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Big Revolution - Can delivery replace the microwave meal?

Welcome to Tuesday's newsletter. Let's dive straight in... — Martin from Big Revolution
May 21 · Issue #425 · View online
Big Revolution
Welcome to Tuesday’s newsletter. Let’s dive straight in…
— Martin from Big Revolution

Big things you need to know today
  • The US has temporarily eased restrictions on Huawei. The reprieve, lasting until August, allows the firm to push updates and provide maintenance to existing products – i.e., it’s aimed at making sure existing US customers don’t suffer too much.
  • Facebook and Google pressed hard to curb EU efforts against the spread of misinformation, OpenDemocracy reports. “The platforms opposed proposals that would have forced them to be more transparent about their business models.”
  • You can now try Microsoft’s brand new Edge browser on the Mac. It’s still not ready for a full public launch, but if you want to see what a Microsoft spin on Chrome is like, now’s your chance.
  • Millions of Instagram influencers had their personal contact details stolen when a database belonging to an Indian marketing firm was left exposed without a password.
The big thought
Credit: Charles 🇵🇭 on Unsplash
Credit: Charles 🇵🇭 on Unsplash
Can delivery replace the microwave meal?
“I’m fairly convinced that 20 years from now, we will mostly not make our own food,” says the CEO of tech investor Naspers in an FT article [paywalled] about the rise of food delivery startups, and how they’re evolving.
The big thing now is ‘dark kitchens’ — kitchens set up purely to serve delivery orders. They might be in warehouses, or disused restaurants, or even in car parks that get turned into food delivery hubs after hours. But whatever form they take, they’re a sign that investors believe there’s much more growth to come from the likes of Deliveroo and Uber Eats.
And then there’s Taster, a company offering 'delivery-only’ food brands for distribution through food delivery companies. Its founder tells the FT: “The market is mature enough to build a delivery-only brand… My ambition is to create the Five Guys of Vietnamese food or the Shake Shack of Korean fried chicken . . . These [delivery] platforms need guys like us because they can’t rely on burgers and sushi at some point, they need a bit more diversity in food.”
It’s fair to say that I’d probably order more food for delivery if there was more variety; in most places burgers and pizzas are all you’ll get, and you can only eat so many of those. But the idea of most of our meals being delivered hot, having been prepared in some nearby warehouse by low-paid kitchen staff, is depressing. There’s value in the ritual of preparing food for ourselves or our families and friends, and sitting down to eat it when it’s ready.
Where there might be real growth potential for food delivery is in taking share away from microwave ready-meals. Why heat up a meal prepared a few days ago in a factory yourself, when someone else can heat up a meal prepared especially for you 20 minutes ago? The premium microwave ready-meal market (think Tesco Finest and its ilk) should definitely be on guard.
But I don’t think fully-equipped kitchens will be a thing of the past in the homes of 2039, no matter how much food delivery investors might want that to be true.
One big read
Hand Gestures And Horses: Waymo’s Self-Driving Service Learns To Woo The Public Hand Gestures And Horses: Waymo’s Self-Driving Service Learns To Woo The Public
A look at how Waymo’s self-driving taxi service in Arizona is getting on. Safety drivers are still the norm.
One big tweet
Sky News’ technology correspondent on his way to an important court case for tech in England and Wales…
Rowland Manthorpe
On my way to Cardiff for the first legal challenge to police use of facial recognition. Hearing will last three days and the verdict is expected later in the year. Facial recognition is basically unregulated at the moment so this is an important case, whatever the verdict
6:46 AM - 21 May 2019
That’s all for today...
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