What this largest spice company in the world is up to is something extraordinary! Yes, the American food company – McCormick & Company has been working hand in hand with the leading technology company IBM to come up with new spices using Artificial Intelligence technology. McCormick, a fortune 1000 company, is one of the leading manufacturers and distributors of various food products, spices and condiments, seasoning mixes, etc across America. 

The McCormick team reached out to IBM to understand how AI can be used to come up with new flavours and spices. McCormick is a very famous brand in the seasonings and condiments section and it could be your favourite too. They identified that IBM can help them with their business in each segment they were dealing with. 

The flavour creation domain can be much more challenging than any other field for AI,  as this involves understanding how humans taste the flavours and spices. This is highly complicated as this involves real human senses – taste and smell. To make it more complicated for the AI, the most humane thing is required in the flavour creation which is the genetics. 

IBM had effectively countered this challenge by creating a tool in artificial intelligence called Philyra. This tool is used to identify fragrances and create new ones. This tool uses tens of lakhs of algorithms to parse through the formula and other available data to create something new. This tool also helps identify patterns and come up with new combinations. The biggest challenge is coming up with the right proportions of ingredients. 

Having an overwhelming amount of data and formulae at hand, IBM has come up with algorithms that do the following: a. It can predict and learn what raw materials and other ingredients can be used, come up with the proportions of ingredients based on historical data, what the human response would be, and how unique the AI generated flavour would be. 

It is important to note that IBM’s software is completely dependent on the data available. The insights what we get from it will keep differing when the input data changes. Here we can also learn that one size does not fit all. Hence IBM has had to intelligently work on the software itself to avoid any confusions further. 

The software was scheduled to launch in the mid of 2019. Albeit, we do not have much news on the launch date or any particular news about the launch, here’s an important thing you should know – this AI will be made available in 14 different countries at more than 500 labs to get started on creating new flavours. 


It has become a practical reality to start using Artificial Intelligence in off-beat fields too. McCormick & Company has come forward and taken the huge step of creating history in using technology to their advantage. Once this succeeds unquestionably we can witness much more companies in the food industry coming forward to use technology to their benefit.

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