Have you ever had a sudden craving for a particular treat without any way to get it? Or perhaps a cake that could be ready in just one minute, with no preparation necessary? A new kind of food processing machine, called the Genie – inspired by Star Trek’s sci-fi “replicator” which was used to make instant meals on the show – has brought this once futuristic concept out of television and into reality. Now, personalized foods can be made with the press of a button, giving everyone the choice of their own meal – when they want it.
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Following a night of seemingly endless work and a hungry staff at White Innovation, an Israeli company that engineers products for other businesses, founders Doron Marco and Ayelet Carasso found themselves sitting around their office table with empty stomachs, tired of ordering out or preparing their own food night after night. After about 90 minutes of brainstorming and discussing among their eight staffers, the inspiration behind the Genie was born. “At first, the product was for ourselves, but other companies loved it,” Marco tells NoCamels.
And so, last year, Marco and Carasso Launched the Genie with their own small investment. This uniquely shaped kitchen appliance of sorts includes both the capsules and the machine that prints ingredients into edible foods.
“Investors tend to look at it from the ROI (return on investment) perspective, but we are looking to make a real change. We are looking at how to get the Genie in every house, we want people to have all these new options,” Marco says.
Carasso adds: “Think about a family that eats the same food: one may need more sugar or vitamins, while the other may not. There is no option to do this today, outside of cooking individual meals for everyone, but now the Genie gives you that choice.”
The food capsules are designed to maintain a long shelf life of up to five years, with no preservatives used. According to Marco, “30 percent of food bought in the US is thrown away. We are trying to eliminate it,” stressing his environmentally friendly approach.
The Genie will initially be marketed to businesses, and then the company will consider marketing to households, with an estimated price tag of $1,000. “At most, we are looking at one year until we enter the private sector”, Carasso told NoCamels.
According to the company’s founders, they have already seen a great deal of interest and are in the mass production stage for their business clientèle. So far, the company has received thousands of orders from Israel, the US and Greece.
Couscous and muffins in less than one minute
Each capsule is designed for a single serving and ranges anywhere from couscous to cake, to muffins and many others. The meals are available in both medium- and large-sized portions. So far, the Genie has options such as gluten-free and vegetarian.
“Obesity is another issue; every nutritionist will tell you that you need to eat several small meals throughout the day but not many can do it,” Carasso and Marco say. “Here, it is possible and will happen, in less than one minute.”
“3D” food printers, such as the Genie and its competitors Foodini and the Green Onyx, allow the consumer to individually add in supplements and vitamins to their liking. The Genie also features an interactive smart technology that evolves and adapts, based on personal eating habits.
Genie founders contend that other products lag behind the Genie in preparation time. Also, many food printing machines require a subscription to meal planning services at an additional cost, while the Genie offers single-portion capsules. “Our aim with the Genie is for the consumers to get used to our smaller portions, rather than giving in to the demand of the mass market,” Marco stresses. Carasso went on to explain the company’s interest in creating healthy meals, not just “processed junk.”