Technology has had a profound impact on all facets of our lives, from work, to communication, to fitness and even food and the way we eat. The boundaries are constantly being pushed and new innovations are affecting how we feed ourselves, whether it is looking for recipes, placing restaurant bookings, ordering takeaway or simply uploading photos of our food to social media to share with our friends who couldn’t make it to dinner.
Technology has opened up a whole new world of cooking, allowing recipes to be found on demand and even video tutorials that can be followed step by step using an iPad on the kitchen counter.
It has never been easier to discover new places to eat. Online websites and apps that contain thousands of reviews, suggestions and information about local (and foreign) eateries have leveled the playing field and provided a much larger choice for consumers.
Going to our favourite restaurants used to mean calling in advance to make a booking, or potentially just turning up and hoping for the best. However, technology has now spoilt us by giving us a method where we can simply make an online booking, confirmed instantly. Any changes can be made online and for those restaurants that do not take bookings, there are now apps that allow you to provide your number and communicate in real time with the restaurant when a table frees up.
A number of restaurants and fast food institutions have implemented electronic ordering systems, whereby diners can simply order from a tablet at their table and food is brought out when ready. There are even apps where you can order your coffee in advance, so that it’s ready when you arrive at your preferred coffee shop. This removes the need for wait staff and cuts down wait times for all diners. These types of technology are seeing popularity in the large chains and fast food operations where customer interaction is not necessarily key.
Platforms now exist solely to allow restaurants to upload their menus and accept orders for takeaway or home deliveries. This is another example of how technology has made it easier to eat out (rather than cook at home) and the convenience is undeniable. Payment is processed online so cash is no longer required and many apps can even provide you with real time information as to how far away your food is. These kinds of technologies are becoming so mainstream that those who aren’t using them are being left behind.
The new wave of subscription-based technology has seen a rapid rise in the number of food subscription services. For those that want to cook at home but would like fresh ideas, there are now services which deliver a regular box of ingredients, along with accompanying recipes. This provides an element of surprise and discovery, whilst maintaining the ethos of preparing fresh meals at home.
For those that still like to prepare their meals from scratch using their own family recipes, groceries are still at the core of the household. However, technology has provided another benefit by introducing online ordering of groceries, which are then delivered to your door.
Our desire for different types of foods and willingness to try new things has certainly increased as a result of technology. International barriers have been broken down and our constant exposure to food photography online (for example, on Instagram) has made us more familiar (even if only subconsciously) with various cuisines.
With the food technology sector continuing to grow and new innovations constantly being developed, the only question is, what will be next?