Valio releases AI-produced tasty, low-sugar milk chocolate concept

Valio has harnessed artificial intelligence to showcase a milk chocolate piece titled “The Bar” using a recipe based on AI analysis of milk chocolate lovers’ thoughts, cravings, and tastes around the world.

Valio created the futuristic concept together with local chocolate artists of Kultasuklaa company to demonstrate what the dairy company’s milk powder solution can do and how the future of milk chocolate could look like.

“The needs and preferences of global milk chocolate fans are changing. Growing awareness of health challenges affect the confectionery industry with governments around the world already starting to regulate sugar use and consumption. With our Valio Bettersweet solution the taste remains the same even though the amount of sugar is reduced,” said Valio’s senior vice president Timo Pajari.

Last spring the company analysed with artificial intelligence over 1.5 million public milk chocolate related social media discussions around the world and surveyed hundreds of people about their preferences regarding chocolate.

The AI analysis was produced by the Finnish company Aiwo Digital in cooperation with Valio’s consumer insight team.

“We wanted to unravel the most delicious and hidden desires of milk chocolate fans. By connecting the capabilities of AI, human craftsmanship and design with our milk powder know-how we were able to create the chocolate of the future. Observing and curating conversations on social media enabled us to draw conclusions of authentic consumer preferences,” said Pajari.

Five different layers for different use cases

The results showed silent signals and emerging milk chocolate trends with two main conclusions.

  • First, there is no single favourite chocolate taste, filling, or size as consumers want to enjoy different kinds of milk chocolate in different situations.
  • Second, people want to indulge in milk chocolate with good conscience. The taste and sweetness are very important but at the same time consumers want milk chocolate to be healthier and natural with less sugar.

The recipe for a healthier dream chocolate was based on AI’s findings: five different chocolates with less sugar. Each chocolate has a different taste and texture designed to fit a different use case: impulse, craving, delight, hunger and relaxation. From bite to bite new sensations get discovered and gradually build upon each other. The topographic design of the bar designed by professional designers allows the layers to be easily separated for enjoyment at the suitable time.

“The Bar’s chocolate flavours form a new kind of alternative to the traditional chocolate box, where different chocolate flavours are combined together instead of separated. Each layer of milk chocolate is made for different situations in life. In addition to plain milk chocolate flavour the other layers are enhanced with nuts and cookie crumbs,” Pajari said.

To answer the growing need for healthier and natural milk chocolate, The Bar’s milk chocolate has 30% less sugar than in a regular bar. It is also lactose-free by using Valio Bettersweet, a milk powder solution that enables natural sugar reduction in any milk chocolate product by using the proteins in milk reducing the need for added sugar.

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