Key corporations sign up to AI-driven scanner to evaluate coffee, dairy, grains, herbs, spices & liquids
11 Aug 2022 --- Singapore-based start-up ProfilePrint is collaborating with industry giants – representing more than 50% of international food trade – to create a global standard in food grading, to predict the quality and profile of food ingredients using AI technology.
The business scanner provides an accessible and portable evaluation within seconds through an AI-driven predictive technology and mitigates the process of sending samples of food ingredients for physical checks.
“ProfilePrint predicts sensory scores as well as physical properties such as fats, moisture, density etc. However, instead of just focusing on predicting specific parameters, ProfilePrint democratizes expert assessment techniques by allowing our users to build and train customized AI models on our online platform to predict outcomes,” Nicolette Yeo, head of marketing at ProfilePrint, tells FoodIngredientsFirst.
For example, in the coffee industry, Yeo mentions that beans are assessed using human sensory scores for specialty beans and grade classification for commercial beans. Instead of determining specific parameters.
“ProfilePrint takes into account complex interrelated parameters and sensory data into a single digital fingerprint, which can then allow users to predict its sensory score or grade classification,” she explains.
The company wouldn’t confirm specifics but disclosed that it netted an 8-digit number in the current Series-A1 funding effort, tenfold what it raised in the previous round of funding. The money will be used to invest in product development, talent acquisition and team expansion.
After receiving support from Louis Dreyfus Company, Olam Food Ingredients and Sucafina, in the previous funding round, Cargill has monetarily backed the Singapore company after having tried the technology for six months.
“Cargill continues to strengthen our solution and accelerates our vision of establishing ProfilePrint as the industry’s digital standard for food ingredients globally. Our solution allows users to ascertain the agreed quality of food ingredients in an online transaction, saving time and money by transforming the current onerous process of sending samples for physical checks,” says Alan Lai, CEO and founder of ProfilePrint.
“We enable our clients to co-create a sustainable ecosystem with their partners to overcome the challenges of supply chain risks, while increasing their competitive edge for growth and resiliency,” he continues.
Cargill tried the technology across its portfolio of cocoa and coffee.
“ProfilePrint’s digital food fingerprinting technology holds the potential to transform the global food ingredient supply chain, strengthening the sensory innovation capabilities of our ingredient portfolio without compromising on taste and quality,” says Francesca Kleemans, managing director for Cargill’s cocoa and chocolate business in Asia Pacific.
“This can help Cargill deliver against our high standards for food quality and enable faster and more precise product development for our customers,” she highlights.
The company’s machine looks for molecular signatures of food ingredients using electromagnetic scanning.
When the seconds-long scan is terminated, it is uploaded and can be checked on any mobile device.
For example, a typical scan on coffee beans would give a score from zero to ten in fragrance/aroma, uniformity, flavor, balance, aftertaste, clean cup, acidity, sweetness, body, overall and defects. Also providing the level of moisture (in %) and the sample density.
Other than coffee, ProfilePrint can evaluate tea, grains and oilseeds, herbs, spices, liquids, food additives and dairy.
The machine will be able to remove the biased human evaluation of the ingredients from the equation.
Democratization of food analysis
The FingerPrint technology does not require any technical know-how or expensive lab equipment, allowing companies to install the scanner in every step of the supply chain.
“ProfilePrint’s solution redefines transaction standards, and offers sellers and buyers an unbiased reference point, expediting existing quality assessment processes – from the farm all the way to end-buyers,” notes the business.
The technology has been tested in Rwanda and Hong Kong, for example, with the grading process being ten times faster and five times cheaper than current methods.
However, even with the latest AI advancements, 100% perfect models of the ingredients are still a thing of the future.
“Coffee is a complex field of study – the relationships among different coffee compounds are not fully understood. Being a natural product,inter-sample variation will definitely be present,” explains the company.
The business explains that AI accelerates the transformation, in a continuous process, with the scanner and quality models being in continuous development.
By Marc Cervera
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