Valio low-sugar AI chocolate comes online after harnessing 1.5 million consumer inputs
13 Oct 2022 --- A new low-sugar milk chocolate by Valio and created using AI-design features has been unveiled. With the help of hundreds of insights from chocolate lovers around the world, the dairy company has broken into the chocolate space to come up with The Bar, based on AI analysis.
Valio enlisted technology company Aiwo Digital to analyze the global assortment of opinions.
“Aiwo’s AI analyzes entire sentences and the overall text and pinpoints central themes and context. The AI analyzed 1.5 million tweets focusing on analyzing the context and themes of these tweets,” Aate Autio, head of product design at Aiwo Digital, tells FoodIngredientsFirst.
Valio created the futuristic concept using the chocolate artists of Kultasuklaa company and Aiwo's AI technology. The dairy giant maintains that the launch does not indicate it has switched over to chocolate manufacturing.
“We wanted to unravel milk chocolate fans’ most delicious and hidden desires. By connecting the capabilities of AI, human craftsmanship and design with our milk powder know-how, we were able to create the chocolate of the future,” says Timo Pajari, senior VP at Valio.
“Observing and curating conversations on social media enabled us to draw conclusions of authentic consumer preferences.”
The dairy company, additionally, surveyed hundreds of people to create its product.
Valio is not the only company in the confectionery business delving into AI, as Mars and Accenture this year are also collaborating on an AI-fueled venture to minimize food waste and optimize production processes.
The Bar milk chocolate has 30% less sugar, while also being lactose-free. According to Valio, it retains the same sweet taste and texture.
Valio uses its Bettersweet solution powder that is made from milk proteins, which is designed to reduce the need for added sugar. Valio is still developing other solutions that will further enable the full elimination of these added sugars, according to the business.
“We see that future milk chocolate will have less sugar and only natural ingredients, without compromising the familiar taste,” highlights Pajari.
“The needs and preferences of global milk chocolate fans are changing. Growing awareness of health challenges affect the confectionery industry with governments around the world already starting to regulate sugar use and consumption,” he underscores.
Valio’s strengthened focus on developing natural sweetening strategies is timely, as food companies are increasingly set on mitigating sugar taxes. However, these taxes came under fire as new European leadership pushed to sideline the nutrition policy amid the cost of living crisis.
Different people, different palates
Aiwo’s survey results found that there is no single favorite chocolate taste, filling or size, as consumers want to enjoy different chocolates in different situations. In this regard, the designers created five different chocolates to satiate five different cases: impulse, craving, delight, hunger and relaxation.
“From bite to bite new sensations get discovered and gradually build upon each other. The topographic design of the bar designed by professional designers allows the layers to be easily separated for enjoyment at the suitable time,” explains Valio.
“The Bar’s chocolate flavors form a new kind of alternative to the traditional chocolate box, where different chocolate flavors are combined together instead of separated. Each layer of milk chocolate is made for different situations in life. In addition to plain milk chocolate flavor the other layers are enhanced with nuts and cookie crumbs,” Pajari says.
A core understanding is that consumers want to indulge in chocolate with good conscience, Valio stresses. “While taste and sweetness are very important, consumers want milk chocolate to be healthier and natural with reduced sugar.”
By Marc Cervera
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