Posts Categorized: Morsels

How food apps use algorithms to make recommendations for you

“…algorithms are also responsible for fueling restaurant apps. Restaurant recommendation (or “discovery”) apps — from stalwarts like Foursquare to upstarts like MyFab5 — come up with recommendations based on algorithms’ interpretations of data (yours and theirs). Others, like the just-launched Luka and the six-month-old Flavour, apply algorithms to recommendations curated by professionals and tastemakers. But when biases, context, and emotion are removed from the equation, how effective are the algorithms when it comes to recommending something you’d like — especially when it’s regarding something culturally ingrained and intensely personal like food? And how do you find a balance between the two?” You can see the full article on Eater here. “We have a data team that is constantly trying to solve the problem of finding the newest and greatest places around the world,” Covington says. “You can imagine the scale of this problem — instead of finding out about cool places with an ear to the ground, we are working on doing it with machine learning.”

Vegetables: the future of food?

Livestock are not as efficient as plant based foods, according to a recent report from The Economist. And if we want to be able to feed an extra 1.8 billion people in 2050, we are going to have to think about the future of food product seriously. The report says: “According to the United Nations, livestock uses around 30% of the world’s ice-free landmass and produces 14.5% of all greenhouse-gas emissions. Making meat also requires supplying animals with vast amounts of water and food: in the United States producing 1kg of live animal weight typically requires 10kg of feed for beef, 5kg for pork and 2.5kg for poultry. Yet between now and 2050, the world’s population is expected to rise from 7.2 billion to over 9 billion people—and the appetite for meat to grow along with it. To keep up with demand, food production will need to increase significantly. It is a big challenge, but also an economic opportunity. “Anytime you can find a way to use plant protein instead of animal protein there’s an enormous efficiency in terms of the energy, water and all sorts of other inputs involved—which translates at the end of the day to saving money,” says Ali Partovi, a San Francisco-based entrepreneur and investor in tech startups, such as Dropbox and Airbnb, as well as half-a-dozen sustainable-food companies.”