Discovering innovations that matter since 2002

We’ve picked out our top ten Food & Beverage articles from the last 12 months on Springwise. We hope that the ideas listed below provide entrepreneurs with plenty of inspiration and spark even more innovative efforts in the future!
1. Cocktail bar offers discounts based on stock market drops
Considering the disastrous current situation with the world economy, it’s good to see a positive spin being put on things. This is offered by the Waldorf-Astoria hotel in New York, which offers discounts on cocktails based on the stock market – the bigger the drop in share value, the bigger the discount. This system is intended as a pick-me-up for investors on the stock market who may have lost money on particular share options. Bar owners recognize the importance of patron loyalty, and offering discounts in line with the occupation of the majority of your customers is a shrewd way of tapping into customers’ concerns. Read more about the Bull and Bear Steakhouse »
2. In the UAE, coffee chain’s cup sleeve is printed with the hour’s top headline
For many people coffee and a newspaper go hand-in-hand so it was only logical that United Arab Emirates’ Gulf News would take the next step and amalgamate the two. The result saw Tim Hortons coffee shops in the UAE selling cups of coffee that had paper sleeves printed with the news headlines of the day. The intention was to use the coffee holders as a marketing tool to show off Gulf News’ attention-grabbing headlines and encourage coffee drinkers to keep coming back for their daily hit of news. Read more about the Y&R Dubai campaign »
3. In Brazil, Hellmann’s prints customized recipes on grocery shoppers’ receipts
Hellmann’s recognized that despite their success in creating one of the leading mayonnaise brands, their product wasn’t being as widely used as they’d like. In an effort to boost sales further they decided to expand their product’s horizons in the eyes of their customers by printing suggested recipes on the supermarket receipts of those who had just purchased a jar of Hellman’s. Using a ubiquitous item such as a shopping receipt to introduce consumers to creative culinary ideas is a winning combination. Read more about the Hellmann’s mayonnaise campaign »
4. With every half-sized restaurant meal, a donation to fight hunger
Encouraging restaurant-goers to think about the amount they eat, Halfsies partnered with a number of restaurants to offer half-sized meal portions to diners at the full portion price. The extra money was donated to food poverty charities, meaning the diner could enjoy their meal as well as contribute to a worthwhile cause. Restaurants are the preserve of the well-fed, and so Halfsies initiative was brave and thought-provoking in its focus. Read more about Halfsies »
5. User-generated drinks company offers online beverage marketplace
The beverage market is a competitive field, with new flavors being introduced all the time but with old favorites often dominating the field. uflavor’s business model, however, puts the customer at the forefront in an interesting twist designed to challenge the established methods of bringing a drink to the table. User’s can concoct their own flavor of drink, which then has the potential to be sold to the general public if it proves popular on the site. Users can also design a bottle sleeve for their creation, and eventually these drinks will be mixed by a vending machine and then dispensed to the buyer. At the moment the most popular flavor combinations are available on the website for purchase. Read more about uFlavor »
6. Farmers’ cooperative pairs up singles to share leftover food
We’ve seen dating sites in many forms, and while there have been many innovative twists on the traditional date format it’s rare that we see a dating site with a focus on social causes. This is exactly what the brains behind Swedish Lantmannen concern themselves with, encouraging singles to sign up to their service by posting leftover ingredients they have lying around the kitchen as well as items required to complete a meal. The service then matches users accordingly. Read more about Lantmannen »
7. In Canada, all-in-one cheese-making kits
Increasingly consumers are becoming more adventurous in the kitchen and the DIY culture in the food industry is growing in popularity. With her finger firmly on the pulse, the woman behind Make Cheese, Ella Kinloch, recognized this trend in self-sufficiency and has developed cheese-making kits for the household. Based in Alberta, Canada, the company sends out kits including ingredients, equipment and recipes to subscribers. At the moment mozzarella, poutine and brie are on offer, with plans to introduce blue cheese and gouda in the future. Read more about the Make Cheese »
8. In the Netherlands, kitchen gardens grown on urban roofs
As the global population steadily increases year on year, finding space for horticultural pursuits may prove difficult. A kitchen garden initiative in the Netherlands, Dakboerin, has foreseen this problem and has consequently been making use of the huge amounts of roof space across cities as a blank canvas for growing vegetables. Dakboerin design the gardens to work around the urban space and they can also maintain the gardens if the roof owners require it. Hyperlocal initiatives are growing in popularity, and the reduction in food miles by producing food in the home means that this is a welcome and necessary development for the food industry. Read more about Dakboerin »
9. Personalized coffee blends, shipped weekly to the door
Coffee is now a daily staple for many people dragging themselves out of bed in the morning, so we were interested to come across a subscription service that gives users the chance to customize their own blend each week and then have it sent straight to their door. UK-based EightPointNine also offers a different blend each week to those who are uninterested in customising their own, picked by the team. For time-strapped consumers, this straight-to-the-door service could provide a welcome boost in the morning. Read more about EightPointNine »
10. Monthly food and music pairing package by subscription
Music and food have long made a perfect pairing, so Turntable Kitchen set up a subscription service which combines ingredients, recipes and carefully selected music to accompany the cooking process. The emphasis is on supporting smaller initiatives, with locally sourced ingredients and lesser-known bands featured on mixtapes to introduce the subscriber to new sounds. Variety is the spice of life, but it can also prove somewhat of a headache in the decision-making process so Turntable Kitchen’s curated service seems particularly pertinent. Read more about Turntable Kitchen » Although human-animal communication can be limited, we’ve seen services attempting to bridge the language gap with innovative ideas such as the in-house animal psychic at Oregon’s Hotel Monaco. Now, Jungle Island in Miami is incorporating iPads into its Orangutan School in an attempt to better understand the primates and encourage interaction between visitors and animals. Trainers at the park are using an app on the devices initially developed for use with autistic children, which provides visual prompts selected by touch. At Jungle Island, the primates are encouraged to select the food they want from images shown on the iPad, or more importantly let handlers know the location of pain when in distress. The animals were taught signs for ear, eyes and shoulder, enabling more accurate medical attention from staff. The tourist attraction hopes to develop the current app further for use with the public, so visitors will be able to interact with the animals. Pet owners will already know how much animals like to play with touchscreen tablets such as the iPad, but Jungle Island is harnessing their power in a way that could improve human-animal relations and serve to draw in more visitors. Zoos around the world – one for inspiration? Spotted by: Hemanth Chandrasekar There have been a number of laundry-based innovations featured on Springwise in the past few years, including ones with a charitable slant such as the Tide Loads of Hope campaign and the Method donate and wash truck. Hoping to make a real change in poorer areas is the GiraDora, a portable pedal-powered washing machine produced at an affordable price. Aimed at communities that lack the money and electricity to keep modern washing machines – where laundry tasks can eat up six hours per day – the GiraDora consists of a plastic tub with a foot-powered spinning mechanism. Users can fill the container with soap and water, load their clothes and place the lid on top before sitting on the device and powering it with the foot lever. The sitting position is a much more natural posture and helps avoid back problems associated with leaning over a bowl. The machine also uses less water and cleans clothes faster and with less effort than traditional methods, while users’ hands are freed to carry out other tasks. In winter, clothes can take up to three weeks to drip dry but when the GiraDora’s water is emptied, the clothes can continue to be spun to dry more quickly, avoiding mold growth and tenosynovitis linked with wringing wet clothes. At a production cost of less than USD 40, the device is an affordable way to reduce the effort of handwashing, making the process more convenient and freeing up people’s time. The following video offers more information about the device: Currently in the prototype phase, the team behind the GiraDora have worked closely with communities in Peru that could benefit and have been recognized by several awards schemes, from the Dell Challenge to the International Design Excellence Awards. One to get involved in early? Technology is making it easier for recruiters to look beyond the traditional resumé, and we’ve seen services offering Myers-Briggs personality results and credential verification in the recent past. Now, Gild Source is a tool that aims to help companies hire talented web developers by checking their coding and gathering information from social networks. As the prominence of the web has a bearing on all industries these days, recruiters from diverse disciplines may find themselves in the position of needing a developer without knowing what makes a good one. They’re not helped by the fact that many CVs simply state the coding languages the candidates are familiar with, rather than the level they work at. Gild Source searches the web for open source projects – on platforms such as Google Code or SourceForge – that each potential employee has worked on. It then scans the coding and provides a ranking based on algorithms that determine how straightforward and clean the code is. The program also checks social networks used by coders to see if their work has been used by others and how high profile their projects are. The video below shows how the program works: Gild Source comes priced at USD 700 per month, although the company is currently offering a concession of up to 50 percent off for qualifying young companies through its Gild Source for Startups scheme. One to get involved in? The internet has proven to be an essential go-to tool for acquiring knowledge, with sites such as Yahoo Answers and Wikipedia improving users’ general knowledge across the globe, and now we’ve come across a platform tailored specifically to those in higher education. New site Kroupys, based in the Netherlands, aims to make student knowledge sharing across universities easier. Kroupys uses a question-and-answer format to enable users to request information from others with knowledge in their field. The idea is that they can gain insight from those learning on related courses at other universities, as well as connecting with peers with similar interests. Kroupys allows students to log in with their Facebook or Twitter accounts and follow other users of the site. They can also follow questions – which provide notifications when replies are posted – and subscribe to tags that interest them – which creates a feed on their homepage. A ‘useful’ button enables the site’s users to determine which answers are the most helpful. Responders gain points based on how many ‘useful’ votes they receive and can become ‘Tag Leaders’ for the topics they interact with. Kroupys is currently working on collaborating with companies to provide Tag Leaders with prizes such as tickets to relevant conferences, dinners and social events. Kroupys aims to connect students with similar interests anywhere in the world, providing the opportunity to share knowledge from different courses. University leaders: one to get involved in? Regular Springwise readers will already be well-acquainted with the concept of crowdfunding, whereby groups of people can band together to jointly fund a new product or idea. Applying much the same concept to the promotion of social causes, Thunderclap lets supporters unite through social media with what it calls the first-ever “crowdspeaking platform.” Similar in some ways to The World’s Most Valuable Social Network, which we just recently covered, Thunderclap lets users join together to speak out on a particular cause through a single message that gets mass-shared at the same moment, much like a flash mob. Anyone can start a Thunderclap for free by registering through Facebook and describing a cause they want to support. As with most crowdfunding efforts, they also specify a deadline and a goal for the number of supporters they hope to recruit. Visitors to the Thunderclap site can then sign up to support the cause through Facebook or Twitter. If the target number of supporters isn’t reached by the deadline, the message won’t get sent; if it is, however, Thunderclap sends the message out on the social network accounts of all those who supported it. Operated by New York-based De-De Group, Thunderclap currently focuses its distribution efforts on Facebook and Twitter, but it will add other social networks soon, it says. Social entrepreneurs around the globe: one to put to work for you? Spotted by: Murtaza Patel Much the way gives child “makers” a forum for showing off their homemade creations, so Tindie offers adults something similar. Going beyond just showing off those products, however, Tindie adds the ability to buy and sell those self-made wares. A battery-powered guitar amplifier, a USB pH meter and a robot that plays Angry Birds on an iPad are all among the homemade creations currently listed on Tindie, which aims to let makers buy and sell homemade gadgets, kits and parts. Raspberry Pi, Arduino and 3D printing are all among the technologies represented on the Oregon-based site, which says it has enabled maker revenues of more than USD 800 since late June. There is no fee for listing items for sale, but Tindie deducts 5 percent of the sale price before sending funds to the seller. In this era of increasingly affordable computers and components, it seems a safe bet that DIY creations will be on the rise. Time to help turn the world’s makers into sellsumers with a like-minded effort of your own? Spotted by: Katherine Noyes It was a little over a month ago that Dutch stroller manufacturer Joolz began giving its cardboard packaging a new lease of life as chairs and lamps, and now Israeli entrepreneur Izhar Gafni has demonstrated just how versatile the material can be. In fact, Gafni has built a working bicycle entirely out of recycled cardboard for a production cost of less than USD 15. We’ve already seen bamboo bikes, of course, but Gafni’s prototype uses recycled cardboard instead and is reportedly designed to accommodate up to 300 pounds. Besides costing very little to produce – between USD 9 and USD 12 per unit, to be specific – the device is also durable, eco-friendly, lightweight and easily carried. Perhaps best of all for those in urban settings is that there will presumably be a reduced chance of it being stolen compared to pricier alternatives. The video below explains the premise in more detail: Gafni is currently looking for investors for his project, according to a Newsgeek report. Eco-minded and transportation entrepreneurs: one to get involved in? Spotted by: Murtaza Patel We’ve seen online translation services and we’ve seen language-learning programs over the years, but not until Duolingo had we seen a venture that marries the two. Sure enough, Pennsylvania-based Duolingo is a site that lets consumers learn a new language for free while helping to translate the web. A native English speaker interested in learning Spanish, for example, can begin by signing up with Duolingo. The site then gives the user single sentences to translate at a level that’s simple enough for a beginner. Users can always request possible translations for words they can’t figure out, and Duolingo helps them learn and memorize those words afterwards through educational examples. They can also see how others translated the same sentence and vote on the quality of other students’ translations. As they gain proficiency over time, the sentences they get become more complicated. Content owners, meanwhile, can upload materials they own for translation on Duolingo; currently that service is free, but there may eventually be a charge for speed and accuracy. Current supported languages include German, Spanish, French and English. The video below explains the premise in more detail: Duolingo is committed to remaining free and ad-free for users, it says, and a mobile version is coming soon. Web-minded entrepreneurs: one to partner with or emulate in your part of the world? Spotted by: Murtaza Patel Regular Springwise readers may recall the MobiUS portable ultrasound imaging device we featured late last year, and recently we spotted a similar new offering with an interesting twist. New York-based ZetrOZ, manufacturer of portable ultrasound generator technology, has now introduced a wearable product designed specifically for treating common musculoskeletal conditions in horses. Ultrasound therapy is widely recognized for its ability to help improve healing in injured tendons, ligaments, muscles and bones. It’s also a commonly used non-invasive therapy for treating inflammation and chronic wounds. The technology has long been used by veterinarians in bi-weekly 20-minute treatments delivered at the clinic, but the new UltrOZ Elite device is the first wearable, long-duration ultrasound system that makes it possible to deliver the therapy without a trained specialist and without having to tether the horse to a large control system. Instead, the horse can receive “all the healing benefits of ultrasound therapy while unattended in the stall,” in the company’s own words. Pricing on the UltrOZ Elite is USD 1,295. UltrOZ has already been used successfully to treat splints, suspensory ligaments and tendons, muscle strains, stiff joints, arthritis and bone fractures, ZetrOZ says. Healthcare entrepreneurs: one to get involved in? Spotted by: Murtaza Patel