Firmenich announces the world’s first AI-created flavour

Firmenich has announced it has created 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 development comes days after Firmenich launched a Biotech and Naturals Pilot Plant in Geneva.

Heralding it as a key milestone in Firmenich’s digital transformation across its value chain, the company said this breakthrough provides customers with “uniquely tailored taste and nutrition solutions, with unprecedented speed-to-market”.

The group is continuing its advance in augmented creativity with further testing on several new AI-generated flavours across its core tonalities.

“Firmenich is marrying the most fundamental elements of our DNA: ground-breaking innovation with the unique creativity of our flavourists for enhanced formulation,” said Firmenich’s chief digital and information officer, Eric Saracchi. “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.”

Firmenich Flavors president Emmanuel Butstraen added: “The Covid-19 crisis has changed the food innovation landscape as well as the consumer marketplace. We must understand and respond to these rapidly-evolving needs with more creativity at an even faster pace. Whether through offering moments of comfort and delight or addressing the larger shift towards healthier food & beverages.”

Butstraen continued: “The exciting addition of AI allows us to better leverage different raw materials and explore new creative leads. Taking into account specific product parameters such as 100% natural ingredients and regulatory requirements, the technology enhances our flavourists’ capability to create superior taste solutions and accelerate our product development.”

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.

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