Hershey, the maker of Reese’s, Hershey bars, Kisses and other chocolates and candies, recently announced two new plant-based products: Reese’s Plant Based Peanut Butter Cups and Hershey’s Plant Based Extra Creamy with Almonds and Sea Salt. In this episode of the Xtalks Food Podcast, Sydney talks about the new vegan sweets, which are both made with oat milk instead of cow’s milk and are designed to taste like milk chocolate. Despite experimenting with plant-based chocolate in the past, the new products will be the first vegan chocolates that Hershey has sold across the US. Hershey, alongside a number of other chocolate producers including Nestlé and Cadbury, has been expanding its range of products to keep up with the growing demand for dairy-free chocolate. The team talks about the unavoidable price premium that comes along with new plant-based products and whether these product launches were overdue.
Also in this episode, Sydney talks about artificial intelligence (AI) in the food industry and how it is rapidly changing the way food manufacturers, restaurants and other businesses operate. And with the latest explosion of ChatGPT, we can expect AI to continue transforming significant portions of the food industry. Sydney talks about a few ways AI has already transformed the industry, including the use of food robots and novel food discovery and creation, as well as how ChatGPT is being used by small and large food businesses alike. She talks about a ChatGPT-powered Unilever tool, Homer, which generates an Amazon product listing that matches the brand’s tone, and a Canadian brewing company that allowed the chatbot to decide the name, price, packaging and recipe for a new beer with the hope that the beer will become a conversation piece. The team is hopeful that human creativity will never be replaced by AI and foresee it as a tool to help, rather than hurt humans in the food industry.
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