Eating entails more than fulfilling our nutritional needs-it goes deeper than that. It is communal, enhances friendships and builds bonds.
Chinua Achebe, an African literary icon, said:
” When people gather together to eat, it is not because they do not have food in their houses. They gather to eat because it is good for kinsmen to eat together. “
This underscores the deep impact food has in building relationships and society at large. With the advent of the metaverse, it is inevitable that food will find its way into web 3.0. Large brands have already started experimenting with this. This primer will look at how we can consume food in the metaverse and what food brands are currently doing as they get into web 3.0.
FoodVerse: What It Entails.
The foodverse can be defined as bringing food into the metaverse. Basically, it is having an experience of eating, whether real or virtual food, while experiencing the metaverse.
Firstly, brands can use the metaverse to enhance client-experience when ordering food. People are used to getting menus when ordering meals. The metaverse can help project these menus in ‘real life’ and help a client have a visual experience of the food they would like to order, how it will look like and even feel it before they make an order.
Secondly, friends can also meet together in a room and say have a drink or even share a meal while enjoying the immersive experience of the metaverse. For example, they can meet and have a meal while on a cruise ship, in the middle of a forest or attending a live session of their favorite band. This digital immersion enhances their relationship and creates an experience that is similar to real world events.
Thirdly, food brands can use NFTs to create rare products, such as wine, and produce them in limited quantities. They can then mint NFTs for these products and sell them to their consumers. These NFTs are a mark of genuine ownership and enhance the brand value of their companies. Collectors would love this. Consumers have the option of selling these NFTs on secondary markets or even create communities around them in the metaverse. Tokenizing food products also helps communities to feel ownership of the companies and their brands.
Finally, users of Metaverse platforms such as Sandbox can also buy land , build their homes and invite friends over for meals. This will be a game changer as a user can invite multiple friends over from across the world and share virtual meals or drinks with them. Of course, there is still a long way to go before we bridge the divide between virtual and physical food especially when such diverse geographies are involved, but this would be a step in the right direction.
Notable Brands in the Foodverse
At the moment, virtual food may look like it has little value, however, in the long term, merging both the virtual and physical world is the direction to take. Companies are experimenting with instances where you order your food on the metaverse, get it delivered to you and you eat without necessarily leaving the experience. One notable brand doing this is Chipotle. They have partnered with Roblox to allow customers have an experience of virtual food. When customers make orders on the metaverse, they earn credits which they can later redeem for free food delivered to their houses. This shows how the physical and digital world can merge.
Other companies like Onerare are tokenizing the food experience by bringing food lovers and linking them up with celebrity chefs. They then create NFTs from the experience they get from preparing and sharing meals. All of this is done on the metaverse in a gamified manner.
McDonald’s is also planning to open restaurants in the metaverse. The company has already patented ten trademarks on the metaverse. It intends to leverage virtual experiences and enable customers order food from the metaverse and get them delivered to their houses. Customers can also get digital food for their avatars. Other food companies that have filed for trademarks as they seek to launch products in the metaverse are: Kraft Foods Group, In- N- Out Burger and Del Monte Foods.
Restaurants and food brands stand to benefit from getting into the foodverse. Firstly, getting into the foodverse helps these companies build customer relationship and engagement. Secondly, it also enhances brand awareness and can drive more consumers to their products. Finally, it offers an opportunity for restaurants to create multiple income streams.
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