Our Flavor of the Week

Using AI and machine learning to innovate food product offerings

As the food and beverage industry races to keep up with changing consumer tastes and the desire for novelty, artificial intelligence (AI) and Big Data can provide a recipe for success. By collecting and analyzing millions of data points on flavors and the psychology of taste, manufacturers can speed up the development of new foods and spice mixtures.

Data is the Spice of Life

For example, VentureBeat reports on a partnership between IBM and McCormick & Company to develop new flavors and food through machine learning and data analysis. In the past, developing novel flavor combinations has taken years of experimentation, but data science is changing that quickly:

So, what’s a product developer with tens of thousands of ingredients at their disposal to do? Traditionally, spend years experimenting with ratios and samples until they become proficient at combining them. With IBM’s system, they no longer need to.

“McCormick’s use of artificial intelligence highlights our commitment to insight-driven innovation and the application of the most forward-looking technologies to continually enhance our products and bring new [products] to market,” said McCormick chair, president, and CEO Lawrence Kurzius. “This is one of several projects in our pipeline where we’ve embraced new and emerging technologies.”

Creating New Recipes

IBM’s innovations in machine learning aren’t just confined to its partnership with McCormick, according to The New Yorker. The company is experimenting with using AI to generate recipes for consumers:

To create Chef Watson, I.B.M. exposed its algorithms to the entire recipe archive of Bon Appétit, as well as to recent research in “hedonic psychophysics”— “the psychology of what people find pleasant.” The algorithms also took note of which ingredients tended to be combined, and inferred the roles they seemed to play in a dish. The result is a browser-based Web app that allows users to generate recipes by selecting a permutation of ingredients and a style of cuisine.

Data Infrastructure

Innovation through machine learning and Big Data analysis is within the reach of food and beverage manufacturers, whatever their size. The team at LMS can help design and implement the digital systems needed to put machine learning to work, creating appealing and innovative food and beverage products. To learn more, contact us today at 800-257-5902 or via email at contact@lmsonline.com.


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