The spice maker provided Big Blue with 40 years of taste data, including customer preferences and flavour palates. The pair has created a platform, called “ONE”, then sifts through that data and uses machine learning algorithms to identify for patterns and potentially tasty combinations humans may not yet have considered. Some of the flavours the AI has helped create included New Orleans sausage, Tuscan chicken, and bourbon pork tenderloin.
McCormick expects to launch "ONE" by mid-2019, with a set of initial one-dish Recipe Mix flavours including Tuscan Chicken, Bourbon Pork Tenderloin and New Orleans Sausage. The AI enabled McCormick's product developers to access to an expanded portfolio of flavour profiles that enhance their creativity. The new seasoning blends expect to be on US retail shelves by late spring.
McCormick Chairman, President and CEO Lawrence Kurzius said: "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 flavours to market.. "This is one of several projects in our pipeline where we've embraced new and emerging technologies."
IBM said its AI is so precise that it can recommend substitutes for formula, the appropriate ratio of spices to be used in a blend and can even predict human response to the taste.
Big Blue's Kathryn Guarini, VP, Industry Research said the partnership "combines 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 flavour development process".
Pairing McCormick's global expertise, particularly that of its research and product development teams, with leading AI research helped McCormick accelerate the speed of flavour innovation by up to three times and deliver highly effective, consumer-preferred formulas. Through the ONE platform as well as several other projects in the pipeline, McCormick's product developers are now using AI to unlock creativity, access new insights and share data with their peers around the world. The company plans to scale this technology globally by 2021.
The technology could be applied to other sectors, including “cosmetics, fragrances, detergents, adhesives, lubricants and construction materials”, according to a news release.