The internet fridge is a long-running joke in tech circles: LG launched its first internet fridge, the $20,000 Digital DIOS, to widespread mockery in 2000. But Samsung's new connected kitchen tech suggests that it might be time to stop chuckling and start cooking in a more connected way.
The tech centres around the Samsung Food app, which it demonstrated at the IFA 2023 tech show. It's actually quite an old app – it was previously called Whisk and came out a decade ago – but this version is brand new and is designed to bring all kinds of connected kitchen kit together.
If you're like me you probably already have quite a lot of tech in and around your kitchen: I have an air fryer, an Instant Pot, a bread maker and a smart oven, and I use my iPhone 14 to store and retrieve recipes and to put together my shopping lists. But none of these things talk to each other, and the app-enabled devices I've tested don't talk to rivals either. Samsung would like to change that.
What does Samsung Food actually do?
The AI-powered Samsung Food app enables you to manage your recipes, plan your meals, create your shopping list, get suggestions based on what ingredients you actually have, and so on. And it also connects to compatible devices, so once you've decided what you're going to make it'll automatically sync the appropriate settings to the appropriate device: your air fryer, your microwave, your oven and so on. In the long term it might also integrate with Samsung's Health app to plan healthier meals, or meals that help you manage specific conditions.
The big downside right now is that there's only one device that works with Samsung Food to actually cook your stuff, and that's the Samsung Bespoke wall oven. But Samsung is showing us the recipe rather than serving up the finished dish here: in addition to connecting Samsung Food to its SmartThings platform it's a key driver of the Home Connectivity Alliance, which aims to deliver interoperability between different manufacturers' devices.
Samsung isn't daft: it's well aware that very few of us buy all our kitchen kit from the same company. For Samsung Food to become more than a really cool concept, it needs to persuade the rest of the kitchen tech industry to bite.