When was the last time a revolution was seen in the kitchen?
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The kitchen is clearly a place ripe for technology innovation – just do any internet search for kitchen gadgets and you’ll see untold numbers of items that are this years must have. But gadgets come and go (my homemade bread maker is gathering dust in the corner of a cupboard somewhere) and none of them get adopted en masse.
I’m talking about major revolutions that have changed the way people interact, cook or clean in the kitchen that have found widespread use across the globe.
How about the dishwasher, or maybe the microwave oven? Both these technological marvels are now standard in billions of homes worldwide and have advanced cooking and cleaning, but both were invented over 60 years ago – in fact the first registered mechanical dishwasher was granted in 1850.
The microwave changed how people cooked, but more than that it changed how people thought about food. Food could now be cooked quickly at home when convenient. Manufacturers caught onto this and developed new products such as the ready meal, which in turn required new materials that were microwave safe, to the point that we now have a recognised symbol for microwave safe materials.
What will be the next step change in kitchen technology?
Some candidates are beginning to surface. 3D printing of food and synthetic meat are key new processes which could have a vast impact on manufacturers and consumers alike.
Other candidates are driven by the global population growth – there are many articles discussing the need to move to insect protein to sustain the population around the world. The impact this would have across the supply chain and manufacture would be immense.
In a new series of blogs, we'll discuss some of the likely candidates for the technology of the future and the impact of these across the entire value chain - from raw materials through manufacturing and packaging to consumer experience.