Turns out Australians actually do want an Internet fridge

Angus Kidman 31 May 2017

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The reason is food waste, not tragic tech addiction.

The Internet-enabled fridge has been the subject of mockery for decades. I remember working at a (print) computer magazine in the late 1990s when the notion first gained currency, and even then the phrase "Internet fridge" was shorthand for "stupid idea". Mind you, at that point the fridge would have needed a dial-up connection, which might have stopped you using your landline, and no-one needed that hassle.

Fast-forward a quarter-century or so and it seems all the Internet of Things hype is finally having an effect. Plus, we have Wi-Fi and unlimited broadband options, so why not let the fridge join the online fun?

Why not indeed. Almost three-quarters of us (72%) like the idea of a fridge that can inform us when items are getting close to their use-by date, and 67% would like to be told when a crucial item (say, milk) is running low, according to Samsung's Australians@Home 2.0 study.

Yes, Samsung has a vested interest in promoting that worldview, since it sells a fridge, the quaintly-named Family Hub SRF670BFH, which incorporates some of those features. But that trend does line up with broader shifts in our shopping and eating behaviour.

As competition between major supermarket chains heats up, we're seeing longer hours and more stores. That makes it easier to shop multiple times a week; the study found 70% of us visit the supermarket more than once a week. But while 51% of us thinks that means we're likely to reduce food waste, we still waste an average of $1,185 annually.

I'm certainly guilty as charged: as I confessed on a recent edition of the finder money podcast, I always buy more onions than I need. Mind you, I don't keep them in the fridge anyway, so I guess I'll have to wait for an "Internet onion rack" to emerge.

Angus Kidman's Findings column looks at new developments and research that help you save money, make wise decisions and enjoy your life more. It appears Monday through Friday on finder.com.au.

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