We spoke to Christian Lane, whose brand Smarter has been disrupting kitchen appliances since 2013 and is now moving into a broader conversation around sustainable consumption and food waste reduction.
With numerous kitchen appliances unchanged for decades, Smarter founder Christian Lane saw an opportunity to disrupt the space that many people consider the heart of a home. Although initially met with skepticism, his idea for a smart kettle swiftly became a Firebox bestseller, and the company is now bringing to market its latest editions of connected kitchen products.
In the year since Springwise first featured the company, Smarter has experienced significant growth and is in the process of launching its third generation iKettle, second generation Smarter Coffee machine and the much-anticipated FridgeCam.
As the company grows and the technology develops, Smarter remains dedicated to its core mission – creating products that help improve daily life through increased convenience. The biggest improvement in the latest iKettle and Smarter Coffee machine is the capability to work with other smart home devices. Smarter’s products and app now communicate with Google Home and Amazon’s Alexa (among others), which allows users to activate their appliances with a simple voice command. Teams and families can set up multiple users for a single appliance, ideally reducing the numbers of arguments over whose turn it is to make the next hot drink.
Now, with the FridgeCam, Smarter is moving into a broader conversation around sustainable consumption and the reduction of food waste. “The FridgeCam is very, very different from anything we’ve seen before,” said Michael Hutchinson, Smarter’s marketing executive. He envisages the product will change how we shop for and consume food. “And it’s an affordable solution. Rather than having to buy a new, connected fridge, anyone can buy the FridgeCam and use it with what they already have.” With the Smarter app, users of the FridgeCam are able to remotely view the contents of their fridge. The app tracks expiry dates, suggests recipes based on what is currently in the fridge and automatically creates shopping lists. The app can be linked to a user’s favorite store as well as send alerts with reminders to pick up frequently used items or order online.
Reducing food waste is a global challenge, and Smarter really wants to be a part of that solution. A 2017 survey by Smarter found that 98 percent of households throw away 20 percent of their total food purchases. On average, that means that each UK household wastes GBP 700 of food each year. More than half of that wastage is consumable. “FridgeCam features help prevent that,” Hutchinson continued. “We want to give consumers more knowledge in a way that fits in with our on-demand lifestyles. And the recipe component of the app should help to encourage us all to broaden our cooking repertoire by making full use of the available food”.
Smarter’s plans for the future include further exploration of the use of AI and voice activation in the kitchen and the development of partnerships. The company recently announced that it has begun working with German refrigerator manufacturer Liebherr. Every Liebherr SmartDevice-enabled fridge will now be sold with a Smarter FridgeCam. “We’re in a really exciting place,” Hutchinson concluded. “It’s gratifying to see how far we’ve come as a company and fascinating to see where we go next.”
13th November 2017