If the kitchen is the new gateway to the connected home, then the new PantryOn smart shelf appliance might be a unique foot in the door for integrators. Set to debut in late March, PantryOn is smart shelf appliance designed to sit in kitchen cabinets or a separate pantry to track food usage. Unlike other systems that require scanning bar codes as a homeowner takes food in and out of the pantry, PantryOn simplifies the process by basing it solely on weight.
After placing the PantryOn unit on a shelf, the homeowner uses a companion app one time only to indicate the particular food that is being placed in one of the designated spots. Once the food is placed, the system logs the weight of the food. As the food is used, the app notes the weight change and then creates a grocery shopping list for the homeowner when any of the food reaches a critical point. When the food is at full capacity, it displays with a green icon, then migrates to yellow, orange and red, which puts it on the shopping list.
The shelf itself is AC powered, so it requires an electrical outlet in the pantry. It connects to a smartphone via Wi-Fi. The company is working on a battery-powered unit, as well as an in-refrigerator unit.
There are multiple versions of PantryOn, including a larger unit that has 12 designated spots for placing goods and retails for $599. A smaller unit has fewer spaces and retails for $300. The units are 2.5 inches high, but company president Fadi Shakkour says flat out that he knows that is too high. A 1-inch-tall shelf will be out soon.
The unit is best suited for baking supplies like flour and sugar that are commonly placed in sealed containers, as well as canned goods that have consistent weights. The design certainly lends itself to having a highly organized pantry that doesn’t allow for products to be crammed in chaotically (like at my house).
PantryOn has been in development for three years, according to Shakkour, president of the Paramount, Calif.-based company, which has been making MAC smart faucets for years. Shakkour says he first came up with the idea 20 years ago, but that was long before smartphones and Wi-Fi. The company showcased the product for the first time at CES 2020 in Las Vegas. Shakkour says PantryOn has an open API and is potentially controllable by third-party control systems, though no actual drivers have been written yet to his knowledge.
Shakkour notes that PantryOn will not be sold directly to consumers, only through dealers. He notes there is traditional margin built-in for resellers.