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"The distribution chain must reinvent itself if it wants to survive"

Gastronomy and technology come together to offer consumers the best food experience of the 21st century. Reimage Food is Spain's first disruptor, bringing together innovation, technology, food start-ups, food brands and the most cutting-edge concepts in gastronomy of the next few years. Its objective is to showcase the possibilities in the food sector offered by robots, drones, wearable technology and 3D printers. Wikispanishfood.com interviews Marius Robles, CEO and co-founder of Reimage Food, who shares details about the 3D gastronomic experience and the company's upcoming plans.

Gemma Fernández. Periodista. @gemmafdz

Gemma Fernández.- What is Reimage Food?

Marius Robles.- Reimage Food was created out of curiosity and reflection about how technologies that are starting to be within reach of any consumer—Google Glass, smart watches, etc.—can impact the food sector by recommending that people buy a certain food product, in a supermarket and in a restaurant.

G.F.- What can new technologies offer food and gastronomy?

M.R.- They help anticipate suggestions and have the capacity to predict the foods you're going to like, since the technology analyzes all of the data it has collected about you over time. In a supermarket, by just focusing your mobile phone on a product, you can obtain information about its nutritional value and whether or not it's in line with your diet.

G.F.- What does it contribute, and to what degree does it favor, the agri-food industry?

M.R.- The possibilities are enormous. For example, the drone has extensive capacity in the wine sector since it supervises and observes when the vines might be ill or which hectares of a corn crop might be affected.

Surprisingly, this technology is increasing the proximity between the local producer and the end consumer, eliminating intermediaries.

G.F.- If this type of technology eliminates the need for intermediaries, etc., how will supermarkets be affected?

M.R.- The distribution chain will have to reinvent itself. People don't want to spend two and a half house at a supermarket or a hypermarket; part of the process can be done online. Although this purchasing model has existed in supermarkets for more than 8 years, it only accounts for 1% of food shopping.

G.F.- If there's evidence that consumers are reluctant to use this type of platform for food shopping, why would your system work now?

M.R.- People like to see something tangible and spend their time walking around, looking at things and touching them. The Millennial Generation, i.e. people around 25 years old, will use these online options to optimize their time.

G.F.- What do consumers want at present?

M.R.- Now they want greater traceability; they want to know where their products come from and about the corporate social responsibility behind them. There is also an increasing number of food needs, and people want products that are adapted accordingly. Shoppers are more concerned about health and about feeling well. There's also more interest in organic products, and people want items with lower prices that are better quality and are available more quickly.

G.F.- On December 3rd, a dinner will be held in Barcelona and New York simultaneously and entirely in 3D. How is it going to be done?

M.R.- We have the time difference in our favor, although the physical space will only be in Barcelona. The same menu will be created from the printers we will have installed in Barcelona and New York. Lunch will be served in New York and dinner in Barcelona, with just a few minutes' difference between printing dishes.

G.F.- In which countries do you operate and which markets would you like to enter?

M.R.- We need time and for the project to mature before entering new markets. The Americas is one of the most appealing, and we would love to be up and running in Miami in the short term, or in markets with very strong entrepreneurship, such as Peru and Chile.

G.F.- What are the next steps for Reimage Food?

M.R.- We have an enormous number of goals. First we want to get in touch with the top ten start-ups we want to work with us for a four-month period. In the lab, we have to organize all of the technology we have identified and find a way to make it work.

G.F.- Drones, robots, Google Glass and food printers. Where does this leave traditional products and meals? Will they end up disappearing?

M.R.- Never. The two types of gastronomy are complementary. It would be very disappointing if traditional cooking were to disappear.

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27/10/2017