The Orange Chef snags $1.2M for smart kitchen scale

Faith Merino · December 11, 2013 · Short URL:

Thought you could round down with your calorie counting? Think again.

Counting calories is not for the faint of heart. It’s painful. Unfortunately, it’s a vague science—more of an art, really, which naturally lends itself to cheating. It’s too easy to round down.

Innovations in the Quantified Self movement and its accompanying gadgetry is making it harder and harder to cheat. Now, a new product hitting the market early next year will make it virtually impossible to cheat. (Bye, Cheez-Its. It’s been fun.)

The Orange Chef’s Prep Pad is a “smart scale” of sorts that calculates the complete nutritional value of a food item you put on its surface, down to one gram. And it’s caught the attention of a few heavyweight investors. The Orange Chef announced Wednesday that it has raised $1.2 million in a seed round led by Google Ventures and SparkLabs Global Ventures, with help from Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments, Kima Ventures, The Social+Capital Partnership, Graph Ventures, and several angel investors.

The Prep Pad is definitely a huge progressive leap in the kitchen. With 220,000 food items in its database, the Prep Pad connects with your iPad to show you a complete nutritional breakdown of whatever you set on it, including calories, protein, fat, carbs, and their respective ratios. Trying to keep your fat content under 30% of your caloric intake? WE ALL ARE. But math is hard. The Prep Pad does the math for you and even puts it into easy-to-understand, colorful visuals.

You can easily calculate the nutritional information for whole meals by simply adding one ingredient at a time to the scale. The information is saved in the app so that you can get an accurate readout of the whole, by serving size. That makes it easy to adjust portion size by simply adding or removing certain items.

The Prep Pad also comes with a barcode reader for already prepared foods, and even has information for some restaurant meals. But the company says its main aim is to get people active in the kitchen.

"I am very excited by our investment in The Orange Chef. Their smart food scale is one of those rare products that gets a WOW reaction from everyone we’ve shown it to,” said Frank Meehan, Co-Founder and General Partner of SparkLabs Global, in a statement. “At SparkLabs Global we see tremendous global potential for The Orange Chef as they lead the way in the tech revolution of the massive food sector."

A company spokesperson says that the Prep Pad will soon be on shelves and the company will announce a partnership with a major retailer in the coming weeks. For now, it’s currently available for pre-order and will start shipping in late February (so, sadly, it won’t be available by Christmas).

The Prep Pad currently only supports iPad, but the company says it will be iPhone compatible eventually. The Orange Chef is also offering several Prep Pad accessories, including a cutting board with iPad stand.

(Note: I want this. If anyone feels like getting it for me, I totally won’t accuse you of implying that I’m fat.)


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