- According to a press release, June, a seven-in-one smart oven, announced a partnership with Whole Foods Market that will allow the company to integrate its smart cooking technology with the grocer's products.
- June has updated its software so that users can now tap a button to automatically cook 30 products from the grocer's 365 Everyday Value line and other specific foods and recipes that have been incorporated into June's chef-created custom Cook-Programs. Users can also use the June mobile app or Amazon Alexa voice commands to control the appliance. The update took place Oct. 9, Digital Trends reported.
- Whole Foods also began selling the smart ovens in October at select stores in California.
Since Amazon's foray into grocery, the physical walls of a supermarket seem to only be eroding further. Online ordering and home delivery already have started to outpace in-store shoppers, with no signs of slowing. With forecasts by the Food Marketing Institute and Nielsen projecting that the online grocery industry would reach $100 billion by 2025, technology will continue to play an even more integral role in the grocery experience.
Whole Food's collaboration with June shows that this could be the start of a movement by grocers to optimize technology for things beyond e-commerce to provide services that make everyday life for consumers easier. June's smart oven software update combines culinary utility with convenience. The appliance's user interface now includes a Whole Foods Market icon that allows users to tap a button to cook preprogrammed food and recipes, including over 30 365 Everyday Value products. In addition, the integration with Alexa may also eventually let people order food by voice or through the June mobile app.
Despite strong customer demand for convenience, the June oven system may have some hurdles. Although the Alexa integration seems to be the full-circle conclusion to Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods, there are cautionary tales that show that customers may be wary of some of the new services and technologies. A prime example is Whole Foods' trial of self-service juicers from Juicero last year, which abruptly ended after the machine was taken off the market 16 months after its launch.
In addition, due to the small product selection as well as few options currently outside of Whole Foods' 365 store brand, some consumers may find that the order-to-cook capability limits their creativity in the kitchen.
Still, e-tailers like Amazon will not be daunted in their pursuit of products using internet of things technologies. Last month the e-commerce giant announced the release of its microwave with Alexa integration and Dash-enabled popcorn ordering. Although the appliance will not be available for shipping until November 14, it underscores Amazon’s determination to pursue a seamless integration between shopping and cooking — an advantage that at a grocery store level will be unique to Whole Foods with the June oven.
Correction: A previous version of this story stated customers could order products from Whole Foods using the June oven's app and Amazon Alexa-enabled features. These capabilities are not available at this time.