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View Poll Results: Does this idea interest you? Is it something you would engage in?
Yes 4 16.67%
No 16 66.67%
Maybe (please comment below) 4 16.67%
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  #1  
Old 12.10.2011, 18:04
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Entrepreneurial Business Idea

Dear all

I am currently in my third year at Hochschule Luzern, studying international management and economics. I am taking an entrepreneurship class and two friends and I have been given the assignment of developing a new business idea.

After a lot of brainstorming and deliberation, we have come up with a concept which allows people to keep inventory of the items in their fridge from an app on a tablet computer (an iPad, for example) or a smartphone. It would involve installing a small RFID code reader inside the fridge which registers all items when they are put in or taken out of it. For items which do not have RFID tags, a barcode reader will be integrated in the app thus utilising the camera installed in the device already. Since most fridges are built-in in Switzerland, an adjustable holder can be purchased and installed almost anywhere near the fridge.

We see the following potential:
- People would not have to open the fridge constantly and waste energy to see what is in the fridge
- With some collaboration with Coop and Migros, who already have shopping apps (i.e. coop@home and LeShop), it would be possible to automatically add a cart of items which were purchased to the inventory list without having to scan all items
- As many items already have RFID tags, information such as expiry dates could be stored there as well, so that by scanning the item, an automatic reminder is set which will alert consumers when items are about to or have already expired
- Standard shopping lists can be created so that, for example, 1 litre of milk and 6 eggs are purchased from the store every Monday
- It can be set so that when the last one of a specific item is taken out of the fridge or expires, it is automatically added to the shopping list next time so that it is not forgotten

Since we are doing some market research, we would love to hear your thoughts. Comments, suggestions or questions would be much appreciated so that we can develop our idea as much as possible. Of course, we would also like to hear whether this interests you or not as well!

Thanks a lot in advance!
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  #2  
Old 12.10.2011, 18:09
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Re: Entrepreneurial Business Idea

I actually enjoy foraging/grazing/rummaging around inside the fridge or sometimes staring blankly into it.

Nice idea though. Won't all household appliances be networked soon, if not already?
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Old 12.10.2011, 18:11
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Re: Entrepreneurial Business Idea

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we have come up with a concept which allows people to keep inventory of the items in their fridge from an app on a tablet computer
Given the size of refrigerators in Switzerland I'm guessing it's not going to be a very big app..
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Old 12.10.2011, 18:17
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Re: Entrepreneurial Business Idea

Sad though it may seem - I know exactly what is in our fridge and our freezer. We're one of those families that doesn't waste food.

Anyway, we don't need your app.
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Old 12.10.2011, 18:19
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Re: Entrepreneurial Business Idea

I think it's a great idea (and a clear and well thought out post!).

The number of times that I've been sitting in the office wondering what to make for dinner (and whether I have to drop past the shops on the way home) and get stuck at what I have in the fridge and what's already been used. Would be good to have it for cupboards as well.

The ecological slant (however small an impact it would make) is also great as it's such a hot topic.

I guess the issues might be around whether the technology is enough to pick up everything (eg what about items which are barcode free etc). You may have covered this in your post, but my technological know how is not all that hot
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Old 12.10.2011, 18:20
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Re: Entrepreneurial Business Idea

Do these not already exist?

Either I dreamt it, or there are fridges that keep inventories, warn about use by dates and re-order when low on stock.
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Old 12.10.2011, 18:24
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Re: Entrepreneurial Business Idea

How would it deal with someone who puts the milk carton back with 7ml in it?
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Old 12.10.2011, 18:32
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Re: Entrepreneurial Business Idea

The engineer in the house actually built one of these a few years back, using excel.

There was even a printout hanging in the food cupboard.

The problem was, the time that it took updating the data.

As the primary cook, I also seem to just "know" whats in the fridge, freezer and food cupboard, though some might disagree- especially when we end up with 5 boxes of cocopops.

I think your target market is likely to be flat-shares and households where more than one person does the food-shopping and cooking.

Possibly also restaurants- maybe ask which system they use?
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Old 12.10.2011, 18:34
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Re: Entrepreneurial Business Idea

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How would it deal with someone who puts the milk carton back with 7ml in it?
Or deal with someone who has a stash of Mars bars in the fridge which they don't want their partner to know about?
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Old 12.10.2011, 18:35
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Re: Entrepreneurial Business Idea

Would love to have something that tells me my meat/cheese/eggs/pickles/whatever are about to go off, eat them now.

Don't reckon many of the things you put in the fridge will have RFID, they tend to put them on smaller high value items like razors, so a barcode reader would be the way to go.

As another poster mentioned, I was sure these things existed already but if you had one that could be installed in any fridge, that would be good.
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Old 12.10.2011, 18:38
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Re: Entrepreneurial Business Idea

I would say why are you focused only on Fridge. Why not to have something generic for home. There are tons of things a family has inside apartment or in keller. I am sure everyone has heard how every time while moving there is tons of things scraped from keller.

Off course Fridge can be part of app but I would be interested in general inventory app for home.

The idea is neat. Go for it. I promise to buy an app or be the test user on Ipad / Iphone.

Cheers
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Old 12.10.2011, 18:50
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Re: Entrepreneurial Business Idea

I had Cocktail Flow on my Windows 7 phone before I broke it.... it does something similar but for more serious liquids than milk

As well as the basic inventory stuff, it lists recipes that you can make based on the contents of your bar and a shopping list with additional recipes, e.g. "If you bought a bottle of angostura bitters, you could make another 17 different cocktails."

Make recipe/content generation social with a decent ratings system and encourage users to ask not what is in the fridge, ask what awesome stuff you can make with it.
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Old 12.10.2011, 18:59
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Re: Entrepreneurial Business Idea

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Or deal with someone who has a stash of Mars bars in the fridge which they don't want their partner to know about?
Where do you hide them? Is there a drawer with a false bottom?
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Old 12.10.2011, 20:12
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Re: Entrepreneurial Business Idea

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Where do you hide them? Is there a drawer with a false bottom?
You do realise that I now have to kill you

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Old 12.10.2011, 21:03
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Re: Entrepreneurial Business Idea

it's one of those ideas that only a geek would think of that would never work in the real world. hasn't stopped others from doing it though. i've seen a few prototypes before but not sure if any went to manufacturing.

some fridges even have a screen which suggests recipes based on the food left in there.

Last edited by Phil_MCR; 13.10.2011 at 01:04.
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Old 13.10.2011, 02:10
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Re: Entrepreneurial Business Idea

Solid idea, good business principles but as Phil said, it is very geeky. Make it as easy as possible for the consumer and get the buy-in from some big distributors and you could definitely make it work. Neat!
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Old 13.10.2011, 02:21
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Re: Entrepreneurial Business Idea

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Where do you hide them? Is there a drawer with a false bottom?
A false bottom in his drawers? That's not a very nice thing to say
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Old 13.10.2011, 05:20
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Re: Entrepreneurial Business Idea

I don't need your app, too geeky, too stressful.
What I would like is an app that tells me what can I cook with what I have in the fridge given a constraint of X minutes, graded difficult, normal and simple.
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Old 13.10.2011, 09:51
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Re: Entrepreneurial Business Idea

Happened across this article in a Newsletter today and thought of your project! Guess there could be a tie-in across your idea and all the nutrition/health apps. There are even diabetes apps that allow the users to monitor their glucose levels etc.
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Old 13.10.2011, 09:59
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Re: Entrepreneurial Business Idea

a major flaw in the idea is also that most foods are not RFID tagged and the tags (AFAIK) do not contain expiry date information. I can't envision anyone bothering to type in or scan in their food when they put it in or take it out.

also, what about if you take something extremely perishable out of the fridge for too long e.g. cream. is your fridge going to monitor how long it has been out and the temperature the item has been exposed to? is it going to say it is ok to eat and are you prepared for the lawsuits to follow?
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