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Top Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Trends in Food, Beverage & Brewery Industry

Consumers are constantly seeking out products which are fresher, healthier, trendier, more hygienically and ethically produced than ever before. There is an increasing trend in adoption of exponential technologies like Artificial Intelligence amongst the Food, Beverage and Brewery companies.

Top Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Trends in Food, Beverage & Brewery Industry

The growing influence of emerging technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning on various industries is making work more productive, while increasing effectiveness as well as profitability. Though banking, finance, retail, healthcare and life sciences, customer care are the domains where AI and ML are being deployed more readily, food, beverage and brewery (FBB) are the upcoming industries enhancing output with cutting edge technologies belonging to the AI suite. It is incredibly brilliant to know that these industries are undergoing a major renaissance in their processes and business effectiveness.

For more insight follow me @Asamanyakm

With the evolution of technology, there is a sharp increase in the easy availability of information and consumer know-how. You cannot satisfy modern-day consumers with good taste alone. They are constantly seeking out products which are fresher, healthier, trendier, more hygienically and ethically produced than ever before. Investing in the wrong quantity or quality of edible products could have a significant impact on the margins of the manufacturer, supplier, retailer, restaurant, bar, hotel or any other business entity.  

There is a rise in the adoption of exponential technologies amongst the FBB companies as the realisation is dawning on them that it will help them multiple folds to accommodate the evolving expectations of the consumer. Data and Analytics suggest that the use of artificial intelligence in FBB enterprises is anticipated to grow forty-two percent (42%) through 2021 because an AI implementation can immensely help ensure product quality and safety, accurately forecast purchase orders, meet changing consumer demands, manage inventory better and much more.

Recently I was part of a mastery session wherein FBB companies were showcasing various ways they are leveraging artificial intelligence. The experience was so interestingly profound, thought of sharing through this post.

Streamlining of Supply Chain Management

Manufacturing products for FBB companies have innumerable challenges, but the adoption of AI has successfully transformed the entire supply chain, right from initiation to completion. AI is doing a fabulous job in building an efficient FBB supply chain by assisting in food preparation at manufacturing facilities, creating shelf-ready CPGs (Consumer Packaged Goods), enhancing the science of brewing beer, performing quality checks and what not. Manufacturing units are utilizing AI to help automatically sort, clean and discard ingredients like fruits and vegetables. Expensive manual time-consuming effort is being replaced by equipment which is using a series of lasers, IR cameras, and sensors. These enhanced monitoring capabilities are helping in reducing the massive amount of waste of edible items, thereby helping organizations save money and reduce on inventory marked as unusable.

If you recall the headline-stealing news on health hazards caused by E-coli and salmonella  bacteria, you would strongly recommend the urgent implementation of clean, hygienic, healthy and safe manufacturing of edible items. AI-assisted quality assurance is one of the best caretakers of nutrition and safety, ensuring that the FBB industry is making manufacturing decisions that are in the consumers’ health interests.

Modern manufacturing facilities are using IIOT (Industrial Internet of Things) supported by vast arrays of sensors, wireless devices, and cloud technology for safety and quality assurance purposes. Artificially intelligent cameras are being deployed to ensure proper food safety procedures are being followed. In 2018 IBM and Cornell University collaboratively launched an AI-enabled food safety initiative to identify food hazards in milk products. Nutritionists are suggesting that if manufacturers start taking advantage of AI to monitor potential issues through every step of the supply chain, manufacturing of edible items will become safer, healthier, more agile, efficient and effective, producing much fresher yield. Think of the long term benefits to society!

Smart Inventory Management

FBB industry necessitates accuracy in inventory management, ensuring sufficient equipment, ingredients, and supplies required to run a profitable business are always available in storage, at the same time not giving way to wastage of any perishable items. Until recent days, even after automation of inventory management, the actual estimation used to be done by manually sifting through data in order to maintain the stock. During busy festive seasons, the estimation was more likely to get deviated either on the higher or lower side.

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning implementation have helped replace the guesswork in the estimation of inventory requirement by strategically utilizing sales data, consumer behaviour, and seasonal information to accurately forecast how to keep shelves stocked. Enterprises are leveraging data in order to optimize pricing and merchandising, suggesting sales and marketing promos as well as the best locations for items on store shelves.

Prediction of Customer Taste & Behaviour Preferences

Customer engagement is an integral part of any business strategy and AI is being used across industries leveraging this aspect, utilizing consumer behaviour data for critical decision-making. FBB is no exception as because the industry is directly driven by consumer preferences in taste, flavour and presentation. AI is getting popular amongst FBB companies to gain powerful insights, make stronger forecasts and achieve new levels of personalization.

Companies like Domino’s, Carlsberg, McDonald, even Pepsi, when they work on their go to market plan to launch any new product, they consider the risks involved. Right from product development to testing, countless resources are dedicated to the new item only to ultimately be rejected by a market dominated by consumers whose preferences and requirements keep fluctuating. Artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms are working on consumer preference related data to predict more accurately, thereby mitigating the risk to a great extent. For example, McDonald used state-of-the-art AI empowered technology on its collected consumer data to launch Cheese Zinger Burger because Artificial Intelligence knew consumers were already making it themselves, quite similar to the way Domino’s went ahead with the launch of Choco Lava Cake.

Consumers are being further engaged through AI-based customer loyalty programs. Rather than simply scanning a card at the checkout for a discount, loyalty programs fueled by AI can analyse past purchases and consumer behaviour to offer customers highly relevant promotions. By taking advantage of AI’s capability to learn more on consumer habits and behaviours, businesses are personalizing product offers as well as shopping experiences that sync-in best with customer interests.

So far I shared my insights about the influence of artificial intelligence and machine learning on the FBB industry in general. Now let me bring forth a few of the interesting happenings that I learned about the powerful utilization of technology in the brewery segment to enhance beer production.

AI and ML Algorithms in Beer Brewing

The art of brewing beer is being complemented by the science of artificial intelligence. The founders of IntelligentX, Hew Leith and Rob McInerney, decided that a better way of using data was to improve the beer itself. IntelligentX added a feather in its cap of creating the world’s first beer that used artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms to help adjust its recipe. The company creates four different varieties of beer, namely Black AI, Golden AI, Pale AI, and Amber AI. They ask customers to follow the URL link provided on the bottles to give their feedback through the Facebook Messenger app about the beer they taste. By answering a series of ten questions, the eighty percent of customers who have followed the link have given the company more than a lakh data points.

This data collected from the customers is processed by an AI algorithm, and then the brewer decides whether or not to take note of the algorithm's recommendation. Instead of displacing the job of a brewmaster, Leith and McInerney believe AI gives insights to help a brewmaster be better equipped to make decisions on the basis of customer feedback. The day seems not to be far when it could be possible to order a beer based on a recipe customized to your personal preferences.

Making Naturally Tasting Beer Even Better

Carlsberg, one of the top brewing leaders based in Copenhagen, initiated a multimillion-dollar three-year Beer Fingerprinting Project in partnership with Microsoft, Aarhus University and the Technical University of Denmark. Each day, they create about a thousand different beer samples and aim at changing the way new beers are created. The project uses sensors that can determine the flavour fingerprint of each sample and analyse different yeasts.

The goal of the delicious-sounding AI project is to create a catalogue of flavours for each beer sample. That will help brewers be more efficient when researching taste combinations, which will in turn speed up the production process and get Carlsberg's bubbles into your refrigerator faster.

The data is collected by an AI system, and it is ultimately expected that new brews will be developed from the information. Not only does the system allow products to get to market faster it can also help ensure the highest quality.

Deploying Robotics for Bartender

The rising froth on a freshly poured beer at times murk the charm to enjoy the chilled drink. In order to determine what makes a perfect froth, an Australian research team created Robotic BEER, a robot who can pour a beer with such precision and finesse to create consistent froth with every pour. The researchers created a video of Robotic BEER pouring a beer and tracked the bubble size, beer colour, and other attributes. Then they showed the video to research participants and asked feedback from each participant regarding their thoughts on the clarity as well as the quality of the beer. The researchers also recorded their reaction as they watched the Robotic BEER pour. An AI machine analysed the biometric factors recorded from the research participants as they watched the video. There were twenty-eight pieces of Robotic BEER and biometric data for each viewer which were captured and fed to a neural network. The neural network was able to predict within eighty percent accuracy whether someone liked a beer's froth height. The team also found that they could predict with ninety percent accuracy a beer's likability just using the data. Isn’t it amazing?

AI implementations in the FBB industry are already saving massive amounts of time, effort and money. As breweries begin to collect more data on both their manufacturing processes and customer behavioural patterns, AI will be able to leverage this additional information to fine-tune efficiencies in the supply chain and better accommodate consumer preferences. With all this let us not forget that AI is still in its evolving phase, need to give it time to mature more. As the industries learn more about the different ways to implement this powerful technology suite, envisage to visualize innovation, capability, craft and competition to experience exponential growth.

For more insight follow me @Asamanyakm

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