Food tech: Are AI recipes and robot chefs taking over?

AI-controlled kitchens, robot chefs, and fully automated order management – exciting solutions are springing up like mushrooms at restaurants and suppliers. Take a seat and get a taste of two innovative food tech startups and their concepts.

Food tech – symbolic image of a robot chef
Image: © QuietWord (generated with AI)

AI in the kitchen and more tech for the food industry

The way to someone’s heart is through their stomach, as the saying goes. Nowadays though, the food tastes just as good when artificial intelligence has done the cooking. Admittedly, the technology probably won’t spark any romance, but it does have the potential to improve processes and deliver fresh solutions in the field of food and health, including creating recipe ideas.

The principle isn’t anything new: people have had access to AI generators on recipe sites like for a while now to help them cook up a storm at home. What’s new is that AI and robotic solutions are now being used by restaurants and suppliers, and groundbreaking food tech trends are emerging here.

Being served by food tech when dining at a restaurant or when ordering ingredients from a supplier all sounds rather futuristic, but it’s happening right now. Innovative food tech startups and established tech developers are taking digitalization and automation in the industry to a whole new level. We present two impressive examples below:

#1 Circus: AI kitchens and end-to-end automation

The Circus Group, which is now listed on the stock exchange, was launched as a food tech startup in Hamburg in 2021. The founders have the ambitious goal of revolutionizing the food industry by offering highly innovative solutions and leveraging robotics and artificial intelligence.

Customized food and AI recipes

The Circus Group attracted attention last year with its micro-kitchen hub concept, which is designed to make fresh and healthy food easy to access in a revolutionary way. The first two micro-kitchen hubs were opened in neighborhoods of Cologne and Hamburg, allowing customers to order on an app and collect freshly prepared meals.

What’s unique about the hubs is that they offer a choice of more than 100,000 meals instead of your typically limited menu. Artificial intelligence guides the digital ordering process to concoct a personalized taste experience from over 100 ingredients.

At the same time, the digital assistant creates an AI-generated recipe based on the customer’s preferences. The chefs in the micro-kitchen hub are given the recipe and then prepare the meal according to the AI’s instructions for the customer to take away all packaged up. The Circus Group is actually the first food provider to develop a deposit-free system for reusing carrier bags.

Fully digitalized robot kitchen from a food tech innovator

And if the micro-kitchen hubs weren’t technical enough for you, the Circus Group has more solutions up its sleeve, including a holistic robotic solution for scalable cooking processes. This is a high-tech cooking station that does the work of human chefs in a completely automated way. It contains an intelligent control system, rotating pots, and a portioning system, allowing it to prepare meals autonomously and without human assistance. It may not be one of Star Trek’s replicators, but it comes pretty close.

The CircusOS operating system is another outstanding solution recently launched by the food disruptor. It is essentially a management software program for food chains and uses AI to optimize operational efficiency, quality control, and customer satisfaction. In the form of micro-services, it guides workers and supports the management team, while intelligently controlling ordering and cooking processes with the help of its AI-powered backlog management. An AI recipe generator is also built in for kitchen staff.

#2 Choco: rethinking inventory management for restaurants and suppliers

Another food tech startup that should be on your radar is Choco. And no, we’re not talking about chocolate here – the tech company’s solution is actually an AI concept for the food industry. Suppliers can significantly optimize their order management using Choco’s AI-powered software. The artificial intelligence built into Choco digitalizes all incoming orders – whether sent via voicemail or email. These are then centralized and transferred to a company’s existing inventory management system in real time.

According to Choco, that means that one person can process an order volume that would otherwise require five people. As a result, up to 100 times more orders can be handled compared to before.

What’s more, the AI software is quick to implement and ready to run after just two weeks according to the developer.

Food tech solutions for new food services

Whether managing orders, cooking dishes, ordering meals, or delivering them – food tech is turning what was a completely analog process into an efficient, digitalized, and almost fully automated one. And restaurants and suppliers aren’t the only ones being revolutionized by disruptive technologies such as AI. The two examples above are just the tip of an innovative wave that’s currently picking up speed. There are countless other food tech developers out there offering promising solutions. In September, we’ll share more. Where? At DMEXCO in Cologne, of course!