These digital dining trends look set to make their mark on the future of food as we know it.
TEXT: ESTHER AU-YONG
PHOTOS: FOOD INK
Special printers can use pureed ingredients as “ink” to churn out edible creations based on designs done on the computer. Turning the traditional notion of cooking on its head, this might be a culinary norm in the future. For now though, pop-up restaurant Food Ink (http://foodink.io/) is offering fully 3D-printed dining experiences – from the food to the utensils and furniture – at various locations around the world.
Microchip technology and the embedded chip will inform diners – as well as chefs, servers, personal trainers, doctors and whoever is granted the information – of their preferences, habits and health indicators. This will in turn have a huge influence on not only cuisine, but the whole experience of dining out.
Virtual and augmented reality
With virtual and augmented reality technology, diners can interact with their menus in the future – via vibrant 3D visualisations, for instance. Customers of Magnolia Bakery in the US can already view the catering menu by projecting virtual renderings of its cakes and cupcakes via a mobile device. And that’s just the start of it, as VR and AR open up other possibilities for customer interaction and engagement.
Interactive Table Technology
Manpower shortage and an increasing need to delve into customers’ habits and preferences drove the development and rise of interactive tables. These multi-use tables let guests order their food and drink, and customise their dining experience including their “tablecloth”, which they can then doodle and play games on. Businesses can incorporate feedback or survey mechanisms to harness real-time data to improve the customer experience.
Handheld scanners that can tell users information such as the number of calories, and the nutrition and ingredients that are in their food will soon be available commercially. This will certainly change the way people eat outside of home and give rise to new restaurant concepts. Imagine – you’ll know if you’re being served imitation abalone or the real deal, or check if your meal is completely allergen-free!