Is Artificial Intelligence’s Impact on the Food Industry a Glimpse into a Promising Future or Cause for Concern?

In an era where technology is rapidly advancing, artificial intelligence (AI) has made its way into the food and beverage industry. Major companies worldwide are harnessing AI’s immense processing power to create innovative recipes that could potentially revolutionize our culinary experiences. However, as we embrace this technological marvel, it’s worth pondering whether these AI-designed foods and drinks lack the human touch that gives food its soul.

Swedish whisky company MackMyra collaborated with Finnish tech firm Fourkind to create the first AI-designed whisky, ‘Intelligens.’ Utilizing Microsoft’s Machine Learning Studio, they processed data from recipes and customer feedback to concoct what they believe to be the ‘perfect’ whisky. However, not everyone shares this sentiment. The Whisky Lady, a popular blogger, expressed the whisky seemed to lack personality, possibly due to its computerized creation process.

Similarly, AI has ventured into the beer industry. Beck’s Autonomous, dubbed ‘the beer that made itself,’ was designed by ChatGPT, which also orchestrated its marketing campaign. The AI suggested brewing a limited edition beer to celebrate the beer’s 150th anniversary, resulting in 450 cans being sold across Europe. The artwork and marketing materials were also AI-designed, showcasing the technology’s versatility.

Hungarian energy drink maker Hell turned to AI to design a new flavor, ‘Tutti Frutti and Berry Blast.’ The AI system was fed information on sales, ingredients, health research, and consumer feedback. The company believes that AI can significantly reduce product development times, ushering in a ‘new era’ for the food industry.

Coca-Cola released a new Zero Sugar drink, Y3000, co-created by human designers and AI. This ‘futuristic flavored’ drink is said to taste like a beverage from the year 3000. However, one TikToker likened the taste to a normal Coke stirred with a sugary lollipop.

Chinese ice cream maker Zhong Xue Gao used AI to design, market, and create a new low-priced ice cream called “Sa’Saa.” The product was designed and marketed using ChatGPT and the Chinese ‘Ernie’ AI chatbot.

However, not all AI experiments have been successful. An AI chatbot designed by New Zealand chain Pak N’Save produced recipes involving non-edible ingredients and even cannibalism, highlighting the potential dangers of relying solely on AI for food creation.

Chilean ‘food tech’ company Notco uses machine learning to create vegan versions of dairy and meat products. Their AI, Giuseppe, analyzes the molecular structure of products and suggests ways to recreate them using plants. This resulted in a partnership with Kraft, leading to the release of AI-designed cheese – Kraft NotCheese Slices.

The integration of AI into the food industry is undoubtedly impressive, but it also raises questions about the loss of human touch in food creation.

This article appeared in StatesmanPost and has been published here with permission.

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Written by Western Reader

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