• What is Digital Gastronomy?
  • What is Digital Gastronomy?
  • What is Digital Gastronomy?
  • What is Digital Gastronomy?
  • What is Digital Gastronomy?
  • What is Digital Gastronomy?

The developments in both technology and management understanding have changed the way of doing business and work flows in kitchens as well as in other business lines. The use of high-tech equipment in kitchens with shapes and features that were unimaginable in..

 
An Evaluation of Technological Developments in the Field of Gastronomy: Digital Gastronomy
Demet GUNER
Aydogan AYDOGDU
 
Summary
In the advanced technology age we live in, digitalization has begun to be used in the food industry as well as in many other industries. In this study, which examines the importance of innovative practices in food and beverage business lines, current studies in the related literature are determined as research subjects. In this context, studies published in journals scanned mostly in Web of Science, Science Direct, Scopus and TR Index indexes were examined. In the research, works published in the said indexes in 2020-2021 were selected in order to reflect the rapid changes in the field of technology with fairness.
 
The main themes of the examined works focus on the internet of things, smart applications, robotic systems used in restaurants, virtual restaurants and finally three-dimensional food printers, and their relationship with the concept of digital gastronomy has been revealed. Three-dimensional food printers, which have started to be used in many areas, and robotic systems that change conventional service applications have been examined within the scope of the research. The results of the research revealed that the most common digital gastronomy applications in food and beverage businesses are three-dimensional food printers, smart phone applications, digital service robots and various internet-based kitchen products.
 
Keywords: Smart applications, digital gastronomy, robotic system, virtual restaurant, 3D food printer
 
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Technology; It is defined as the set of solutions put forward in order to facilitate and support life in contemporary societies through scientific knowledge. All kinds of visual, audio, printed and written tools that enable the disclosure of information are also accepted as information and communication technology (informatics) products (Coşkun, 2015). The ever-developing and changing technology has brought along many important innovations in the field of gastronomy, from the cleaning sector, where eating and drinking is transformed into science and art. 
 
The developments in both technology and management understanding have changed the way of doing business and work flows in kitchens as well as in other business lines. The use of high-tech equipment in kitchens with shapes and features that were unimaginable in the past, while saving time and labor, resulted in the food produced reaching the highest level in terms of human health (Akman and Erbil, 2018). 
 
For example, many modern equipment, from dough sheeter to potato peeler, from automatic cutters and slicers to fruit and vegetable juicers, has opened a new era in terms of time, labor saving and health, while making the work of kitchen workers easier.
 
With the support of technology, businesses increase their performance, get more efficiency from their employees and respond quickly to changing consumer demands and expectations (Çalhan and Kılıçhan, 2018). It is seen that the technological developments in the kitchen gained momentum after the "Industrial Revolution". With the industrial revolution, many technological innovations showed themselves in home and industrial kitchens and brought new cooking, cutting methods and tools (Zencir, 2015).
 
As in other businesses, food and beverage businesses are also rapidly affected by changes due to their structure (Çavuşoğlu, 2019). It is stated that today's contemporary consumers are more inquisitive, inquisitive, knowledgeable and extroverted, and they also have rapidly changing demands and expectations (Albayrak, 2017; Işık and Keskin, 2013). This rapid change in consumer demands and expectations forces businesses to be competitive. 
 
Following the said change in consumer demands is one of the areas where food and beverage businesses find it difficult. Keeping up with the innovations brought by the intense competitive environment can sometimes cause problems for businesses and employees. On the other hand, it is believed that one of the weapons that will take food and beverage businesses one step ahead of their competitors in tough competition conditions is the use of technology (Melian-Gonzalez and Bulchand-Gidumal, 2016). In particular, prejudice and uneasiness towards the use of technology can negatively affect competitiveness in market conditions (Australian Government, 2018; Tripoli and Schmidhuber, 2018; Troshani, Janssen, Lymer, and Parker, 2018).
 
In our third millennium, restaurant businesses are using the possibilities and opportunities offered by science and technology to make consumers' dining and drinking experiences special and unique. Innovations applied by using technology in restaurant businesses; Providing service with an atmosphere that gives a real impression with virtual images, appealing to all senses while serving, using applications such as e-menu and edible menu can be given as examples (Aksoy and Akbulut, 2016).
 
The search for difference in the food and beverage habits of the consumers and the changes in the marketing activities of the enterprises have witnessed the emergence of new concepts in gastronomy. In order to develop gastronomic products and to produce new formulas and flavors, other branches of science have been interacted with, and the terms "molecular gastronomy", which combines physical-chemistry sciences with culinary applications, and "neurogastronomy", which examines the way foods stimulate our senses and nervous system, have emerged (Batu, 2017; Karagöz). , 2018). 
 
Neurogastronomy and molecular gastronomy are terms that we often hear in the field, as well as concepts related to the physical and chemical structures of foods and consumer perception. Factors such as the colors of foods, their images, and the shape of the plates on which they are presented have a significant impact on consumer demand. In this study, in addition to molecular gastronomy and neurogastronomy, attention is drawn to the applications of "Digital gastronomy", another concept that has attracted attention recently.
 
In this study, which is based on the technological innovations recorded in the field of digital gastronomy, the importance of alternative and innovative practices in food and beverage businesses is emphasized. For this purpose, current studies published in journals scanned in Web of Science, Science Direct, Scopus and TR Index indexes have been examined from the perspective of digital gastronomy. Key words such as digital cooking, service robot, smart kitchen were entered into the databases listed in the previous sentence, and the found artifacts were examined. 
 
In the study, care was taken to make a selection of the works published between 2020-2021 in order to reflect the rapidly changing technological movement in food and beverage businesses as in every field. In the said selection, "Digital Gastronomy and Internet of Things, Digital Gastronomy and Smart Applications, Digital Gastronomy and Robotic Systems Used in Restaurants, Digital Gastronomy and Virtual Restaurants, Digital Gastronomy and 3D Food Printers" were prioritized.
 
Digital Gastronomy
 
In addition to existing technologies, technological equipment that has become compatible with internet connection and smart phones has gained a new dimension with the concept of "digital". Although unmanned robotic systems are seen as a revolution with the Industry 4.0 revolution, the idea that technologies produced without human creativity will be inefficient led to the birth of the industry 5.0 revolution. The Industry 5.0 revolution, unlike Industry 4.0, not only puts the commands from the consumer into practice, but also largely meets the consumer demands and tastes with the joint interaction of human and robot skills (Odabaşı, 2017). 
 
It is predicted that the products created with the internet of things and cloud systems in machines and robots will require less labor with digitalization and accordingly reduce the weekly working times. It is thought that more efficient and sustainable production will be realized with the creativity of human hands and the power of robotic systems. Devices and automation systems that emerge from the combination of human creativity and the power of robotic systems provide convenience in many sectors, including the food industry.
 
Thanks to the digitization (digitization) of communication systems, it has become possible to transfer digital data. Along with these developments, the term digital technology has begun to be used in many sectors, including food and beverage businesses. Digital technologies are defined as applications that display, store and transfer information by projecting it onto a screen (Cabi, 2015). From this point of view, it can be stated that all applications, especially the internet, including mobile smartphones, computers and cameras, are within the scope of digital technology.
 
Three-dimensional food printers, smart refrigerators, smart ovens, smart grinders, smart pans, smart jugs, etc. many more products show the feature of being digital technology products as well as being technological (Mogali, 2015). Moreover, accessing many products and services through the internet or internet-based social channels becomes much easier with the existing technologies.
 
Thanks to globalization, brands, products and applications have been transformed from a local dimension to a global dimension that everyone can reach (Şahin, 2003). The aforementioned globalization and technological developments have also been influential in the field of gastronomy (Güneş, Biçer-Bayram, Özkan, & Nizamlıoğlu, 2018). 
 
Together with the technological applications and techniques used in the field of gastronomy, the concept of "digital gastronomy" has emerged. The term digital gastronomy is related to how production technologies are integrated with the kitchen and how they affect the preparation stages, physical and chemical structure of the food (Zoran and Coelho, 2011). There are many more studies on digital gastronomy. For example, Shabanabegum et al. (2020) have chosen as a research subject the transmission of the raw food in the refrigerator as healthy menu suggestions to the users via the internet of things after detecting with the help of "near infrared reflector". 
 
Rahman et al. (2020) also conducted a research to determine the rheological and mechanical properties of edible gel materials for three-dimensional food printer technology. Another research on 3D food printers was conducted by Mantihal, Kobun, and Lee (2020). Researchers have examined the three-dimensional food printer technique with the perspective approach.
 
It can be said that similar studies have been carried out in Turkey and that there has been an increasing interest in recent years. As a matter of fact, Aytaç and Korçak (2021) discussed the internet of things based intelligence applications for proactive waste management in fast food restaurants in their research. 
 
Another research on digital transformation applications in the field of gastronomy in Turkey was carried out by Hazarhun and Yılmaz (2020). The research, which is a case study, was carried out in Turkey's first and only digital restaurant. The research, which reveals the gains and losses caused by the use of robots in food and beverage businesses, has made significant contributions to the Turkish gastronomy literature in terms of digital technology applications. 
 
Another study examining the effects of technological developments on the gastronomy sector from a collective perspective was conducted by Öztürk (2020a). In another study, Öztürk emphasized that the concept of “smart tourism” emerged thanks to the phenomenon defined as Industry 4.0, by quickly adapting the tourism sector to technological developments (Öztürk, 2020b).  
 
With a general evaluation, it can be stated that the studies generally focus on robots, smart applications and various technological equipment used in kitchens and restaurants.
 
Digital Gastronomy and Internet of Things
 
One of the latest innovations in the digitalized world is the concept of the internet of things. The Internet of Things provides the communication environment between objects or between objects and people (Haller, 2010). Thanks to the Internet of Things, Internet-based systems perform the necessary functions without the need for external physical intervention. This application, which can also be associated with the concept of digital gastronomy, is a supporter of sustainable developments in the kitchen. 
 
For example, fruits and vegetables are nutritious agricultural products that have various benefits for human health, but they are perishable. Cold chain technologies have been used for years to reduce the quality loss of fruits and vegetables from farm to fork and are still being used. However, a high amount of losses occur during the packaging, pre-cooling, transportation and storage of these fresh agricultural products. Thanks to the Internet of Things, new technologies have been developed that can help monitor and control the quality improvement of the post-harvest product. It becomes easier to diagnose and take action against potential problems affecting the quality of fresh produce in IoT supply chains (Onwude et al., 2020).
 
In the age of technology, suggestion mechanisms have been developed by using the internet of things in the most efficient way. Shabanabegum et al. (2020) developed a mechanism that recommends various recipes to the user according to the raw foods determined by controlling the raw food in the refrigerator. Mechanism; It consists of sensors to measure the quantity and quality of raw foodstuffs, an IoT gateway and a cloud that stores data. With the developed system, it is possible to create and use recipes that allow the correct use of raw food items in the refrigerator. In addition, if there are spoiled foods in the refrigerator, they can be detected without damaging other foods, and the necessary precautions are provided.
 
In another example, it is seen that there is an internet of things system developed for the "Quick Service Restaurant Industry (HSRE)". Aytaç and Korçak (2021) provide some information on how to use IoT technology wisely for waste management/minimization and service quality in HSRE. In the aforementioned study, various experiments were carried out in a real restaurant environment and it was determined that the automation system based on the Internet of Things reduced food waste by about 10%. 
 
Digital Gastronomy and Smart Apps
 
“Zero Hunger”, which is among the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), is a problem that is tried to be solved on a world scale (UNESCO, 2012). According to the Global Nutrition Report announced by the United Nations (UN), the number of people struggling with hunger has been increasing since 2014 and approximately 9% of the world's population suffers from malnutrition. 
 
According to the same report, it is stated that the Covid-19 epidemic has increased the global nutritional problem and if this trend continues, the number of people who cannot get enough nutrition may increase to 840 million people in 2030 (Global Nutrition Report, 2020). 
 
Various studies and projects are carried out around the world to meet the needs of people suffering from hunger (United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization of United Nations-[FAO], 2018). However, until now, any program or activity that resets the world-wide hunger rate has not been implemented yet. 
 
However, it should not be overlooked that there are smart phone applications that ensure the delivery of edible foods to those in need, and that there are social responsibility organizations working in this field. Some of the smartphone applications are; NoFoodWasted, FoodCloud, and Too Good To Go are examples. The common point of all these practices is that they act as a bridge between those in need and food suppliers (Olum and Taş, 2020).
 
Another smartphone application is the AREasyCooking application. With this application, which provides augmented reality to recognize the materials in the refrigerator and barcode reader support for packaged and labeled products, the right meals can be prepared with the right ingredients. In the study carried out with volunteer experiments, it was ensured that the materials were identified quickly and reliably and an appropriate recipe using these materials was found. In addition, the application includes additional filters for allergenic and dietary restrictions. Thus, by using the right products, the person can view the food options suitable for their diet with their recipes (Iftene, Trandabat, & Radulescu, 2020).
 
Robotic Systems Used in Digital Gastronomy and Restaurants
 
There are many current reviews of robots that have started to be used in food and beverage businesses (Fust'e-Forn'e, 2021; Hazarhun and Yılmaz 2020). In the modern technology era we live in, robot waiters are used to offer food and beverage suggestions to restaurant guests, take and deliver orders (Şahin and Yağcı, 2017). Thanks to their software, robot waiters have the ability to address guests by name and remember the previous order on repeat visits. 
 
Examples of the use of robots in food and beverage establishments include the ethnic Japanese Hajime Restaurant in Thailand. Four robots in samurai costumes are employed in the said enterprise (Pieska, Luimula, Jauhiainen, & Spiz, 2013). Pizza Hut Restaurant Chain is another example of using robots in its operations in the Far East and uses robots it calls "Pepper".
 
In Turkey, Touch Restaurant has the title of being the first technological food and beverage business to use robots. Two robots called "Rozzy and Robby" serve the guests in the establishment. The common features of robots used in food and beverage establishments are to assist guest orders and provide a different experience. In addition to these, Hazarhun and Yılmaz (2020) found that Rozy and Roby provided savings to the business by eliminating costs such as personnel insurance, premiums, travel fees and meal expenses in the examination they conducted at Touch Restaurant.
There are opinions that the increasing use of robots in food and beverage businesses has some disadvantages as well as the advantages listed above. 
 
One of these, perhaps most important, is the belief that it has led to the disappearance of the gastronomic experience, which has transformed eating and drinking into a science and an art. It is claimed that the communication and interaction that develops between the human and the robot leads to the loss of the value of the eating and drinking experience. For this reason, it is argued that programmed machines create an advantageous situation especially for businesses that provide fast food service, but are not suitable for businesses that provide slow food service. Because the slow food experience is seen as a set of experiences that locals and visitors actively co-create, promote and develop together (Fust'e-Forn'e, 2021).
 
Digital Gastronomy and Virtual Restaurants
 
Consumers who want to benefit from the different experience opportunities brought by digitalization see the act of eating as more than just feeding. For this reason, it is considered essential for businesses operating in the food and beverage sector to benefit from digital transformation in order to maintain their existence and compete with other businesses (Yıldız and Davutoğlu, 2020).
 
Food and beverage businesses, which were previously marketed only for the purpose of creating physical strategies, have turned to virtual reality strategies with the spread of computerized cloud systems, the internet and smart phones (Aksoy and Akbulut, 2016; Bilir, 2020). Virtual reality is expressed as an environment where the user's relationship with the world is completely destroyed (İçten & Bal, 2017).
 
Restaurant businesses have to differentiate between products and services and provide unique experiences to consumers in order to be different from their competitors and to make their guests want to share their experiences in digital environments. In line with this necessity, businesses that use animations to improve the dining experience are becoming more common day by day. While these establishments increase the dining experience, they also inform the guests about the preparation stages of the meal. 
 
The first example of these restaurants is the Italian chain Carluccio's (carluccios.com). This restaurant, which gives its guests the feeling of dining under the water, in the middle of a vineyard surrounded by flowers, on the top of a mountain or in a typical French winery, with the support of 3D glasses and headphones, while having Italian food, is considered among the restaurants of the future.
 
Le Petit Chef Restaurant, which offers a unique dining experience to its guests, is another example that uses a virtual reality application (lepetitchef.com/regensburg). In the restaurant, the ingredients in the food ordered by the guest and the way the food is prepared are presented, accompanied by animated films projected on the dining table. 
 
A unique experience service is offered to the guests who accompany Marco Polo, the leading actor of animated films, on his culinary journey in the restaurant. Another example is the FatDuck restaurant in London, where the sounds of the waves are played by a tablet computer during the seafood service and a different experience is provided to the guests (thefatduck.co.uk).
Digital Gastronomy and 3D Food Printers
 
Three-dimensional printers and printing technology are used in a variety of industries such as automobiles, aerospace and, more recently, food. In this way, complex models with a unique internal structure are produced. Three-dimensional food printing also leads to special situations in the nutrition of consumers and advances in digital gastronomy in terms of visual appeal (Mantihal, Kobun and Lee, 2020). In addition, since precise calculations can be made with three-dimensional food printers, food losses are minimized and an environmentally friendly production is carried out (Şahin and Yağcı, 2014). Three-dimensional food printers have many advantages over traditional production techniques. 
 
These printers offer customized food experience, personalized nutrition, high productivity and low production costs (Pulatsu and Lin, 2021). For example, in a study conducted at the University of Singapore, geometric shapes were printed from a dough mixture of flour, butter, sugar and egg white using a three-dimensional printer (Sun, Peng, Zhou, Fuh, Hong, & Chiu, 2015). Another example that can be given to the use of 3D printers in catering establishments is the “Moto” sushi restaurant in Chicago. 
 
In the restaurant in question, sushi that does not contain fish, foods prepared from corn starch or soybeans are printed on an edible paper with a three-dimensional food printer and presented to the guests (Bernstein, 2005).
 
In terms of health, health-friendly productions can be made by getting support from three-dimensional printers. In addition to these, three-dimensional food printers are also used to overcome the difficulties brought by some diseases. For example, three-dimensional printers are used to increase the variety of food for dysphagia patients, also known as dysphagia. Mantihal, Kobun and Lee (2020), in their experimental study, converted peas, carrots and bok choy into edible form for dysphagia patients with a three-dimensional food printer.
 
Discussion and Conclusion
 
In the digitalized world, there is no area left where the internet and technology have not entered. The technology applied especially in the food and beverage sector is constantly changing and developing. Considering the changing and developing consumer demands and expectations, it is seen that it is not possible to progress without support from technology. Digital assistant robots, personalized production techniques, e-menu and many other innovations offer a different experience for consumers. 
 
Businesses that adapt to the necessity of using technology brought by the pandemic period have managed to survive, even to a certain extent. On the other hand, small or large-scale enterprises that could not keep up with technological developments had difficulty in maintaining their existence and had to stop their activities.
 
In this study, technological innovations in the field of gastronomy were evaluated on the basis of digital gastronomy and current works in this field were examined. When the studies examined within the scope of the research are evaluated in general, it is seen that the study subjects mainly focus on three-dimensional food printers, smart phone applications, digital service robots and various internet-based kitchen products. 
 
When the results obtained in the studies examined are evaluated in terms of gains or losses; It is seen that the use of the right materials and the right weights for healthy menu planning is at the forefront. Detecting and eliminating the infrared reflector devices in the refrigerator they are placed in and the spoiled foodstuffs in the refrigerator is a health advantage obtained thanks to the digital gastronomy phenomenon. 
 
It can be stated that another dimension of the benefits provided by the digital applications employed in the field of gastronomy is characterized by the consumer experience. Another result is that the application of the three-dimensional printing technique, which is frequently encountered in the works examined within the scope of the research, in food and beverage businesses provides a different consumer experience. It can be said that this result provides an advantage in creating preferential demand in favor of enterprises that apply the said experience in harsh competitive conditions. 
 
The only disadvantage caused by digital gastronomy applications in food and beverage businesses is; It is considered as the disappearance of consumption with digital gastronomy applications for the purpose of gaining a unique experience rather than satisfying the stomach.
 
When the geographical distribution of the current studies evaluated in the field of digital gastronomy is examined, it is noteworthy that the most publications are made from Asian countries. When the situation in Turkey is examined, it is observed that Turkish researchers attach more importance to the subject and make academic evaluations. Although technological developments are adopted a little slower in Turkey compared to other countries, the launch of Touch Restaurant, which is the first technological food and beverage business, is considered an important development. 
 
In the light of what has been said, it is believed that the results of the research impose some obligations on the relevant stakeholders. 
 
Chief among these are public authorities and legislators who supervise food and beverage establishments. It is considered necessary to make digital applications, which are expected to become cheaper day by day with the progress of technological developments, especially in efforts to ensure human health. The pandemic conditions we are in make this obligation even more meaningful and order it to be put into practice without wasting time. For this, it is recommended that the Turkish Grand National Assembly decide on the necessary legal arrangements first. 
 
After the enactment of appropriate laws, the central and provincial organizations of the relevant public institutions will need to carry out effective and widespread supervision. Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), which are the type of chambers and associations that are the umbrella organization of food and beverage businesses, are also expected to adopt an attitude that mutually protects the rights of consumers and producers in the aforementioned legal regulations. For this reason, it is recommended that these NGOs take the initiative and put their reason for existence into practice and be persistent followers. In addition, consumer associations are expected to contribute to the ideal of "healthy food, healthy society", especially by taking an active role in legal regulations.
 
This study, like all other scientific studies, should be evaluated within its own limitations. For example, time, space and pandemic are only three of these constraints. These constraints make it impossible to address all of the digital gastronomy issues that have a very wide scope. For example, in the study you are reading, the concept of digital gastronomy is not associated with taste, smell and similar issues. 
 
Another missing point in the research is digital user experiences. It is hoped that the fact that these deficiencies are due to research limitations will not be ignored and will be tolerated to some extent. However, it can be suggested that researchers interested in the subject study the advantages and disadvantages of digital gastronomy applications, the possible effects of taste, smell and gourmet experience on digital gastronomy and similar issues from a consumer point of view, which this study could not address. 
 
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An Evaluation of Technological Developments in the Field of Gastronomy: Digital Gastronomy
Zoran, A., Coelho, M. (2011). Cornucopia: The concept of digital gastronomy, Leonardo, 44(5), 425-431.
 
As the head chef Ahmet ÖZDEMİR, I see the source:
Ms. Demet GÜNER and Ms. I sincerely thank Aydoğan AYDOĞDU for his academic studies titled "An Evaluation of Technological Developments in the Field of Gastronomy: Digital Gastronomy" and wish him success in his professional life . It will definitely be considered as an example by those who need it in professional kitchens, related research and in the world of gastronomy.
 
*** You can contact me through my contact information for more information on the subjects specified by labeling, taking into account my professional background in the above article, and to get support for Gastronomy Consulting in the titles within my Service Areas. ***
 
Turkish Cuisine Chefs, Turkish Chef, Restaurant Consultancy, Kitchen Consultancy.