The largest spice company in the world has employed the help of artificial intelligence to help come up with new flavor combinations.
Coming up with something new and innovative in the culinary world in the 21st century is tricky. Even the most inventive of chefs are likely running out of ideas by now. Yes, you can tweak old favorites and add your own signatures to them, but will the masses actually think you have made an improvement? Probably not.
That's why McCormick, the largest spice company in the world today, has turned to artificial intelligence for help. Most people likely think of robotics and the manufacturing world when they hear the term AI, but it is actually beginning to help us in other walks of life. Music, art, and now food, as reported by CNN Business.
As touched upon above, there are only so many flavor combinations available to play with. However, McCormick has discovered that a lot of that lies in us being trained to think that certain food and flavor pairings simply won't work. The AI being used by the spice company, in conjunction with IBM Research, does not have that bias. It has already been creating weird and wonderful partnerships and doesn't have the pressure of people questioning why on Earth it would bring those two worlds together.
A great example involved one developer coming up with a new pizza seasoning. The AI suggested adding cumin, a strange choice, but apparently it works. McCormick has been creating spices for 130 years, and the AI system has all of the data to go off of when creating new flavor combinations. A new line of mixes dubbed as One, since they are intended to be used on one-dish meals, created with help from the AI system will hopefully be released later this year.
Other than to discover different flavor combinations, McCormick's main reason for incorporating AI into its process is to save time. The process of first coming up with a product to finalizing it can take up to six months. AI could well knock two thirds off of that time frame. It's not perfect, though. During a recent experiment where the AI was tasked with creating a new rice recipe, it replaced the rice with salt. No thanks, AI.