After the initial craze for Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) during the cryptocurrency bull market of 2021, food companies are now trying out the ways this internet-based technology can help them.
FoodIngredientsFirst looks into how NFTs, which are financial securities made up of digital data stored in a blockchain, a type of distributed ledger, are being used in the international food scene.
NFTs can be used in new ways, like giving customers special discounts. Companies, for instance, can use them to expand their marketing into different internet virtual spaces called “metaverses.”
Since an NFT is unique, it can’t be switched with anything else. To prove that this is true, all NFTs and who owns them are recorded in the blockchain as a kind of digital receipt.
Non-fungible tokens are usually images because it is cheaper to create and mint them on the blockchain. They can also be gifs or videos.
Starbucks is now on the Internet
During Starbucks’ August Q3 fiscal 2022 earnings call, interim CEO Howard Schultz said that Starbucks NFT collectibles would be available in September through the company’s rewards programmes.
“We believe that this new digital Web3-enabled initiative will allow us to build on the current Starbucks Rewards engagement model, with its powerful spend to earn stars approach, while also introducing new ways to emotionally engage customers, expanding our digital third place community, and offering a wider range of rewards, integrating our digital Starbucks Rewards ecosystem with Starbucks-branded digital collectibles as both a reward and a community building element.
The coffee chain says that “Web3” is an umbrella term for ideas like “decentralisation,” “blockchain technologies,” and “tokenomics,” which means “economics based on tokens.”
“Many people see NFTs as a new way to own digital art, and they are often traded in a very risky way. This was somewhat true in the early days of the space, but the company says, “We are fascinated by how NFTs allow people to own a programmable, brandable digital asset that also serves as an access pass.”
The company says, “We think NFTs have a lot of potential to make an expanded shared-ownership model for loyalty, unique experiences, building communities, telling stories, and getting customers involved.”
Starbucks has said that they are not committed to any of the currently available blockchains. Still, it said that sustainability is a top priority. This means that tokens that use Bitcoin’s banned “proof of work” technology and require energy to “mine” new tokens will not be allowed.
“We plan to take a step-by-step approach here, and we’re open to moving quickly, trying things out, learning from them, and working together.” Later this year, the company says, “We plan to launch our first NFT collection, membership, and community based on coffee art and storytelling.”
Wendy is a space pioneer.
The fast-food chain Wendy’s calls its virtual space in “Horizon Worlds,” which is owned by Meta, the company that owns Facebook. Except for the indoor basketball court, the company’s first use of the space was to open a normal-looking digital restaurant in April. If VR users did a few simple tasks, they could get a discount.
In June, Wendy’s went all in and built a Wendy’s castle in the metaverse, telling people to “reach the top of Wendy’s breakfast castle, where teetering bacon bridges and flying biscuits await.”
The fast food chain gave VR visitors a free breakfast sandwich to get them to come in.
Last Halloween, Chipotle also gave away 30,000 free burritos to people who played its Roblox game.
Wendy’s also wanted to trademark virtual goods and services, tokens, collectibles (including NFTs), digital art, and playing cards. McDonald’s, KFC, Taco Bell, Panera Bread, and Panda Express are just some of the other big food companies that have registered similar trademarks.
A Taco Bell chain that came before Taco Bell released five NFTs in March 2021
They were sold as a set of five collectibles (NFTs are unique, but some have multiple copies). According to the company, all profits were given to the Taco Bell Foundation, which will use the money to “empower youth to find and pursue their career and educational paths.”
The company sold all of its tokens on Rarible, a market for NFTs, in just 30 minutes. Taco Bell sold each NFT for less than $2, but it still makes money on the sales because it gets 0.01% of the money made every time an NFT is traded.
Even though the number of transactions has been low overall, FoodIngredientsFirst has seen in the blockchain that some of them have reached just under $20,000 each.
Taco Bell said that it “may drop a second one” of NFTs in the future, but it has been more than a year and the company hasn’t looked into what NFTs can do.
Behind them are McDonald’s, Burger King, and Pizza Hut
During the NFT boom of 2021, McDonald’s, Burger King, and Pizza Hut all came out with their own NFTs.
Since the first NFTs came out, McDonald’s hasn’t done much more with them, but some local locations, like McDonald’s Italy, have worked with digital artists to launch sets of NFTs.
Burger King chose an NFT strategy based on rewards. Customers scanned QR codes on their meal boxes to find a digital collectible. Once they found four collectibles, they got an NFT that gave them a price reward, like a free meal.
Pizza Hut Canada made NFTs, which had pizza recipes on them. The pizza chain released a new set of NFTs this year that gave customers exclusive access to an augmented reality (AR) comic book.
Also, NFTs are becoming less open to everyone. Yes Plz, a coffee chain in Los Angeles, gives its members who have an NFT a coffee subscription. For each NFT, you can get one bag of coffee every month.
NFTs that are encoded with food recipes are also popular, as there is now a market for chefs to sell their recipes and get royalties when they are resold. This market is based on different crypto tokens and exists on multiple websites.
Coca-Cola has announced that “the first-ever Coca-Cola flavour to be born in the metaverse will be available in April.” The brand has its own set of NFTs and hosts immersive experiences on the video game Fortnite.