Recently we attended The Festival of Media 2014, and one of the conferences, The Internet of Things, got us inspired to spin a piece on how food and technology can merge into one on a different platform from growth bars, pie charts and modified genes: the social platform.
The conference highlighted the concept of how massively generated data from our daily lives might just result in connecting everything in the grocery store to an online network. It may be too soon to see your favorite type of blue cheese tweeting about its similar Monday on the shelves; but from the recent years of experimentation of virtual supermarkets, online shopping and monitor traveling, we know that it is a probable future.
Have you scanned in your sandwich’s contents today? Have you learnt about the 33 Hungarian Foods The Whole World Should Know And Love? Have you Instagrammed that coffee, captioned it, tagged the place, hastagged the relevant caffeine terms, and checked the Likes in the last hour? If you answered mostly yes, then you are not far from the food future we envision. While food stands as an undeniably attractive component on its own, social media highlights it to the extent of influencing our perpetual hunger because of the quick accessibility and abundance of choices (very much mirroring social media itself).
Take local Cambodian startup weekend winner iRecommend and their intention to push food businesses to take full advantage of the innate desire to Instagram food and allow their customers to be their brand ambassadors for discounts. Just by creating a specialised mobile app with similar camera editing functions, they have merged food and technology to into a simple solution to encourage a myriad of business opportunities beyond traditional media.
Or Jaffles and their Jafflechutes, the pop-up restaurant in Australia that delivers their hot sandwiches using miniature parachutes. Combining food and social technology, they came up with an accessible and fun way to attain food as hunger hits. Their system is simple: pay for the sandwiches through PayPal, and wait for the delivery to come to a designated spot. Cambodia’s restaurants hiding beside long rows of houses can easily adopt this creative method of delivery and payment!
Paraguay-based Oniria/TBWA’s collaboration with WWF led to a social experiment of literally frying an egg on the hot streets of Asunción. While this may seem a little far-fetched from our past examples, it uses the capabilities of the viral system to generate a message through technology and food. Cambodia companies looking to get attention for the brand can perhaps echo the system and play on the recent issues in the country — with food because it can be perceived as a warm socially bonding tool.
Other than online socialising, it applies to a range of offline encounters too. Have you noticed that the social networking portion of events usually occur during coffee and lunch breaks over food? Conferences now provide all the factors needed for socialising with potential media partners, and this can be a brilliant arrangement for getting into the scene. Fancy a think-tank over tea? How about a pizza brainstorming session? With the Internet and food, almost no one is a stranger to another.
At the root of it all, we believe that the food today is data for tomorrow. Food and technology can connect on a social level successfully because they have both proved that they are, perhaps, essential to many. There is so much potential in using food to complement messages trying to reach to mass audiences. Step aside cute cats, because food was here first.