Tastier and Healthier Food Thanks To Artificial Intelligence

Technology and food. These two concepts have, through the course of the years, developed a sort of complimentary relationship. As a society’s technology becomes more advanced, food becomes more flavorful, fulfilling and affordable. This is observed by how the tools vital for cooking - from the stove, oven, microwave - all are improving as a direct result of society’s technological advancements. However, these technological advancements may not only affect the cooking tools. Through artificial intelligence, the food can be affected directly - improving its flavor, aroma and overall wow aspect incredibly, without disrupting its nature. IBM can be seen taking these steps.

IBM, the International Business Machines Corporation, has joined McCormick to revolutionize food using artificial intelligence. The black pepper, salt, and pepper seasonings McCormick designs all are being enhanced and altered by artificial intelligence to explore and predict new flavor combinations - depending on the ratios of seasoning used per surface area of the meal itself.

McCormick products affected by its partnership with the IBM

McCormick products affected by its partnership with the IBM

This partnership may also indicate to the public how technology can heavily impact not the nature of the food, but the food industry in total by engendering newer products and take into consideration the goals the customers desire in their food. Whether it be an improvement in the food’s nutrition quality, the food’s raw taste without the addition of any seasonings or condiments, or the affordability of the food, artificial intelligence may play a larger role in finding responses to these desires by customers at a greater extent than the food industry itself.

“More and more, food companies are embracing digitization and becoming data-driven,” said Bernard Lahousse, co-founder of Foodpairing, a startup with offices in Belgium and New York which develops digital food “maps” and algorithms to recommend food and drink combinations. “Instead of using an expert panel or consumer panel we develop algorithms that can translate into how consumers view this product,” he said.

Other examples include the digitization of flavors by New York Analytical Flavor systems. AI is used to create a large model combining different aspects of food mentioned earlier - from the texture, flavor, and scent - to predict what the customer truly desires. This platform has recently proven successful, obtaining over £3 million (4 million USD). Brita Rosenheim, a food tech analyst, claimed that this success shows possible progress in the digitizing of large collections of food data, and can also speed up the journey for developing new food products.

In addition, other studies have accomplished more specific discoveries to evaluate whether or not artificial intelligence truly does enhance food. Researchers at MIT did so by incorporating the abilities of AI in the growing of basil, resulting in enhanced flavor and sustainability for the basil crop. This basil crop has been purchased and preferred over the traditional crop heavily. And yet, zero genetically modified techniques are used in its growth. Simply, data collection is used to create perfectly balanced growth patterns for basil crops reflecting the best grown basil. With imitation to replicate these standards, MIT is able to ensure that all basil reaches the highest quality.

Thus, with these advancements and launches in the bonding between artificial intelligence and food, it can be seen that massive innovations can originate, that value the consumer’s preferences as well as the sustainability of the food sector. With data collection and knowledge of the consumer’s choices, eventually the way for “personalized” foods and recipes can originate - food being tailored to an individual’s specific ability to pay, taste, and diet.

Yousef Khan