AI for Food and Beverage: The Technology of Now

Posted April 9, 2021 by Alyssa Stahr

Innovation in the food and beverage industry leaves me astounded almost every day. From plant-based “meat” mimickers to 3D printing of food to “new” globally-inspired ingredients that prompt me to Google “What is (insert fruit, oil, husk, grain, pulp or herb I haven’t heard of)?”

Troubleshooting Cookies

Lately I’ve been seeing artificial intelligence (AI) trending in multiple food and beverage reports, and AI has always been an interest of mine as a digital marketer and researcher. First up, we have Nestle USA’s “cookie coach,” reported in March by Baking Business. Naturally, this one caught my attention, not only because of hello, cookies, but also because the photo’s tagline reads, “Let’s bake your perfect chocolate chip cookie.” Is there such a thing? If there is, surely AI will lead the correct way around the oven. The cookie coach, named Ruth after Toll House Inn founder Ruth Wakefield, is “a lifelike virtual avatar that uses natural language AI and autonomous animation to answer basic questions about the company’s Toll House chocolate chip cookie recipe.” Basically, the more people baking at home equated to more helpline calls. Ruth answers all written and spoken questions with AI-powered mouth movements and speech, and 84% of early engagers said they would chat up Ruth again. 

Quantifying Taste

A Mintel survey of U.S. adults who eat plant-based proteins cited taste as the No. 1 reason they do so. But, similar to defining the “perfect” cookie, how do we describe exactly how something tastes? Brands corral focus groups, conduct taste tests and hold awards to define how great a product tastes, but what if AI could predict the “right” taste and texture? Food Navigator shares with us Analytical Flavor Systems’ way at quantifying “sensory adjectives and consumer language to create an evolving, dynamic and intelligent system for predicting consumer sensory perception and preference.” Gastrograph AI’s creators’ study found that it will save time, cost and human resources. Learn more about the first Gastrograph AI projects. 

Giuseppe Remakes What’s Not Into What Is

NotCo, based in Santiago, Chile, is doing something that truly changes the plant-forward movement. Through AI, Giuseppe reverse engineers animal foods and recreates them with plants, “creating next-generation meat and dairy alternatives,” Food Navigator reports. Companies in the U.S. are taking notice of Giuseppe, which identifies ingredient combinations found in dairy, for example. It generates lactones, aroma compounds and more processes that make dairy milk what it is and creates a plant-based algorithm designed to remake the product. One such product is NotMilk, created with pineapple, cabbage, pea protein and other all-plant foods that mimic 2% reduced fat dairy milk. 

The AI future is now, and I can’t wait to see what more technology comes to the food and beverage industry. Want to learn more? Contact Brightly Creative for information on how food and beverage brands are positioning themselves for the future. 

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