These Next-Gen Appliances Will Plan Your Meals—and Cook Them Like a Pro

Photo: Levi Mandel/Mirage Studio for Innit
Are Gwyneth, Dave Asprey, and other favorite healthy cooking gurus about to be one-upped by... appliances?

If so, they'll have a  Silicon Valley startup called Innit to blame. The brand is gunning to turn your fridge and stove into culinary know-it-alls in their own right, equipping them with super-smart sensor technology that will be able to tell you at a glance what ingredients you have available, when those foods are perfectly ripe, and how to combine and cook them for peak flavor and nutritional value. (Because when it comes to veggies, it's complicated).

Space-age as this may all sound, the technology might just be available starting next year—for as little as $20.

Behind the concept

Innit at Pirch2
Photo: Levi Mandel/Mirage Studio for Innit

“Our technology lets you listen to your food,” explains Innit CEO (and Silicon Valley vet) Kevin Brown, who conceptualized the idea with former Nestle and Unilever CEO Eugenio Minvielle and chef Francisco Deolarte. Their goal was to take the high-tech tools used in industrial food manufacturing—namely, the sensor systems that keep tabs on food’s freshness and nutritional data—and adapt them for the home to help amateur cooks up their game.

“We want to help you take advantage of the information about your food—whether it’s about freshness or how to mix and match ingredients to meet your dietary goals,” he adds.

How it works

So what will Innit’s futuristic kitchen look like? Picture this: You come home from work and check Innit’s app on your phone. After powwowing with sensors you’ve installed in the fridge (think facial recognition, but for food), the app tells you that you have leftover quinoa, chicken that expires in two days, and a head of kale hidden away in the bottom drawer—which would be good for you to eat because you’ve told the app you’re trying to have more leafy greens.

As your oven automatically preheats to the perfect temperature for the exact piece of chicken you have on hand, you start chopping your ingredients based on a recipe suggested by Innit, all while watching a video that shows you how to massage kale. You then let the stove do the rest as its sophisticated sensors keep tabs on the chicken’s progress, buzzing to let you know when it's reached the perfect level of juicy doneness. It's kind of like having your own personal chef and nutritionist, except that you still have to do the prep work. (Sorry!)

“Most brands are connecting their appliances to the internet and you get a remote control function [on your digital devices],” says Brown when asked how Innit’s devices compare to the other smart stoves and fridges on the market, like the Samsung Family Hub (the one with Kristen Bell in the commercials). “What we’re doing is connecting food to the appliances, and using information about that food to program the appliance. So for this chicken and that oven, here’s the perfect digital recipe.”

Dinner 2.0

While Innit’s technology won’t be undergoing consumer trials until later this year—and no fully formed products are expected to come to market until at least 2017—the brand has already aligned with some big-name partners.

Good Housekeeping will be providing all recipe content for Innit's fridges and stoves, while a fully functional Innit model kitchen has been installed inside New York City interiors showroom Pirch. Oh, and the brand has also tapped Sam Kass, the White House’s former senior policy advisor for nutrition, for advice on how to make the technology as addictive and easy to use as possible.

At the end of the day, Innit’s aim is to get people excited about cooking real food at home, while solving some bigger issues at the same time (like food waste and obesity, for starters).

“We want to take away some of the stress around cooking,” says Brown, who adds that retrofitting one’s existing kitchen with Innit’s sensor technology will be extremely simple and cost-effective—like, less than lunch at Sweetgreen. (Affordable appliances with built-in sensors and touch-screen interfaces are also on the way.) “It’s really fun to cook this way and have this content and expertise.... This is about empowering people in the kitchen, not replacing them.” Gwyneth and Dave, you’re safe—for now.

From a treadmill that plays DJ to a fitness-tracking bra, here are some more wellness tech innovations to get excited about. Or if you're overloaded enough as it is, a digital detox might be a good idea. 

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