During a dinner with other food technology entrepreneurs and investors in late 2018, the entrepreneur and investor David Friedberg he spoke to scientists about a recent study he had read. According to the research (and it took scientists, I think to myself), most beverages are mainly composed of water, with only 1% contributing to the flavor.
It didn't take long for someone to wonder aloud if it was possible to build a machine that could mix almost any drink. "Why not create some sort of Star Trek replicator and let people 'print' whatever drink they want, when they want, right in their homes?"
Thus was born the concept for Cana (an evident biblical reference, n'est pas?) A "molecular printer for drinks" just out after four years of incubation.
Cana, a Netflix for drinks
The device, which one of the investors describes as a "Netflix for drinks," contains only a single cartridge that houses hundreds of flavor compounds, according to the company.
According to Friedberg, Cana can produce almost any type of drink: "We can print an infinite number of drinks from a few main aromatic compounds. We know we can do this in many categories of existing beverages: fruit juices, carbonated soft drinks, hard seltzer, cocktails, wine, tea, coffee and beer. Consumer satisfaction tests have rated our printed drinks as identical or better than commercially available alternatives. Our hardware can print drinks quickly and accurately, which will save you time and money. "
Decentralized production, not just drinks
In the size of a toaster, Cana employs what the company calls a "new microfluidic method of dispensing liquids." Which, whatever the meaning of the phrase, translates into only one thing: decentralized production.
Making a molecular printer (am I really using this word?) Actually means inventing a new type of supply chain. The production of things that were born in factories located anywhere could start directly from the point of consumption: everyone's home.
It goes without saying that 99% of the material is more than locally sourced: tap water. Better this or the entire production and logistics chain, including packaging? Less energy to produce, fewer emissions.
Cana is an avant-garde, whether you like it or not
Intelligence in the food system is moving towards a great leap. The comparison with Netflix is not risky: as with other products that had many, many supports, even food can partly "dematerialize", break down, and be born in faster and cheaper ways. Whether they are robots capable of making salads by assembling fresh ingredients, or technology that allows you to grow food or print drinks, this is a trend that we will see growing.
Friedberg and the Cana team have promoted their machine in a clever way, as a way to make drinks without having to throw a hundred containers each month in the trash or recycling bin.
From science fiction to reality: by the end of February the company will present the prices of the device and the first model. Cana promises that her machine and flavorings will cost less than packaged drinks.