Over the centuries, technology has been responsible for significant advances in food and drink.
In the 1880s, the first refrigerator was invented; the following century came pasteurisation, the microwave oven, induction cooking, and online food ordering. And just last decade, food delivery robots came to life.
Now, the ‘world’s first’ energy drink has been designed entirely by artificial intelligence, based on instructions from Hungarian beverage company Hell Energy Drink.
A ‘ground-breaking’ development
To develop the new beverage, coined HELL A.I., artificial intelligence considered what consumers want and expect from an energy drink. From there, it chose the ingredients and formulation, deciding that the drink should be enhanced with vitamins, amino acids and botanicals.
Initially the AI technology devised three flavour variations, with the winning combination being ‘Tutti-frutti & Berry-blast’. “This ground-breaking development represents the first-time artificial intelligence has carried out such a sophisticated product development process within the energy drink sector,” noted Hell Energy Drink.
The recipe has been kept ‘strictly confidential’, being stored on a single computer within Hell Energy Drink’s Hungarian factory and protected by ‘advanced’ security settings. A copy of the recipe is also being stored securely within a vault in Switzerland for safe measure.
AI is also responsible for the packaging design, which the company described as ‘harmonising the brand identify with digital AI flair’. The beverage is currently in production in Europe, with launches planned in over 60 countries worldwide over the summer and autumn of this year.
Ushering in a new era for food and drink
For Hell Energy Drink, AI is helping to push boundaries in NPD and ‘ushering in a new era for the food industry’. “AI…can swiftly sort and analyse vast amounts of internet data in mere minutes or seconds, drastically reducing the product development cycled from one to two years (or at best, half a year) to as little as one month,” noted the company.
“This process is the result of coordinated efforts as multiple AI systems – each excelling in different areas – collaborate on development. With over a hundred AI systems already in existence worldwide, their collective operation ensures a high level of innovation.”
Other beverage companies have also shown interest in AI’s capabilities for recipe, formulation, and packaging design.
Earlier this year, Swiss beverage company Vivi Kola leveraged ChatGPT, Midjourney and Unreal Engine to design its latest offering: Vivi Nova.
Artificial intelligence is also garnering attention from FMCGs players. Unilever, for one, has been using AI for more than a decade to enhance its product portfolio.
The Knorr-to-Magnum manufacturer says it leverages data, computational power, AI, automation, and tie-ups with external partners to advance scientific fields ‘not by years, but by decades’.