill, Maximilian) Experts in the field will discuss how technological advances are improving the food supply chain, from food production and traceability to food storage.

3:30 p.m. Anthony Bourdain (Austin Convention Center, Ballroom D) “Parts Unknown” Anthony Bourdain, who is a partner in the website Roads & Kingdoms, will be interviewed by Roads & Kingdoms co-founder Nathan Thornburgh.

3:30 p.m. Cultural Appropriation in Restaurants (Driskill, Driskill Ballroom) New York chef Alex Stupak, Eater editor Helen Rosner and African American foodways scholar Michael Twitty will discuss the food world’s interest (or sometimes lack thereof) in authenticity, history and provenance.

3:30 p.m. In Defense of Big Food (Driskill, Maximilian) Representatives from Chick-Fil-A, Compass Group and a regional grocer in California and Nevada will talk about how big food companies use scale to improve the global food supply.

5 p.m. Eat This Panel (If You Dare): Food Myths Debunked (Driskill, Maximilian) Yvette d’Entremont, aka SciBabe, will chat with other scientists about food myths that you should stop falling for.

5 p.m. Standing for Equal Rights: In and Out of the Kitchen (Driskill, Driskill Ballroom) Chef and Food Network host Aarón Sánchez will talk with fellow chefs Eli Kirshtein and Sarah Simmons about the role the food professionals play in the fight for social justice and equality.

Monday, March 14

9:30 a.m. Drinking Wisely in the Craft Beer and Whiskey Boom (Driskill, Maximilian) Michael Graham of Austin Beerworks and Jason Kosmas of the New York-based 86 Co. will chat with former Austin American-Statesman columnist Emma Janzen, now of Imbibe Magazine, and CultureMap’s Tom Thornton about how to read labels and menus in and media about the beverage world.

9:30 a.m. Dining and Design: The Details Make the Meal (Driskill, Driskill Ballroom) Austin ceramic maker extraordinaire Keith Kreeger will join other design lovers, including chef Matt McCallister of FT 33 Restaurant in Dallas, to talk about the importance of design and visual arts in the food industry.

11 a.m. From Palate to Plate: Defining a Taste Platform (Driskill, Maximilian) Four technology-focused foodies will talk about the data-based innovations that are changing how restaurants, grocery stores and eaters figure out what’s for dinner (and lunch and breakfast and everything in between).

11 a.m. Modern-Day Young Chefs: Paying Your Dues Upfront (Driskill, Driskill Ballroom) Three chefs — Austin’s Alexis Chong of Foreign & Domestic, Ludo Lefebvre of Petit Trois in L.A. and Erik Bruner-Yang of Maketto & Toki Underground in D.C. — will talk about the best way to learn your way around a kitchen with Richard Martin of Food Republic.

12:30 p.m. 3D Printed Food: Spam or Paté? You Decide. (Driskill, Maximilian) Two 3D printing experts, a food business consultant and an advocate for people with disabilities will talk about how 3D printing will (or won’t) affect what you eat in the near future.

12:30 p.m. Can Fast Food Work When We Care About What We Eat? (Austin Convention Center, Ballroom EFG) D.C.-based chef Jose Andres will chat with Eater’s Erin DeJesus about how fast food is changing with restaurant like his fast-casual restaurant Beefsteak.

3:30 p.m. How the World of Video Programming Is Changing (Driskill, Maximilian) The hosts of two online food shows, Donal Skehan of Donalskehan.com and Katie Quinn of Katie-Quinn.com, will join Tastemade’s head of programming to discuss how the Internet is changing what kinds of food video content is being created.

3:30 p.m. Partners for Successful On-Demand Grocery Delivery (Driskill, Driskill Ballroom) Whole Foods Market and Instacart teamed up several years ago to offer grocery delivery, and representatives from both companies will talk about how they merged their specialties to transform on-demand grocery shopping.

5 p.m. Hops to Pulp: Experiences of Niche Beverage Makers (Driskill, Maximilian) Four San Antonio beverage entrepreneurs talk about “the trials of getting a beverage startup off the ground and the perceptions of ownership both before and after launching.”