NFTs: Eat with your eyes first!

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Right from 3D food printing to food robots and the more recently launched NFT’s, the way we experience food is changing forever. NFT’s (non-fungible token), is a non-interchangeable unit of data stored on a blockchain, a form of digital ledger. Food in NFT’s is a digital asset, any piece of data, be it photograph, video or other collection that can be recorded into the blockchain.

The F&B industry around the globe look forward to the rise of this new technology. Several brands from outside the country had created quite a buzz, with the launch of limited digital edition flavours called CryptoCrisp and Spicy Potato Soft Tacos. Budweiser beer cans also launched The Heritage Collection, its NFT sale, featuring 1,936 unique Budweiser digital beer can designs. Though the collection sold out, one can still snag the copies. The price for cheapest resales are around Rs. 1,65,003 and rare cans are running for more than Rs. 15,011,60. But they were just digital collectibles or NFT artworks, none of these products were edible or even real. The person who proudly owns them can resale or brag these NFT’s on their social media.

NFT of a burger (Photo: Instagram/KARTICKART)

To bring its usage in real life, Indian start-up OneRare is building a food metaverse, a virtual world which involves elements of food, gaming and NFTs on blockchain. In the foodverse, ingredients and dishes will be available as NFTs, which can be used to play games. “We are building a foodverse where dishes and cuisines from all over the world will be featured to offer a gamified experience. This is to introduce users to the blockchain. Gradually, one can also swap NFTs with a real meal. They can go to the F&B partner, show their NFT and get the real meal. For that, we will be tying up with the food chains,” says Supreet Raju, co-founder of OneRare.

For the metaverse, they have roped in chefs from across the world to feature their signature dishes. Anthony Sarpong, Michelin starred Chef from Germany, Arnold Poernomo, judge at Masterchef Indonesia, chef and founder of Goila Butter Chicken from India are some of the names.

NFT of OneRare dish, Hanoi Pho.
NFT of OneRare dish, Hanoi Pho.

“Food has no boundaries, and it’s an intriguing opportunity for chefs to move from the comfort of our kitchens to explore this vast, virtual world. A food metaverse will allow me to interact with people from all over the world and I’m very excited to bring my special offering to the blockchain. We are culinary artists at the end of the day, and bringing my art to the next level with NFTs is very exciting,” says Goila.

Indian food has been getting attention across the globe in recent years and NFT would take it to the next level. “Indian cuisine is one of the most indigenous cuisines in the world, with so much history and science behind each dish. I want to take this opportunity to not only represent Indian food in the metaverse, but also learn more about other cuisines from the very best,” says Goila.

For chefs, NFTs are a great way to protect and validate the work, and give them a place on the blockchain, forever. “It’s the high time for chefs to validate their work and blockchain really enables that. A chef could produce original work and put it on the metaverse, as NFT. I think it is also relevant for restaurants, as they can use NFT as a medium to start engaging with their audience. The restaurants can sell their memberships only via NFTs. Influencers and bloggers can also use it as an original content space for themselves. It’s very exciting for the technology world and food world together,” says Tarun Sibal, chef.

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