For those that cherish the spirit of the flavor and fragrance (F&F) industry, the idea of leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) in flavor and scent creation might appear to be an odd one. Thinking back to the several times I visited perfume and flavor labs, the first thing to catch my eye was never the technology in the room but rather two things: the ingredients and the people.
For the ingredients, I was always surprised by the sheer number of bottles—a near-infinite amount of possibilities. And what surprised me about the flavorists and perfumers was their ability to distill all those possibilities, creating something that tasted or smelled great in the process.
But just as ingredients and people are intrinsic parts of the F&F equation, so too is technology. During my trips to flavor and fragrance labs, it wasn’t hard to spot the gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GCMS). Even simple things like Excel sheets marked a change in the perfumery profession, as perfumers now didn’t have to keep their formulations on paper, potentially losing hours of work from something as simple as a coffee spill.
And now, the F&F industry is taking its next technological step forward with AI, which has true potential to revolutionize the industry. Not only can AI be used to create flavors and fragrances more effectively, but it might also have the potential to address some of the long-standing issues facing the industry, like raw materials sourcing, responding to regulations and trends more quickly, and much more.
For the full article, please check out Perfumer & Flavorist's January 2021 issue.