(Photo by Roberto Torres)
University City-based Simply Good Jars, makers of leafy, ready-to-go meals in plastic jars, is aiming to deploy a number of “smart fridges” stocked with its meals across the Philly area.
The startup, officially founded at the end of last year but in the idea stage for years, is a creation of Jared Cannon, who’s leveraging his chops as a chef at Tria, DiBruno Bros. and Iron Hill Brewery to craft the 600-calorie noms which feature a mix of proteins, vegetables, carbs and fats.
On Monday, the company unveiled the first pilot test of its smart fridge concept, currently in development with a manufacturing and design company in New York. For now, the idea is really simple: you open the fridge, choose your preferred jar and then Venmo the company $10. It relies on the honor system and a sticker that reads “Jared is watching.”
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“What’s really cool about the new one is that it has an artificial intelligence component that will have facial recognition, offer suggestions and light up the options that are better for you,” said Cannon, 32. “We’re trying to make healthy food faster.”
Three of the new machines, which will have users’ payment information, are coming as early as May, Cannon said. The pilot test will help the company determine where they would get the most foot traffic.
(Reporter’s note: If you do try one, can’t go wrong with the pesto one.)
Based out of 1776’s Powelton Village location, Simply Good Jars employs six full-timers and Cannon, who said the rampant food waste inside the restaurant business made him want to seek an alternative.
“So much food gets scraped into the garbage,” said Cannon. “The answer was always: ‘That’s just how it is’ but that was never a good answer for me.”
For every meal sold, and every plastic jar returned, the company donates one meal to Philabundance.
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