While some leaders in the AI space are cautioning about the potential negative impacts that wide adoption of the technology poses, Swiss flavor manufacturer Givaudan is optimistic. The company believes its newly launched platform will give food companies the keys to predict what the biggest food trends will be at least a decade from now.
With its new “futurescaping” Customer Foresight platform for food and beverage application, the ingredient company aims to blend artificial and human intelligence to get closer to trends before they happen. The company said in a press release the technology was designed to help with “planning for and addressing disruptive changes in consumer desires, guiding strategic planning, and leading to co-creation opportunities.”
Givaudan said its tech can identify impending shifts in consumer desires — by synthesizing its pool of data about tastes and expectations — and aid in co-creation of food and beverage products.
The platform, first announced one year ago, uses data points to predict consumer desires and needs. Givaudan said in a press release that it foresees the platform getting smarter as it amasses more information.
Jeff Peppet, the company’s communications director, told Food Dive it gathers data on consumer flavor and ingredient preferences through internal sources, and its AI technology searches through and clusters the data into “patterns of weak signals.” Company experts then use those patterns to map out product concepts, he said.
The platform, developed at its headquarters in Paris, will be able to answer big questions, such as how climate change agendas and nutritional needs will evolve and what their impact will be on food, Givaudan’s customer foresight director Nandita Prabhu said in a statement to Food Dive. The ultimate goal, she said, is “sustainable, disruptive and transformative innovation.”
“Givaudan’s internal research represents a goldmine of data and insights that we generate everyday across categories, geographies, functions and through interactions with customers and partners,” Prabhu said.
In order to mimic the potential thoughts and behaviors of consumers, Givaudan developed avatars within the program to represent different target consumers, according to Prabhu. The program created flavor and product ideas for Gen Z consumers that fit their sustainability and wellness needs using the consumer data, she said.
Until recently, the Customer Foresight platform was limited to pilot tests in select markets. Givaudan said it has seen success in the the beverage and plant-based dairy spaces with customers using the platform.
The launch follows another platform Givaudan launched in 2021, FlavorFinders, which was designed to zero in on specific tastes that consumers find appealing, in order to assist with product development.
As companies across the world embrace AI more significantly, several players in the food and tech space are experimenting with the technologies to expand the capabilities for product development. Tech giant IBM’s Hypertaste technology aims to help companies innovate their product lines by detecting taste and offering suggestions for flavor and ingredient tweaks.