The Indian food industry has undergone a huge transformation in terms of adoption of new age technologies. The new-age organisations aren’t shying away from using new technologies like robotics, artificial intelligence, machine learning or computer vision to invent and optimise solutions. Though highly-competitive in nature, this sector has immense potential to grow — and this has been validated with the use of these technologies. Use of new tech especially comes in handy when streamlining processes and offering consumer-specific services.
While the likes of Zomato, Swiggy and FoodPanda have already made a stride into the FoodTech domain, we decided to bring other unconventional startups in the space that are revolutionising the industry with the exceptional adoption of these technologies.
Here are 8 such startups which are listed in an alphabetical order:
This Kochi-based startup founded in 2011 offers products using Food Vision API. The team comprising of Anoop Balakrishnan, Nikhil Dharman and Arun Ravi started off with VIKI, a personal assistant for Blackberry devices which was professionally patented in 2011. With a core focus on AI, the team later developed APIs using ML that helps the user find what food item they are scanning. They have used this technology in their RecipeBook app. The app allows the user to scan any food item based on which it suggests recipes that can be made using those ingredients. With this unique concept, it doesn’t come as a surprise to know that it saw a huge number of downloads in a very short time.
Key technologies used: Computer Vision, Deep Learning, Artificial Intelligence
This Bengaluru-headquartered startup founded in 2015 leverages food science and ML to understand and predict people’s taste. With its AI-based solutions, the startup is trying to help the food and beverages industry with the key challenges including recommendations, personalisation, menu and product development, insights and trends, among others. With its technology, the startup is helping users to discover delicious food with much ease. The startup claims to be powering more than 30 million recommendations, helping 176,000 people make great food choices across more than 1,000 restaurant vendors. It is founded by Sai (ex Zomato) and Kishan (ex Just Eat) who are combining their extensive experience from FoodTech companies to create their proprietary recommendation technology.
Key technologies used: Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence
Easing out the cooking routine, especially for working professionals is Bengaluru-based Euphotic Labs — the youngest startup in this list. They are building an automated cooking machine that would help people overcome the laborious task of cooking. It is founded by Yatin Varachhia and the team comprises of professionals from multiple disciplines. With the help of recent advancements in AI, they are building a fully-automated kitchen at the ease of home. They are pushing the boundaries to stick to their principals of customer obsession and being the best in whatever they do.
Key technologies used: Robotics, Computer Vision
As the website notes, Gulpie is a personal food assistant that uses powerful AI to rate and pick restaurants that suit a user’s diet, taste and health preference. The personal food assistant is powered by a recommendation engine that learns about users preferences and uniquely suggests restaurants. It can also pick preferences, allergen contents such as peanut, gluten, concerns such as diabetes and vegan, and much more. Using their HungerChat, users can add friends to a chat and discover restaurants from feed of friends’ recommendations. As opposed to other food discovery apps, Gulpie is centred around the user’s personality, friends and time. As the founders note, their long-term vision is to build collective intelligence based on multiple user-facing products that solve for contextual personalisation. It has offices in Bengaluru and San Francisco Bay area.
Key technologies used: Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning
With a cooking robot for Indian cuisines, this startup based out of Bengaluru is all that as its name suggests. Founded in 2017, the founders came up with a challenge of developing cooking robots for the Indian market that can cook Indian dishes with ease. It was co-founded by Arpit Sharma, an IIT Kanpur graduate and Cohan Sujay Carlos, an ML researcher. The company has been able to make a prototype till now which looks like a top-heavy bundle of bottles whirling, spinning and measuring the ingredients to create the perfect recipe. It is also open to the public to test the robot and provide feedback that will help them inculcate all the necessary features. It cooks dishes such as matar paneer, bisi bele bath, rice, dal tadka, chhole, rasam, sambhar, upma, poha, capsicum sabji, among others.
Key technologies used: Robotics, Automation, AI
At Nymble Labs they are developing smart cooking assistant to help people live healthier by cooking fresh food every day. The startup is currently developing a compact table-top appliance for cooking one-bowl meals and curries. Headquartered in Bengaluru and founded in 2016, the company is a graduate of the Bosch DNA Start-Up Accelerator Program. They are building users own personal cook by developing a smart kitchen appliance that can cook food tailored to the user’s taste. It works by choosing the user’s favourite recipe from a variety of menu options, feeding the necessary fresh ingredients into the machine and offer freshly prepared food while a user relaxes. Their hardware ecosystem can cater to all the kitchen requirements, while their AI and machine learning backed software makes the weirdest dreams possible.
Key technologies used: Computer Vision, Machine Vision, Machine Learning
The robot theme restaurant in Chennai called the ‘Robot’ was founded by Venkatesh Rajendran and Karthik Kannan. Formerly known as MOMO, this unique restaurant have robot waiters placing your order on your table. Re-launched last year to make it more in tune with its theme, the food can be ordered on iPhones which are conveniently located on every table and are sent to the kitchen directly. Once the order is ready, it is delivered to the respective tables by designated robot waiters. According to their website, this unique experience is now expanded to Coimbatore. As the founders believe, the hotel business is no longer just about the food, it the experience that matters. And robots waiters are a perfect way to offer that experience.
Key technologies used: Robotics, Automation
SP Robotic Works is again a Chennai based startup that provides robotic education to school and college students via the use of technologies such as IoT, image processing, virtual reality and others. The company announced the launch of its food serving robot named BOB in 2017, which was developed by a division of SP Robotic Works, called Kidobotikz. BOB or Butler ‘O’ Bistro serves food in Bengaluru’s VR mall and was developed by Kidobotikz community members aged between 13 and 25. Once the food is ordered at the counter and is readied in the kitchen, it is brought by the robot to the customer. Pranavan and Sneha Priya, Anna University alumni started SP Robotics Work in 2012 in an effort to decrease the use of manpower for monotonous, hazardous and unstable works.
Key technologies used: Robotics, Automation