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Seventh trend: sharing

Innovation / -

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Among the environments in which the desire for sharing is especially strong, the field of food generates intense interest. This trend can be said to include all online platforms and mobile apps which encourage networking on food issues, whether offering digital resources to obtain short supply chain products, lunches and suppers in private homes, interactive edutainment products for children, store locators for finding restaurants, and much more.

Eat With. The advantage of dining at the home of a chef

Innovation / -

To make the world a more interesting place. That’s the mission of Eat With, the social eating portal that puts individual chefs in touch with tourists who want to eat in a more intimate atmosphere. Where, at times, you find truly special encounters. Like this couple in Rome...

Social eating in Italy has reached a crucial point. The legislator, who often has to legislate on fashions and trends that are already very popular, is trying to fit this umpteenth form of economy sharing that just happens to be going viral across the world.
It offers services like Airbnb that links up demand and supply of accommodation in private homes. This time, the portal addresses those who are looking for an exclusive place to eat. In other words, a private home and kitchen, often considered more homely, more welcoming and more authentic than an impersonal restaurant. One example of this business is EatWith, a San Francisco company created in 2010 from an idea of two friends, Guy Michlin (who is the current CEO) and Shemer Schwarz. The company now features 600 “restaurants” in 163 cities in 35 countries. We asked Andrea Rosen, Director of Global Development for EatWith, what the strengths of this idea are.

What is your secret?
Selection. We accept only 4 percent of applications. We check they are interesting, skilled chefs. We ask them to show us some pictures; then we organize a tasting dinner to guarantee everything is OK.

In what parts of the world is this service most popular?
Europe and the United States are our two main hubs, but we want to become global and we are already active in many different countries.

What do people like about eating at the home of a stranger?
They enjoy spending time with the chef and feel it is a more intimate experience. The people who access our service love the creative food they probably wouldn’t find in a restaurant, and they want to meet new people.

So they dine with other guests?
Yes they do, usually. Some home owners can host 30 people and subsequently accept only five. There’s no maximum or minimum, the system is totally flexible. There are hosts who cook ethnic meals and gourmet chefs with their own creations. We have everything. And prices to match.

How much do you deduct?
15 percent of the total. Our commission is printed on the receipt.

What gave you the idea for the business?
Our CEO, Guy Michlin, was in Crete and was fed up with eating “tourist stuff”. He wanted to try something new, to understand the local culture. So he found a family who would accommodate him and this really was a turning point in his trip to Greece.

What are your objectives now?
We have created a large community and we want to spread throughout every country, starting with the United States. Our main challenge is adapting to the different cultures. Our company aims
to make the world a more interesting place.

Do you have any amusing stories to tell us?
There was a couple who got married in Rome. They were on holiday and were totally taken by the romantic atmosphere of the city. They spoke to their landlady and asked “Do you think you can help us organize our wedding by dinner tomorrow?” She said “Yes, of course!” and organized everything. We’ve also had couples who have got together after they met over dinner. The passion for food is slightly aphrodisiac!

Local products tell their stories online

Taste / -

Giacomo Santoleri e la sua
Giacomo Santoleri, Casino di Caprifico photo courtesy di originàrio

Many craft producers are often not known because, while they are doing an excellent product, they are not well-versed in storytelling. Three start-ups with a passion for digital have found different ways to network.

The commercial success of some producers of local products is often linked to the skills of an entrepreneur, a company, and the local area in storytelling, or in sharing the deep-seated wealth at the core of their product. Often these stories of passion, hard work, quality, would otherwise remain behind the scenes; but today with Internet, it's all coming out.
The appeal of this challenge has been picked up by various micro-enterprises that have found ways of bringing to life the infinite variety of Italy’s food heritage, often in similar ways. One of these is Discovery Food, a start-up founded in April 2014 that, thanks to an idea shared by ​​three young guys from Puglia - Vito Tafuni, Giovanni Mangiatordi and Michele Spinelli -  won Telecom Italia’s Working Capital in July 2014. Without further ado, the three entrepreneurs packed their bags and took off to Milan where they began shaping their ideas ready to go online on November 30.
"Behind every food product there is a story, and it's a story worth telling - says Mangiatordi - but unfortunately even excellent producers have little time to spend on self-promotion or technological skills. Our team, consisting of, among others, two photographers and a specialized copywriter, collects information and materials to create a showcase, which can really pique our reader's curiosity and engage them." Some producers will also use the platform as a marketplace to sell their specialties in Italy or abroad.
"Our site aims not to be a container of products, but of stories - says Spinelli - and so we offer our services to those who so not have the scale for an e-commerce structure or retail facilities throughout Italy, but basically want to be known and to get re-acquainted with visiting customers."
Passion and craftsmanship are ... in a box
"The most exciting part of a food product is the story of who produced it." This belief underlies Originàrio, a new digital platform that allows you to receive every month a tasting box containing a new and different 'story to taste'. "Our vision is to reach people who are passionate – the so-called foodies – about foods and wines made with passion – says Sissi Semprini, a specialist in corporate communications and creator of Originàrio – from the people we got to know over there, where every day they create something good. From a high-quality product, we draw attention to the producer and to the local area of origin. And they tell the story. Using parameters of excellence, our selection also takes into account the sustainability of production methods, respect for people and the environment, according to the principle of 'good and well done', which falls right in the center of the best culinary traditions. "After the first test in July, Box 02 came out in October with the further release in November of a "premium" version dedicated to the festive season. Each box is a concept and contains a selection of gourmet products, from wine to dessert, tasting notes and recipes to enhance the products. Quantities are sufficient for a dinner or a drinks party, because the conviviality is a typical element of 'Italian eating'. Originario aims to combine content and e-commerce, appealing immediately to international markets. Indeed Box 01 is already shipping all over Europe.
The farmer gets social with Farmr
Whereas Farmr, an iOS app that lets you share and book fresh food from small farmers, grocers and farmers amateurs, hinges on the idea of proximity. It was presented as a prototype at the last H-ack Food organized by H-Farm. It is a very simple but effective idea. The small producer has to register on the platform, take a picture of the production that they want to sell that day, write a brief description and share it on the net. Those interested, should contact the manufacturer to arrange the sale.
"Our goal is to bring small farmers, especially organic ones, closer to consumers - say Giovanni Cappellotto, co-founder of Farmr – or even, to make food more popular than it is now." In short, even the democratization of food, has a social soul.

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