Just What We Needed Dept: The Ikan Grocery Scanner

ikan scanner photo

Here is the idea: you put this $400 scanner on your kitchen counter, and as David Pogue of the New York Times describes it: "Each time you’re about to throw away an empty container — for ketchup, cereal, pickles, milk, macaroni, paper towels, dog food or whatever — you just pass its bar code under the scanner. With amazing speed and accuracy, the Ikan beeps, consults its online database of one million products, and displays the full name and description." Review your list and send it to a participating online grocery and bingo, next thing you know they are at your door- a Netflix for groceries.

Ikan says it's green; when you pass a container through the scanner it tells you not to throw away recyclables. They also claim that "consolidating many deliveries on a single truck removes a number of cars from the road, providing an additional green benefit."

Except that a green sustainable diet doesn't have bar codes.

ikan scanner bi photo

Every food rule we have learned from Michael Pollan tells us that this machine is evil. He tells us:

1) Eat food. (the great-grandmother kind).
2) Avoid food that makes health claims, Don't take the silence of the yams as a sign that they have nothing valuable to say about health.
3) Avoid foods with unpronounceable or unfamiliar ingredients, or any high fructose corn syrup.
4) get out of the supermarket.
5) Pay more, eat less.
6) eat leaves.
7) Eat like the French- enjoy your food, have small portions and don't snack.
8) cook.
9) Eat like an omnivore.

the Ikan tells us:

1) buy processed foods wit bar codes.
2) be unimaginative and buy what you bought before instead of experimenting.
3) don't worry about seasonal, local, fresh, or anything that would complicate the shopping process.
4) packaging is your friend.

The Ikan reinforces just about every bad habit and wrong choice in the North American diet and should be declared a health hazard. It might be better if it's million product database listed ingredients, calories, fat or vitamins and kept a running total, but no, it just keeps you coming back for more of the same crap you had last week. ::Ikan

40 years ago we were promised a kitchen computer that did the ordering but also wouldn't let dad have the cheeseburger and beer he really wanted for lunch. The Ikan doesn't even come close.

Ikan-like kitchen visions of the future

GE Kitchen of the Future
The Kitchen of the Future , 1967
1957 Frigidaire Dream Kitchen of Tomorrow- in Czech
Kitchen Design for the Future : Whirlpool's Green Kitchen Concept ...


Michael Pollan on how to eat without bar codes:

Michael Pollan : Read it and Eat ! : TreeHugger
The Silence of the Yams : TreeHugger
Quote of the Day: Michael Pollan on Eating : TreeHugger
Read Kelly Rossiter at Planet Green on how to cook without barcodes
Grow Your Own Veggies
Encourage Your Kids To Cook
Tuck Into Local, Organic Meat
Live Green. Think Local First
Make Way for Spring Vegetables
Celebrate Some More: It's the Year of the Potato

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