News

AI is ‘already changing the food landscape every day’

14 May 2024

The future of food is less processed and more sustainable, and consumers will want products that positively contribute to their wellbeing. Artificial intelligence (AI) will have a role in this, and companies can leverage it.

Ingredients Network caught up with Alon Chen, CEO and co-founder of Tastewise, ahead of F&A Next later this month to understand how he believes AI will shape the future of food. At F&A Next, Chen will be joining a session focused on exploring new horizons in food through AI.

AI is ‘already changing the food landscape every day’
Pictured: Alon Chen, CEO & Co-founder, Tastewise

Tastewise is a food intelligence company using generative AI to help both up-and-coming companies and already-established large enterprises in the food and beverage industry to stay ahead of trends, validate their concepts, and innovate freely.

“I think the most important thing to remember is that AI is already changing the food landscape every day,” Chen said.

“Whenever we go on Google and search for a new recipe, whenever we go on TikTok and scroll and see new content, whenever we already get to the [supermarket] shelf, or whenever we open our favourite app from our retailer, AI is already helping us make big decisions. It is already designing and helping us shape our mindsets without us knowing.”

AI is happening in a big way and is already being adopted by the industry, according to Chen. But for him, the bigger change is coming from consumers, which means companies need to adapt – and fast.

Around 90% of new product launches are not successful

The consumer of the future is changing. According to Chen, consumers will no longer talk about health in a pure way.

“They want to know what healthy is. What does it mean? They want to know if it's good for their gut, for their brain, for their sleep, for their anxiety, for their menopause, for their fertility,” he said.

When it comes to creating products that have an impact on consumers, Tastewise’s AI-powered platform TasteGPT, which helps companies anticipate future consumer trends, comes into play.

“In the past, we used to have maybe a couple of trends a year,” Chen said. “Today, every day there is a new food trend.”

In this day and age, a food company cannot keep up with every single trend; they cannot adapt their production line every day, he explained.

Companies also face challenges when it comes to new product development; simply finding an innovation does not equal success.

“How do you package it, how do you bring it to market for the consumers you're targeting first, what is the right narrative, the right packaging claim, and the right content to help you push it to the right consumer?” Chen asked.

Another important aspect is deciding when to launch.

“Launching a product too early or too late is probably not going to be successful,” he said.“The statistics are still at around a 90% failure rate for new product launches. So my team and I are always thinking, ‘What would happen if we could get to a 100% success rate?’ What an incredible new world would it be.

“There's so much more to be done. [Tastewise is] only getting started and there's so much more opportunity on the table.”

Robots could be the future of less processed foods

“We love to say [AI] is part of the problem but it can be part of the solution as well,” Chen said.

He thinks we are going to be seeing a lot more robots, both in the household and in the business marketplace.

“I believe that the industry needs to catch up, not just with how they're better understanding consumers, but also integrating cutting-edge technology,” he said.

“The future of our industry is also less processed. [...F]or that, you need real-time production and you need [fewer] preservatives, and so technology is going to be able to help as well.

“For every step in the process, from managing the water systems to making sure that they're using precision agriculture, to using [fewer] pesticides because [industry] know[s] how to treat the soil and the plants better, [...] I think the future is quite bright on that front. The technology is there, it’s coming, and is moving very, very, fast.”

It may be coming at a faster rate than the industry is capable of – but, as Chen explained, this also brings a wave of new businesses, bringing new incubators and competition into the market, and “there's nothing better than competition to create a better ecosystem”.

Related news

Gatorade turns on the tap, introducing alkaline water to its latest product offerings

Gatorade turns on the tap, introducing alkaline water to its latest product offerings

10 May 2024

PepsiCo’s Gatorade has diversified its product portfolio, launching unflavoured alkaline water and energy drink mixes.

Read more 
Health and environmental food trends boost umami presence

Health and environmental food trends boost umami presence

9 May 2024

Plant-based products, lower salt formulations, and snacking options resonate with manufacturers looking to enhance umami flavour profiles in their offerings.

Read more 
Magnum targets ice cream lovers’ moods with new flavours

Magnum targets ice cream lovers’ moods with new flavours

2 May 2024

Unilever-owned Magnum has released a suite of “mood-inspired flavours” as the 2024 ice cream season kicks off. The offerings, marketed as the Magnum Pleasure Express, are Magnum's first foray into the “mood-food” category.

Read more 
Children’s food and drink claims centre on health and wellness

Children’s food and drink claims centre on health and wellness

1 May 2024

A new report by HealthFocus International shows parents are at the forefront of health and wellness trends, leading the way for packaging claims on children’s products.

Read more 
The UK considers new food labelling requirements

The UK considers new food labelling requirements

29 Apr 2024

The UK government is carrying out a consultation on “fairer and clearer” food labelling designed to provide transparency to consumers and support farmers by recognising their products.

Read more 
Red yeast rice: Japan recalls supplements after investigation into deaths

Red yeast rice: Japan recalls supplements after investigation into deaths

25 Apr 2024

Red yeast rice supplements from Kobayashi Pharmaceutical were recalled over their potential link to kidney disease following five deaths and approximately 240 hospitalisations.

Read more 
Shifting global consumer sentiment drives non-plastic packaging innovation

Shifting global consumer sentiment drives non-plastic packaging innovation

24 Apr 2024

Consumer attitudes towards packaging are rapidly changing around the world, causing brands to respond with increasing claims of ‘eco-friendly packaging’.

Read more 
The eight global food trends shaping the future of dining

The eight global food trends shaping the future of dining

23 Apr 2024

Unilever’s Future Menu Trend 2024 report identifies the global food trends shaping the food service industry, providing insights into changing consumer preferences that could provide inspiration for packaged food and drink brands.

Read more 
Ultra-processed foods are the top concern among US consumers, study reveals

Ultra-processed foods are the top concern among US consumers, study reveals

15 Apr 2024

New data from HealthFocus International shows that ultra-processed foods (UPFs) are the number one food concern for US consumers, ahead of saturated fats and sugar.

Read more 
Spike in demand for collagen peptide driven by growing body of research

Spike in demand for collagen peptide driven by growing body of research

11 Apr 2024

Collagen peptide has become one of the leading beauty from within ingredients in recent years, underlined by its growing inclusion in a significant number of new supplement and functional food launches.

Read more