Food crafted by robots sounds like something straight out of a science fiction novel, but companies worldwide are already incorporating artificial intelligence into production lines to make products taste better and optimize sustainability. And consumers are all in! Approximately 77 percent of consumers are willing to try food created with the help of artificial intelligence according to the 2023 Food Bytes report conducted by Dataessential.

Artificial Intelligence is used by food manufacturers through several methods, helping improve the efficiency of farming, test flavor combinations, offer contactless eating experiences, and more. Dataessential's annual report reveals that Gen Alpha –– born between 2010 and 2024 –– will likely lead the acceptance of AI-created food. By 2025, this new generation will reach 2 billion people worldwide, motivated by their climate-conscious Millennial parents.

“In the long term, AI will revolutionize many aspects of the food industry, from agriculture to food safety, concept development to production, marketing to personalization, and beyond,” the report states.

“We love the process of selecting the latest foods and flavors we think consumers will want to experience in the coming year and beyond, but these ingredients aren’t presented in a vacuum,” Mike Kostyo, Dataessential Trendologist and Associate Director, said in a statement. “We’re proud to pair our predictions for growth of items like salsa macha and pickled strawberries with a discussion on important trends in the broader restaurant industry, including the influences of Gen Alpha, AI, and improving working conditions across the industry.”

Artificial Intelligence Is Already in the Food Space

The Not Company [NotCo] developed its entire plant-based food selection with the help of an artificial intelligence affectionately named "Giuseppe." The platform allows the company to match the flavor profiles of plant-based ingredients to animal-based counterparts. This process allows the culinary teams to create better-tasting and more accurate recipes using only plant-based ingredients for its NotMilk, NotBurger, and more.

“Since day one, our mission has been to create a more sustainable world, transforming the food industry by creating delicious plant-based food available for all tables, kitchens, and pantries,” Matias Muchnick, NotCo co-founder and CEO, said in a recent statement.

Recently, NotCo teamed up with Kraft Heinz to reinvent several signature food products including the beloved Kraft Singles. The collaboration started with the NotCheese American Style Plant-Based Slices at 30 Giant supermarkets in Cleveland, Ohio before a national expansion later in 2023. NotCo also recently announced a partnership with Dunkin, debuting three new vegan doughnuts at 106 locations in Chile.

The Future of Plant-Based Foods

More than ever, consumers are looking for better ways to purchase food, searching for tasty yet affordable sustainable options. The term "plant-based" appears on restaurant menus about 2,800 percent more than in 2018, according to another report from Dataessential from December.

However, the 2023 FoodBytes report shows that 1 in 5 consumers do not plan to continue buying plant-based meats due to concerns regarding taste and price. Despite the pressure from inflation or the increase in dissatisfied customers, Dataessential found that 66 percent of consumers feel optimistic about 2023.

This year's report also found that several plant-based foods including yuzu, salsa macha, pickled strawberries, and mushroom-based snacks will become increasingly popular among consumers.

“With new plant-based products, categories, and menu items on the horizon, the plant-based meat industry is still growing, but a clear and compelling message and products that are priced competitively and taste just as good — if not better — than traditional meat will be key,” the report states.

Currently, about 55 percent of shoppers actively think about the environment at the grocery store, and 61 percent percent of consumers consider plant-based foods as a preferred source of protein. With the help of artificial intelligence, several plant-based companies intend to reach price parity with healthier, tastier formulas.

For more plant-based happenings, check out The Beet's News articles. 

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