Company Rolls Out Smart Chillers that Let Customers Buy Food with WhatsApp and WeChat

Michael Wolf wrote . . . . . . . . .

Ray Nathan had a problem.

The longtime technology entrepreneur and investor had spent years and a significant amount of his own capital to create a line of fresh, direct-to-consumer Indian food under the brand NÜTY, only to find traditional Indian retailers were not well equipped for the type of cold-chain continuity required for such a premium product.

One solution would be to use a fresh-food vending machine like Farmer’s Fridge or Bite Kiosk but, as it turns out, these automated cashierless food retail machines had yet to make their way to India. So Nathan did what any self-respecting food company founder who had also built his own tech company in a previous life would do: He built his own solution.

Conceived as a sister company to NÜTY Foods, Nathan decided to start NÜTY Technology to make IoT powered smart chillers which would keep his food at the right temperature until purchased by the consumer.

The chillers, which Nathan and his company had on display this month at the IoT Fair in India, give customers the ability to buy in person using NFC or through social apps. In India, that means Whatsapp, which allow consumers to buy food through the chat function.

To buy food from a NÜTY chiller with WhatsApp, the user simply opens the app and starts a conversation with NÜTY, finds a chiller near them and orders by texting the word pay. From there the chatbot sends a pay link. Once they pay, the consumer is free to pick up their food at the designated chiller.

The company is also testing their food chillers in China with WeChat as the conversational commerce platform. WeChat has become an entire commerce ecosystem in and of itself over the past few years with its mini-program platform, which NÜTY’s ordering and payment app is built upon.

The food inventory is tracked using RFID. Each chiller is outfitted with an “RFID set top” and has internal RFID sensors can track up to 30 or 40 products at a time.

Today Nathan’s chillers are in 80 locations, including across office parks, coworking spaces, cafeterias and shared living spaces, and he has plans to roll them out across India and in certain cities in China and, eventually, into the US market.

While mobile payments are taking off in every region, countries that embraced superapps like WeChat and WhatsApp for payment have moved faster than other regions. China in particular has pulled ahead of pretty much everyone else, where some estimates have mobile payments adoption above 80% of transactions.

As we’ve written here for some time on The Spoon, interest in next-generation vending machines and kiosks has been growing in recent years, with self-service fresh food kiosks being as one of the more interesting categories. In the US, players like Byte and Farmer’s Fridge have emerged as an alternative to cafeterias, local deli or the fresh food aisle at your grocery store, but in markets like India options like the NÜTY chiller could help to actually serve as a critical platform to enable the availability of high quality packaged fresh food.

Source: The Spoon

Pork Burger with Portobello Mushroom and Fried Egg


2 tablespoons olive oil
5 mushrooms, finely chopped
7 oz lean ground pork
2 teaspoons tomato ketchup, plus extra to serve
a pinch of mustard powder
3 tablespoons fresh breadcrumbs
a pinch each of sea salt and black pepper
2 eggs
2 Portobello mushrooms
2 English muffins


  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a frying pan/skillet set over medium heat. Add the chopped mushrooms and fry until soft and brown. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
  2. Put the pork in a bowl with the tomato ketchup, mustard powder, breadcrumbs and salt and pepper. Work together with your hands until evenly mixed. Add the cooled mushrooms and mix again.
  3. Divide the mixture in half and shape into two burger patties. Press each burger down to make them nice and flat.
  4. Heat the remaining oil in the same frying pan/skillet and fry the burgers over medium-high heat for 5 minutes on each side until cooked through. Keep warm.
  5. Fry the eggs to your liking and grill/ broil the Portobello mushrooms under medium heat.
  6. Slice the English muffins in half and lightly toast them under a medium grill/broiler or in the toaster.
  7. Spread a spoonful of tomato ketchup on the base of each muffin and put the cooked burgers on top. Put a fried egg and a grilled/broiled Portobello mushroom on top of each burger and finish with the lids of the muffins.
  8. Serve with extra tomato ketchup on the side.

Makes 2 servings.

Source: 100 Ways with Eggs

In Pictures: Home-cooked Breakfasts

Researchers Challenge New Guidelines on Aspirin in Primary Prevention

Giselw Galoustian wrote . . . . . . . . .

The most recent guidelines for primary prevention recommend aspirin use for individuals ages 40 to 70 years who are at higher risk of a first cardiovascular event, but not for those over 70. Yet, people over 70 are at increasingly higher risks of cardiovascular events than those under 70. There has been considerable confusion from recently reported results of three large-scale randomized trials of aspirin in high risk primary prevention subjects, one of which showed a significant result, but the other two, based possibly on poor adherence and follow up, did not. As a result, health care providers are understandably confused about whether or not to prescribe aspirin for primary prevention of heart attacks or strokes, and if so, to whom.

In a commentary published online ahead of print in the American Journal of Medicine, researchers from Florida Atlantic University’s Schmidt College of Medicine and collaborators from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, and the Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, provide guidance to health care providers and their patients. They urge that to do the most good for the most patients in primary care, health care providers should make individual clinical judgement about prescribing aspirin on a case-by-case basis.

“All patients suffering from an acute heart attack should receive 325 mg of regular aspirin promptly, and daily thereafter, to reduce their death rate as well as subsequent risks of heart attacks and strokes,” said Charles H. Hennekens, M.D., Dr.P.H., senior author, the first Sir Richard Doll Professor, and senior academic advisor in FAU’s Schmidt College of Medicine. “In addition, among long-term survivors of prior heart attacks or occlusive strokes, aspirin should be prescribed long-term unless there is a specific contraindication. In primary prevention, however, the balance of absolute benefits, which are lower than in secondary prevention patients, and risks of aspirin, which are the same as in secondary prevention, is far less clear.”

The researchers emphasize that, based on the current totality of evidence, any judgments about prescribing long-term aspirin therapy for apparently healthy individuals should be based on individual clinical judgments between the health care provider and each of his or her patients that weighs the absolute benefit on clotting against the absolute risk of bleeding.

The increasing burden of cardiovascular disease in developed and developing countries underscores the need for more widespread therapeutic lifestyle changes as well as the adjunctive use of drug therapies of proven net benefit in the primary prevention of heart attacks and strokes. The therapeutic lifestyle changes should include avoidance or cessation of smoking, weight loss and increased daily physical activity, and the drugs should include statins for lipid modification, and multiple classes of drugs likely to be necessary to achieve control of high blood pressure.

“When the magnitudes of the absolute benefits and risks are similar, patient preference assumes increasing importance,” said Hennekens. “This may include consideration of whether the prevention of a first heart attack or stroke is a more important consideration to a patient than their risk of a gastrointestinal bleed.”

Individual clinical judgement by health care providers about prescribing aspirin in primary prevention may affect a relatively large proportion of their patients. For example, primary prevention patients with metabolic syndrome, a constellation of overweight and obesity, hypertension, high cholesterol, and insulin resistance, a precursor to diabetes mellitus, affects about 40 percent of Americans over age 40. Their high risks of a first heart attack and stroke may approach those in survivors of a prior event.

“General guidelines for aspirin in primary prevention do not seem to be justified,” said Hennekens. “As is generally the case, the primary care provider has the most complete information about the benefits and risks for each of his or her patients.”

According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 859,000 Americans die of heart attacks or stroke every year, which account for more than 1 in 3 of all U.S. deaths. These common and serious diseases take a very large economic toll, costing $213.8 billion a year to the health care system and $137.4 billion in lost productivity from premature death alone.

Source: Florida Atlantic University

Insufficient Evidence Backing Herbal Medicines for Weight Loss

Researchers from the University of Sydney have conducted the first global review of herbal medicines for weight loss in 19 years, finding insufficient evidence to recommend any current treatments.

Senior author Dr Nick Fuller said with overweight and obesity rates reaching epidemic proportions worldwide, many people are turning to herbal supplements as an alternative approach to maintain or lose weight.

“The problem with supplements is that unlike pharmaceutical drugs, clinical evidence is not required before they are made available to the public in supermarkets or chemists,” said Dr Fuller from the University of Sydney’s Boden Collaboration for Obesity, Nutrition, Exercise and Eating Disorders based at its Charles Perkins Centre.

The systematic review and meta-analysis, published in Diabetes, Obesity & Metabolism, analysed the latest international research in this area finding 54 randomised controlled trials comparing the effect of herbal medicines to placebo for weight loss in over 4000 participants.

Results of the review and metanalysis

The research team found that despite some of the herbal medicines showing statistically greater weight loss than placebo, weight loss was less than 2.5kg and therefore not of clinical significance.

“This finding suggests there is insufficient evidence to recommend any of these herbal medicines for the treatment of weight loss. Furthermore, many studies had poor research methods or reporting and even though most supplements appear safe for short-term consumption, they are expensive and are not going to provide a weight loss that is clinically meaningful,” said Dr Fuller.

About herbal medicines for weight loss

The most recent data on the use of weight loss supplements, from a US study, showed that among people trying to lose weight 16 percent (12 percent of men and 19 percent of women) reported past-year use.

Herbal medicines, or ‘herbal supplements’ as they are commonly known, are products containing a plant or combinations of plants as the active ingredient. They come in various forms including pills, powders or liquids.

Common herbal supplements used for weight loss include green tea, garcinia cambogia, white kidney bean and African mango.

The authors write that between 1996 and 2006, 1000 dietary supplements for weight loss were listed on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods without evaluation of efficacy.

These substances can be sold and marketed to the public with sponsors (those who import, export or manufacture goods) only required to hold, but not necessarily produce, evidence substantiating their claims. The authors note that only 20 percent of new listings are audited annually to ensure they meet this requirement.

“The growth in the industry and popularity of these products highlights the importance of conducting more robust studies on the effectiveness and safety of these supplements for weight loss,” said Dr Fuller.

The review excluded studies where the herbal medicine did not include the whole plant, was comprised of plant oils or combined with other dietary supplements such as fibres and proteins. This analysis will be reported in a future paper.

Source: The University of Sydney

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