Givaudan invests in AI for future flavor development

26 Feb 2021

Swiss flavor and fragrance company Givaudan revealed its newest artificial intelligence-driven tool that it has integrated into its flavors division, Givaudan Taste & Wellness. In a release, the company called the technology “game-changing,” saying that it allows for "wide-eyed thinking" and creative flavor insights.

Called ATOM, the technology was derived from over two decades of research with the intention of complementing and supporting the human intuition already on the flavor company's team and “accelerate new product development and create the food experiences of the future,” according to Fabio Campanile, Givaudan’s Head of Global Science & Technology, Taste & Wellbeing.

Givaudan invests in AI for future flavor development
Image via Franki Chamaki on Unsplash

Digitization and more robust investment in AI are integral components of Givaudan’s 2025 strategic plan, which emphasizes whittling down the time required to develop and commercialize new products. The Swiss firm intends to use an accelerated R&D stage in order to hit its ambitious goal of organic sales growth of 4-5% annually, and already, this strategy seems to be steering Givaudan in the right direction. According to its full 2020 earnings release, sales were up 4% when compared to 2019, reaching CHF 6.3 billion.

The co-collaboration between humans and AI is a central part of the company optimizing its flavor formulations and delivering solutions for its customers that not only taste good but are in line with market trends. According to the company, this partnership between humans and machines has already allowed its R&D department to “quickly identify” ideal recipes. An early project that Givaudan pursued to test the efficacy of ATOM involved reformulating cheese snacks to reduce the quantity of salt. Working with ATOM, the team uncovered a formulation with 33% less salt in the application. When tested in a blind taste test, the reduced salt recipe scored as highly as the original full-salt snack. Using ATOM as part of the recipe development process has also proved highly successful for sugar reduction, vanillin replacement, and meat alternative projects.

ATOM identifies positive and negative flavor drivers and explores ingredient combinations that are novel but that also align with consumer preferences. The myriad of options generated by the AI are then displayed on an interactive dashboard incorporating flavor insights and consumer preference data to co-create flavor solutions with customers. The data points that ATOM relies on for the development of this model are confidential.

Artificial Intelligence is not only an in-house pursuit for Givaudan. In February, the company announced it will acquire Myrissi, a French company that has AI technology capabilities that link a consumer’s predicted emotional response to fragrances. With innovation being one of the three growth drivers that underpin Givaudan’s overarching strategy, investment in AI solutions appears to be the next logical step for a 250-year-old company looking to thrive in a modern world.

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