How Big Data Can Change the Way We Eat

Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

Imagine walking into a bar and having a cocktail that is personally curated to your mood and palate. Or being able to meet all your dietary requirements without sacrificing taste and quality. Restaurants will be able to minimise losses and food waste by proper ingredient optimisation and quality menu item creation.

Looking at food discovery and creation as both a science and an art can exponentially elevate the way we eat today.

Using Big Data to Curate Meals

For the longest time food creation developed as an art, with the science part getting left behind. However, with the cusp of big data, scientists and top chefs have discovered that we have only skimmed the surface of what we can do with food today.

“we can simulate how good a meal will be before ever having to go to the kitchen and pick up a frying pan.”

By using machine learning to identify patterns in recipes and flavour molecules — the volatile part in the ingredient responsible for an ingredient’s characteristic taste — we can simulate how good a meal will be before ever having to go to the kitchen and pick up a frying pan. By using these patterns we can discover new flavour combinations we never thought possible before (think coffee and orange juice or strawberry and beef). And figure out the best way to create a new dish with a new novel ingredient — can salted egg yolk be made into a cocktail? It turns out with a little cream and caramel — it can!

Photo by Adam Jaime on Unsplash

We can also find ingredients with similar flavour molecules to substitute unhealthy ones with healthier alternatives (ex. raw banana instead of potato). Or discover how to incorporate healthy ingredients like avocado and tofu into our current menu.

Potential for Food Industry

This means a lot for Restaurants and Consumer Packaged Goods Companies that can significantly reduce their time to market by simulating how well received a product will be before trialling it in a test kitchen. Or figuring out ways to incorporate their products into dishes customers will like.

It also leads the way for a more sustainable healthy diet. School lunch menus can be planned to be both healthy and tasty to get more kids to eat healthy meals. People with specific food restrictions or preferences can have recipes curated specifically for their needs and tastes.

How Can I Apply Big Data to Make Better Meals?

You can access a food-bridging platform that has already identified patterns in different cuisines and connected them with a database of ingredient flavour molecules.

TasteMetrics is one such platform that does data analytics and food-bridging. With a database of ingredients and recipes from around the globe you can match or substitute ingredients to curate new recipes based on a type of cuisine (Asian, Western, Fusion, etc.). You can also find trending ingredients on the platform and discover how to incorporate them into your meal.

With the rest of the industries embracing next generation technologies, it’s time for the food industry to make it’s move on big data.