Technology

4 food tech products to check at CES

Restaurants interested in automation or sustainability will find a lot to dig into at the annual tech showcase in Las Vegas.
Yo-Kai's new ramen robot can fit on a desk. / Photo courtesy of Yo-Kai Express

CES (short for the Consumer Electronics Show) is one of the biggest technology events of the year. A number of household names, from Tetris to the CD player to the Xbox, made their debuts at the show, which provides a glimpse at the gizmos and gadgets that could be coming around the bend.

Among the thousands of exhibitors at this year's show, which runs Thursday to Sunday in Las Vegas, restaurateurs should find dozens relevant to their business—particularly when it comes to sustainability, robotics and wellness. 

Here are four to watch for whether you’re attending or not.

A plant-based burger bot

SavorEat is a robot that makes meatless burgers with the help of a proprietary 3-D printer. As if that’s not innovative enough, the company also has an ordering system that allows guests to customize their burger. They can choose their preferred protein-to-fat ratio as well as the size of the patty and how they want it cooked—juicy or well-done. The final product is ready in about six minutes, and the machine can make up to three burgers at once.

The Israel-based company debuted in the U.S. in 2021 via a partnership with Sodexo’s college division.

A ramen robot that fits on your desk

Yo-Kai Express, the maker of ramen-cooking vending machines, unveiled a scaled-down model for small spaces like convenience stores and offices. 

YKE Desktop looks to be about the size of a computer console and can prepare ramen in 90 seconds. Unlike its full-sized, fully automated counterpart, YKE Desktop is only semi-automated, according to the company. It comes with a fridge that can store up to 24 preconfigured bowls.

A food-waste camera

Want to know how much food your restaurant wastes? Try taking a picture of your garbage.

Orbisk says it can help operators do just that by outfitting their waste bins with a smart camera. 

The camera, which is attached to a scale, registers everything that gets thrown away down to the ingredient level. Restaurants can then crunch the numbers in a dashboard. This granular insight, Orbisk says, can help them cut their food waste in half.

The Dutch company says no training is required to use the system, although its website shows that workers have to pause for a half second while the camera photographs what they’re tossing.

A carbon footprint calculator

With just a few lines of code, Greenswap says it can help restaurants calculate their menu’s carbon footprint. 

The Amsterdam-based company uses life cycle analysis to track a product’s impact from production to processing, packaging and delivery and determines its environmental impact from there. The idea is to help restaurants make more informed purchasing decisions.

Pricing works on a sliding scale depending on the size and scope of a restaurant’s menu.

UPDATE: A previous version of this story misstated Orbisk's home country.

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