McCormick, IBM using AI for flavor, food product development

February 05, 2019 // By Rich Pell
Spice and flavorings maker McCormick & Company (Baltimore, MD) and IBM (Armonk, NY) have announced a collaboration on the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in flavor and food product development.

Using IBM Research AI for Product Composition, the ongoing research collaboration is, says McCormick, "ushering in a new era of flavor innovation and changing the course of the industry." According to the company, the collaboration will allow its product developers to explore flavor territories more quickly and efficiently, using AI to learn and predict new flavor combinations from hundreds of millions of data points across the areas of sensory science, consumer preference, and flavor palettes.

The company expects to launch its first AI-enabled product platform - called "ONE" - by mid-2019, with a set of initial one-dish Recipe Mix flavors including Tuscan Chicken, Bourbon Pork Tenderloin, and New Orleans Sausage. The product platform was created, says the company, by combining IBM's expertise in AI and machine learning with its own 40-plus years of proprietary sensory science and taste data, which includes decades of past product formulas and millions of data points related to consumer taste preferences and palettes.

AI enabled McCormick's product developers access to an expanded portfolio of flavor profiles, and the new ONE platform was specifically developed to deliver favorite flavors with the ability to season both the protein and vegetable. The new seasoning blends are expected to be on U.S. retail shelves by late spring.

"McCormick's use of artificial intelligence highlights our commitment to insight-driven innovation and the application of the most forward-looking technologies to continually enhance our products and bring new flavors to market," says McCormick Chairman, President and CEO Lawrence Kurzius. "This is one of several projects in our pipeline where we've embraced new and emerging technologies."

Kathryn Guarini, VP, Industry Research, IBM adds, "IBM Research's collaboration with McCormick illustrates our commitment to helping our clients and partners drive innovation across industries. By combining McCormick's deep data and expertise in science and taste, with IBM's AI capabilities, we are working together to unlock the bounds of creativity and transform the food and flavor development process."


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