AI to the rescue
Can AI help us deal with growing food demand? Maybe, but it’s on course to certainly help with taste.
At a time when we’re being asked to re-think how we grow, share and consume food, Firmenich has created what it calls the world’s first ever flavour by artificial intelligence (AI). The flavour is described as “a delicious lightly grilled beef taste” for use in plant-based meat alternatives.
The group hasn’t stopped there and is continuing its advance in augmented creativity with further testing on several new AI-generated flavours.
It is very exciting that AI is being used to discover and develop new flavours and food combinations for human consumption. Given the development of a newly discovered flavour with potential market value, AI technology, and the analytics, proves it may accelerate ground-breaking innovation married with the creativity of flavourists.
As Firmenich’s chief digital and information officer, Eric Saracchi, said. “AI enables us to explore new boundaries by empowering our creators with a precise formula starting point, as well as additional suggestions for optimised ingredient combinations from which they can create bespoke tastes.”
Flavour plays a critical role in the success of a food product in the market.
Numerous reports have indicated how the Covid-19 crisis has changed the food landscape as well as the consumer marketplace. How you understand and respond to these rapidly-evolving needs is the name of the game. Creativity must come at an even faster pace.
For Firmenich that’s through “offering moments of comfort and delight or addressing the larger shift towards healthier food & beverages.”
Designing new flavour experiences is both an art and a science. It requires many years for a person to become proficient. Flavour formulation is a resource- and time-intensive process. Yet, speed is of the essence in the demanding and competitive environment of product development.
Firmenich Flavors president Emmanuel Butstraen sums up AI’s contribution well: “The exciting addition of AI allows us to better leverage different raw materials and explore new creative leads.”
The AI flavour was created in collaboration with Microsoft, using the entirety of Firmenich’s broad raw material database. The resulting grilled beef flavour capitalises on Firmenich’s palette of ingredients and SmartProteins expertise in plant-based protein alternatives.
The vision for bringing AI to flavour creation could help enhance new product staying power in the market.
We will see if we are witnessing the ushering in of a new chapter in food and flavour innovation.
- Rodney Jack, editor, Food & Drink Technology.
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