The Virtual Chef: Using Big Data for Cooking Suggestions

Artificial intelligence (AI) and Big Data analysis are two important ingredients in the recipe for innovation in the food and beverage industry. Developers are creating software that can tackle a chore that was once a matter of taste: creating recipes for home cooks.

Creating Recipes

Plant Jammer, an AI-powered food app, generates custom plant-based recipes for home cooks just from a list of ingredients they have on hand. Writing in The Spoon, Catherine Lamb discusses the behind-the-scenes data analysis that powers the application. Developer Michael Haase trained a neural network on 3 million recipes to give the app the depth of information needed to generate credible results:

The app is able to do all of this thanks to AI, which maps out ingredients’ elements based on their aromas, creating a sort of flavor fingerprint. They then use the aromatic profiles to draw links between seemingly disparate ingredients, suggesting to the user which foods would go well together. In this way, Plant Jammer hopes to gamify cooking with plant-based foods, making vegetarian cooking less of a chore and more of a convenient, efficient way to create a meal.

Analyzing Photos

Data-powered innovations in food and beverage technology aren’t stopping there. Facebook’s Artificial Intelligence Research (FAIR) group has developed an AI that can analyze photos of food and reverse engineer the recipes. In a BBC News article, Yusuf Aytar, an MIT postdoc who co-wrote a paper about the system, speaks about the usefulness of the approach:

In computer vision, food is mostly neglected because we don’t have the large-scale datasets needed to make predictions. But seemingly useless photos on social media can actually provide valuable insight into healthy habits and dietary preferences.

Putting Data to Work

To create innovative products, food-related companies need to be able to harness the power of Big Data. The experts at LMS can help design and implement the robust data infrastructure needed to power these creative applications. Call us today at 800-257-5902 to learn how we can help.


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