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FoodiniPro: the connected 3D Food Printer appliance for every kitchen

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - FOODINIPRO (FoodiniPro: the connected 3D Food Printer appliance for every kitchen)

Période du rapport: 2019-06-01 au 2020-05-31

"Natural Machines has leveraged the support from the EU to complete the development of FoodiniPro and bring to market this new kitchen appliance, that combines 3D food printing and laser cooking technologies together with artificial intelligence and artificial vision to help individuals and professionals to have a healthier eating while reducing food waste in line with United Nations Sustainable Development Goal #12.
In the process, Natural Machines has filed several patents protecting the technologies developed and has worked together with customers to ensure a perfect market fit for the product, providing means to personalize food in means that could not be envisioned before the launch of the product, benefitting the population in general and segments, like the elderly, that had no specific solutions available for their needs.
Besides food waste reduction, FoodiniPro allows also to reduce the amount of water used in the cooking process and the amount of energy used in the process, contributing to a more sustainable planet"
"NM moved closer to its ambition of serving the global B2C market and have FoodiniPro become a common kitchen appliance in all the kitchens in the world.
The objectives of the project, both from the point of view of the company and from the point of view of the EU have been achieved. New qualified jobs have been created, new European technology and IPR has been generated and NM has contributed to generate an ecosystem in Europe,generating partnerships with companies and creating customer-provider relationships with bigger brands.
NM has been the only European company selected in some events and collaboration opportunities and many collaboration opportunities envisioned by the companies participating. PoCs are being conducted with companies in Japan, China, USA, Mexico and Europe.
Having factory prototypes in such short period of time was an ambitious goal, but thanks to the approach of leveraging previous developments, NMhas been able to create the new devices with laser cooking technology and conduct some pilots with customers in a satisfactory way.
The appearance of COVID-19 has posed a major challenge, not only to NM but to most of the startups worldwide. However, we foresee new opportunities coming from the need of the population to get services that help them with safety, health and wellbeing, where NM is providing a compelling solution.

During the execution of this project (2018-2020) the goals have been reached reagrding IPR, Quality management, Design and development, Dissemination and Communication activities and Business development among others.

The main objectives were #1: manufacture prototypes to the new FoodiniPro model, #2: complete certification process and set up pilots with target customers,#3: set up Chanel partners and presence in events to help with dissemination activities and gain traction and #4 launch Natural Machines customer support platform to automate trouble ticketing and customer inquiries.
Achievements:
O1:FoodiniPro Prototypes in place and pilots conducted with customers:
● All new Systems in place and the firmware and software supporting it working
● AI capabilities in place
● AV capabilities in place

O2: Factory tests and certification process completed for EU (CE stamps) and USA markets:
Pilots have been conducted with selected customers. Due to COVID-19 crises, some customer priorities have shifted, but other customer opportunities have emerged.

O3:
● NM has shifted commercial focus to Chin. For the USA remains a priority to set up a newtwork of dealers.
● Discussions have been held with major kitchen appliance brands (Samsung, Bosch, Electrolux, SEB Groupe)
● NM is participating in shows in which we can get exposure at a reduced cost, like NRF 2020 (NYC, USA) and others
● NM has opened commercial offices in USA (NYC), Italy (Milano/Torino) and China (Beijing) to deal with local customers. Local licenses in place in China

O4: Scaling-up of the customer service:
● NM has rolled out its customer support platform.
● NM is in the process of integrating IA chatbots and adding virtual agents to its structure providing 24x7 multilingual support.
● NM can provide local support in the EU, USA and China, through local presence"
"NM doubled its number of employees during the period of the project (2018-2020) and allowed the company to consolidate its operations and grow in sales, being very close to its objective of breaking even.
Regarding revenues, there has been a growth around 100% in 2019 that is expected to continue in 2020, despite COVID-19 having had a very significant impact in the commercial activity.
Given the technology generated is very unique,NM is in a very good position to become a seed of a hub for this technology. Many interns have been trained in Natural Machines and found a job in a very short period of time, as the kind of expertise that is being generated is in demand by companies like Danone.

From a societal point of view, the market segment that has experience a bigger surge in demand has been elderly car and hospitals, where NM can provide solutions to tailor nutrition and textures specifically designed for people with dysphagia (over 40% of people over 65 years old suffer from this limitation, and it has been identified as one of the symptoms related with COVID-19), keep control of the intake of the patients and create a communication channel between the doctor and the patient/elderly thanks to its data proposition. This has led to PoCs in Europe, USA and Japan that Natural Machines aims to extend to the homes this kind of support and care, especially for homes with dependency.
From an environmental point of view, NM has progressed in Sustainable Development Goal #12 from the United Nations going from reducing food waste in production and consumption to also reduce the water needed to cook and a significant reduction in energy used in the process. The way food is cooked in FoodiniPro also reduces the creation of benzopyrenes and acrylamides, which cause cancer and preserves most of the nutrients due to its low cooking temperature, resulting in a healthier eating which will also have and impact in the wellbeing of the society as a whole."