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The Proof Is In The Pudding

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Category : Blogs

Food, Glorious Food

The food industry is one of the largest and most dynamic. It affects every single one of us in our day to day lives. Its scope ranges from high-end restaurants in central London, to farmers in Africa. From the trading of goods, designing of store layouts, to targeted advertising and marketing campaigns.

Unsurprisingly, in the data-rich world in which we now live, many companies are using the intelligence now available to help manage supply, reduce waste, lower costs and increase profit margins.

But, instead of just building the standard profit and loss models, more creative analysts are using the data available to them in some interesting and, even bizarre, ways.

Have IBM Stirred Things UP?

IBM has decided that food is a brilliant business on which to try out its algorithm skills – and has designed a computer program that will generate original recipes. It isn’t simply that these recipes are all original – that could be a ‘recipe’ for disaster (pun absolutely intended!). The program is also able to predict whether the resultant product will be pleasing to eat.

For this tool to work, you will need the following:

  • A single ingredient
  • A regional cuisine
  • The type of dish that you wish to create

Et Voila… Just like magic – or a high-tech Ottolenghi – it will create a new, exciting and delicious recipe for you to try.

Add A Dash Of Data…

But behind the scenes of this seemingly mysterious creation, numbers are being crunched. The algorithm is hard at work sifting its way through hundreds upon thousands of data-sets, which help it to understand the relationship between different ingredients for specific dishes; help it to recognise various human flavor preferences; and even to dissect the molecules and chemical compounds that are present in any given food. It looks at how each ingredient interrelates with one another, and what that means for our taste-buds…

Clever, isn’t it?

From this it is able to create new recipes based on the ones that have been tried and tested. It will finally select the best results based on both the novelty and the quality of the recipe. There you have it: a brand new, and statistically excellent, dish.

Experimentation Without The Risk

This type of thinking and new technology could prove to be a great way for food manufacturers and chefs to spice up their offerings in a precisely measured manner. It’s experimentation without the risk.

It will ultimately mean that big players in the food industry can stir things up; try out new things and hopefully tickle our taste-buds without the fear that customers and or profits might be sacrificed in the process.

This is the first step in realising a future in which the food industry evolves at an astounding pace. Who knows what might be on our plates in 10 year’s time?

At the very least, it’ll be a great way to make dinner parties a little more interesting…

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