Finnish dairy and food company Valio utilised artificial intelligence (AI) to showcase ‘the taste of the future’. A new milk chocolate bar, ‘The Bar’ has been designed by people, with its recipe based on AI analysis of milk chocolate lovers’ thoughts, cravings and tastes around the world.
The concept was created by Valio in collaboration with local chocolate artists of Kultasuklaa company. The Bar is proof of concept of what Valio’s milk powder solution can do and what the future of milk chocolate could look like.
“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,” said Timo Pajari, Senior Vice President at Valio. “With our Valio Bettersweet solution the taste remains the same even though the amount of sugar is reduced.”
Last year the company analysed, using AI, over 1.5 million public milk chocolate social media discussions around the world and surveyed hundreds of people on their preferences regarding chocolate. The AI analysis was produced by the Finnish company Aiwo Digital in cooperation with Valio’s consumer insight team.
Results showed emerging milk chocolate trends with two major findings: there is no single favourite chocolate taste, filling or size as consumers want to enjoy different kinds of milk in different situations, and that people want to indulge in milk chocolate with a good conscience. Taste and sweetness are very important but consumers want chocolate to be healthier and natural, with less sugar.
The recipe for a healthier ‘dream’ chocolate was based on AI findings: five different chocolates with less sugar. Each chocolate has a different taste and texture designed to fit a different case: impulse, craving, delight, hunger and relaxation. The design of the bar was designed to allow the layers to be easily separated for enjoyment.
“The Bar’s chocolate flavours form a new kind of alternative to the traditional chocolate box, where different chocolate flavours 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, coconut and cookie crumbs,” added Pajari.
To answer the growing need for healthier and more natural milk chocolate, The Bar’s milk chocolate has 30% less sugar than regular chocolate and is also lactose-free.
“We see that future milk chocolate will have less sugar and only natural ingredients, without compromising the familiar taste. The Bar concept showcases … how we can utilise AI to create even better products to cater the changing needs and desires of customers,” Pajari concluded.
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Editor, International Confectionery
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