Artificial Intelligence (AI) is turning the world upside down as technology is advancing in leaps and bounds during these turbulent times. And AI is ever present among many areas of the food industry.
Firmenich, one of the world’s largest privately owned perfume and taste companies headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, recently created the first ever flavor by AI—a delicious, lightly grilled beef taste for use in plant-based meat alternatives, according to the company. This flavor was produced in collaboration with Microsoft, leveraging the entirety of Firmenich’s broad raw material database. The company believes this breakthrough provides customers with uniquely tailored taste and nutrition solutions in unprecedented speed-to-market. The company also noted it is currently in advanced testing on several new AI-generated flavors across its core tonalities.
Firmenich’s president of flavors Emmanuel Butstraen said, “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 flavorists’ capability to create superior taste solutions and accelerate our product development.
Flippy is another first when it pertains to AI in the food space. Since its 2018 inception, Flippy, known as the world’s first autonomous robotic kitchen assistant, is helping to revolutionize the fast food industry. This patented, Department of Health-approved, AI robot can flip burgers, as well as cook food on a grill or in a deep fryer. Flippy is specifically designed to operate in an existing commercial kitchen layout and to serve alongside kitchen staff to safely and efficiently fulfill a variety of cooking tasks.
In July of 2020, White Castle announced a planned pilot with Miso Robotics (Flippy’s creator) whereby the country’s first fast-food hamburger chain will bring the new version of Flippy, Robot-on-a-Rail (ROAR), into kitchens for testing and future integration. White Castle’s selection of the latest Flippy version indicates its intention to modernize operations for even faster and fresher meals for the consumer.
To date, Flippy has cooked thousands of meals alongside human kitchen staff in fast food chains such as CaliBurger. And with ROAR, restaurants will be able to quickly adapt to the changing commercial kitchen model and focus on the needs of customers
Other food companies are also taking advantage of the AI craze.
Three years after introducing Simbe Robotics’ autonomous robot Tally at select stores to enhance inventory management, Midwest grocery retailer Schnucks recently said it’s launching the technology in an additional 46 stores, leveraging Tally’s real-time data to improve the shopping experiences in 62 of its locations.
“The amount of critical data and valuable insights that Tally continues to bring us from a select number of stores is immeasurable,” said Dave Steck, VP of IT infrastructure and development at Schnucks. “By expanding our partnership with Simbe and introducing Tally to more than half our stores, we will improve our in-stock position for our customers and free up our teams from tedious inventory-related tasks, allowing more focus on service.”