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What's Cooking in the Digital Kitchen
By: Tiana Tucker
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Food is getting a lot more attention these days beyond the traditional restaurant dining experience and classic hardcover cookbooks. The idea of the digital kitchen is enriching our entire food experience, both online and offline. At Social Media Week NYC’s What on Your Plate? How Digital Has Evolved Our Palates event, a panel of food industry innovators discussed how what we are mixing, baking, and sautéing in our kitchens is increasingly influenced by new developments in the digital space. The panelists included: Holly Strauch, Culinary Specialist from Nestle, Danielle Gould, Founder of FoodTechConnect.com, Dave Feller, Founder of Yummly, and Mike Lee, Founder of Studiofeast.

All of the panelists attributed the renewed excitement surrounding the cooking revolution to the expansion of Internet access, the economic downturn, exposure to new cuisines, and the popularity of food bloggers. Tons of new applications built in digital media have come along to analyze and attempt to solve a number of problems that deter people from getting in the kitchen to cook. Mike Lee noted that his company is trying to figure out what is keeping people from cooking because not being able to find a recipe in the age of information overload is not it. Lee’s supper club is getting out in the field and searching for answers while hosting pop-up dinners and cooking education. Dave Feller from Yummly mentioned that his company is focused on trying to develop a better way to prepare food from the planning to preparation stages. FoodTechConnect.com’s founder, Danielle Gould, is not necessarily delivering a product directly to customers; instead, her company is aiding innovators in the food business by providing custom research and unique events. 

Strauch discussed how her company’s innovation team, which she works very closely with in her position, uses social media to get a pulse on what consumers are interested in now. Social media has become particularly useful for gaining insight on millennials, whom they are having a hard time reaching. Meanwhile, Martha Stewart Living is finding that millennials are increasingly turning to its Marthastewart.com site for culinary advice. For millennials, going out for a meal simply is not interesting enough; they are looking create stories around food, make it social, and personalize the food experience, according to Lee. 

The majority of the panelists expressed the desire to continue to find ways make consumers' lives easier to some extent, and the collection of unique data and insights is a common thread in achieving their individual goals in the future.

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About the Author
Tiana Tucker is an online marketing professional working as the Inbound Marketer for Nursing@Simmons, which is an online master's in nursing offered by Simmons College. Keep up with Tiana on Twitter @TianaMTucker or Google+.


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