Digital and physical worlds meet in the foodverse
There are many things you can do in the metaverse. Eating is not one of them. But you can peruse virtual food halls, take cooking classes, and discover exciting culinary creations and chefs inside. Then, through phygital platforms, you can combine your Web 3 experiences with real-world ones for a full-circle foodie adventure. Welcome to the foodverse, where you can learn about food traditions from all over the world and acquire tokens redeemable in the physical world. Much like a good fusion cuisine, the foodverse blends the best of two worlds, physical and digital, for enhanced culinary enjoyment.
The foodverse is made possible by OneRare, which has pioneered bringing the food industry to Web 3. The company has a vision to gamify the culinary scene, introducing good food to new audiences. Through that, it broadens the reach of food and beverage brands and brings NFTs to life.
“We are creating a unique gaming layer that allows users to claim NFTs, play food-themed games, and discover new products along the way,” Supreet Raju, co-founder of OneRare, told UAE’s The National. “It’s a way for the industry to leverage blockchain technology to develop a direct relationship with their audience. Patrons can support their favorite restaurants in the same way they support favorite influencers, while businesses can discover new markets.”
Taking advantage of the metaverse’s virtual space, OneRare can bring chefs and restaurants from all over to a single location, connecting them to fans throughout the world. There, visitors can shop in a virtual farmers market and chefs can set up virtual kitchens to demonstrate their latest recipes. Foodverse users can collect ingredients and solve puzzles to claim tokens they can redeem in the real world to deepen the connection between eaters, chefs, and restaurants.
“The plan is to share a few of my signature recipes, which OneRare will use to create NFTs and gaming segments. Users who are able to ‘crack’ the recipe code can win tokens that can be redeemed as anything from real-life restaurant experiences or a day with me in the kitchen,” Indian celebrity chef Saransh Goila told The National. “A day will come when you might be eating a burger in your home and your friends will be eating the same burger elsewhere on the planet, but you will all be chilling together in the metaverse together.”
Further blending the digital and physical, phygital NFT pioneers Akshaya have partnered with Michelin-starred Vikas Khanna on his “Sacred Foods of India” cookbook. Only 250 copies were made, and the book comes in a maple and walnut box studded with Swarovski crystals. Along with it comes an NFT that Akshaya created on the Ethereum blockchain that provides the owner a certificate of authenticity and access to a digital twin of the book, which features 100 recipes of huge importance to India’s spiritual heritage.
“I wanted to combine the digital and physical into this one-of-a-kind collectible like no other cookbook author has done before,” Khanna said. “I am proud to share this innovative work of art, the incredible history and flavors of Indian cuisine within, as well as the compelling stories that make these sacred, uniting recipes so special.”
Akshaya served as a host for the FoodVerse showcase in Dubai in November, bringing together chefs and culinary students in person and online to share recipes and cook them. Through VR, students tuning in remotely were able to ask questions via voice and text, learning new techniques and discussing business plans. It was the ideal showcase for the impact the foodverse can have online and off.
The emergence of the foodverse has chefs and restaurant brands looking for ways to expand their reach.
Deepinder Chhibber is the first female chef in the foodverse, where she shares recipes passed down from her grandmother.
“When this opportunity came my way, I did my research and found the concept deliciously futuristic,” she told The National. “Being in Australia and cooking Indian food, I felt this would be a great opportunity for people to be part of my culinary journey. This space will allow people living all over the world access to my restaurant and recipes, as well as my food dreams.”
Fine-dining conglomerate the Olive Group teamed with HeyHey! on a collection of NFTs in conjunction with in-restaurant events to create an immersive experience for customers. It’s only the tip of the iceberg as restaurateurs navigate how they can add flavor to the foodverse.
“The metaverse is essentially the next iteration of the internet and of socialization,” Simon Ritchie of Dubai-based fresh fast-food outlet Pickl said at the FoodVerse. “It’s where the next generation are going to be. It’s where the next generation are going to spend their money. It’s where the next generation are going to meet their friends. If brands like yours want to meet them and want to speak to them, the metaverse is where you want to be. To get your brand metaverse-ready, you really need to identify the aspects of that brand you want to take from the physical world to the digital one. How can we take that experience that you have at a real, physical store and still enjoy it just as much when you go online?”
With the possibilities the foodverse offers, you can have your cake and eat it too.