Food manufacturers

Which food manufacturers are active in artificial intelligence R&D?

Artificial intelligence research and innovation in the food manufacturing sector is on the rise.

The most recent figures show that the number of AI patent applications in the industry stood at 17 in the three months ending September, up from 11 in the same period last year.

The numbers for AI-related patent grants have followed a similar trend to filings – dropping from 14 in the three months ending September of last year to 29 this year.

The numbers are compiled by GlobalData, which tracks patent filings and grants from offices around the world. Using textual analysis, along with official patent classifications, these patents are grouped into key thematic areas and linked to key companies from various industries.

AI is one of the key areas tracked by GlobalData. It has been identified as a key disruptive force for business in the years to come and is one of the areas where companies investing resources are now expected to reap the rewards.

The numbers also provide a snapshot of the industry’s top innovators.

Nestlé was the leading innovator in artificial intelligence in the food manufacturing sector during the last quarter. The world’s largest food maker filed eight AI-related patents in the three months ending in September. It was the same as eight in the same period last year.

It was followed by Japanese seafood group Nippon Suisan Kaisha with five IA patent applications, Hong Kong-listed noodle supplier Uni-President China Holdings (five applications) and Danone (two).

Large food companies are using artificial intelligence throughout the supply chain, including in domains, to combat waste in their operations and try to get closer to consumer trends.

At PepsiCo, for example, AI is helping to improve its understanding of consumer preferences, according to Denise Lefebvre, senior vice president of R&D for the American giant’s snack business.

“We use a suite of AI tools throughout the product ideation process, including an ongoing analytics engine that identifies, tracks and predicts consumer trends,” said Lefebvre. “The emerging ingredients aspect of this tool has supported the very successful launch of a range of seaweed for the Off The Eaten Path brand of crisps in the UK, for example.

At Mondelez International, AI has not yet greatly influenced the release of new products, but is an integral part of a digitization effort to put technology in the hands of product developers. “We work with a range of third parties, start-ups such as [AI consultancy] Fourkind to large established companies like IBM, ”explains Joe Manton, director of modeling and simulation at Mondelez.

Food companies have been rightly captivated by the advantage that analysis of complex data can offer in consumer marketing, and AI is increasingly present in efforts to reduce waste at various points in the world. value chain, particularly in retail and foodservice, and in the home.

How industrial AI can increase processing efficiency and reduce food waste has been less discussed, but its increasing application by large food groups is testament to its potential to precipitate a new wave of efficiency gains in the industry. food industry and contribute significantly to global food waste. challenge.

The fact that AI and machine learning are bringing something new and beneficial to companies that have always made maximizing processing efficiency a priority, is in itself very significant. It is in the DNA of these companies to look for inefficiency and its causes, but this vigilance had human limits.

Just Food Analysis: How can artificial intelligence help the packaged food NPD?

Just Food Analysis: Will AI Make a Difference in the War on Food Waste?

Additional reporting by David Green and Ben Cooper