Food, Beverage & Tobacco


How AI will revolutionize inventory management

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Walmart watches the weather to decide what food is going to sell better. Predictions powered an 18 percent increase in sales by having more steaks in stock when it's warm, dry, cloudy and windy, and beefing up burgers when it's hotter and less windy. But you don't have to be a retail giant to use AI to improve your supply chain. Predictive analytics and remote sensors tell distributors when a fridge needs restocking with soda or a coffee vending machine needs topping up (avoiding the fine that Mars Drinks levies when a product is out of stock). Lakeba's Shelfie robots will soon cruise the aisle at UK supermarket Co-op using image recognition to detect when products are sold out or shelved in the wrong place.


Basic income could work--if you do it Canada-style

MIT Technology Review

Dana Bowman, 56, expresses gratitude for fresh produce at least 10 times in the hour and a half we're having coffee on a frigid spring day in Lindsay, Ontario. Over the many years she scraped by on government disability payments, she tended to stick to frozen vegetables. She'd also save by visiting a food bank or buying marked-down items near or past their sell-by date. But since December, Bowman has felt secure enough to buy fresh fruit and vegetables. She's freer, she says, to "do what nanas do" for her grandchildren, like having all four of them over for turkey on Easter.


Basic income could work--if you do it Canada-style

MIT Technology Review

Dana Bowman, 56, expresses gratitude for fresh produce at least 10 times in the hour and a half we're having coffee on a frigid spring day in Lindsay, Ontario. Over the many years she scraped by on government disability payments, she tended to stick to frozen vegetables. She'd also save by visiting a food bank or buying marked-down items near or past their sell-by date. But since December, Bowman has felt secure enough to buy fresh fruit and vegetables. She's freer, she says, to "do what nanas do" for her grandchildren, like having all four of them over for turkey on Easter.


6 questions you must answer to identify your best way to implement AI

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Commodity artificial intelligence-as-a-Service (AI-aaS) offerings are popping up everywhere. Just as you can whip out a credit card and spin up a virtual data center in Amazon, Microsoft, or Google's cloud, you can now call on previously trained machine learning clusters to handle your AI chores. Using an API, you can upload a photo library to Google Cloud Vision or Amazon Rekognition to have the program scan it for objects, faces, logos, or terms of service violations in seconds, for fractions of a penny per image. Any business can now deploy the same technology used by the Google Photos app and Amazon Prime Photos to automatically categorize and label smartphone snaps based on the people, objects, and landmarks inside them. Real estate companies use image recognition to allow prospective home buyers to search for houses whose appearance pleases them.


Robotics in the food industry is set to explode

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Partnering with the Poseiden Foundation, the ice cream giant is trialling a blockchain-enabled retail platform that allows customers to connect to their own carbon footprint.


Microsoft is building a competitor to Amazon's cashless Go Store

Daily Mail

Microsoft is working on technology that would eliminate the need for cashiers and checkout lines in supermarkets. The company is looking to challenge Amazon, which has already opened a checkout-free store in Seattle, called Amazon Go, according to people familiar with the matter. It is believed Microsoft is developing systems to track what shoppers add to their carts or basket as they move around the supermarket. The Redmond-based software giant has shown sample technology to retailers from around the world and is reportedly in talks with Walmart about a potential collaboration. Microsoft is working on technology that would eliminate cashiers and checkout lines from stores.


HUL to use Artificial Intelligence to predict your grocery needs

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Mumbai: The next time you visit your neighbourhood grocery store or call the corner shop for a home delivery, don't be surprised if your grocery shopkeeper remembers what you ordered the last time and reminds you to restock your Kissan Jam or your detergent and toiletries supply as they are running out and he has an offer. All this and more will soon be possible as the country's largest consumer packaged goods company, Hindustan Unilever Ltd (HUL), is re-imagining the way we shop at neighbourhood stores. Spread across 600,000 villages and 10 million outlets, general trade will continue to remain big in the next 10 years, HUL said in a presentation on its website on 6 June where it outlined Project Maxima, which is focused on precision marketing at scale. The re-imagining of its supply chain and corner shop strategy is part of the company's bigger initiative undertaken over the last four years for its entire business with initiatives like Winning in Many Indias (WiMi), which divides the country into 14 zones. Also, management is decentralized with the formation of Cluster Category Business Teams, which are mini-boards for brand building and marketing.


Groceries in an hour? Massive Ocado-Kroger partnership could miss the mark

ZDNet

Last month, British online grocery service Ocado signed a deal to become the exclusive fulfiller for U.S. supermarket giant Kroger. Ocado's stock soared 44 percent on the announcement as analysts heralded the arrival of the online grocery wars. But delivering groceries both quickly and reliably at an attractive price point is proving to be something of a logistical white whale, even for Ocado. And despite its "Amazon-like valuation," the company's success in North America is far from assured. Unsurprisingly, it's Amazon that currently leads the U.S. grocery-on-demand market, which is expected to be worth $100 billion overall by 2025, a growing chunk of the $641 billion grocery sector.


Top Iwate brewery turns to AI for high-tech assist with sake

The Japan Times

Nanbu Bijin Co. in Ninohe, Iwate Prefecture, is developing an AI tool to find the best time to drain water in the steeping process for rice before it gets steamed. The company aims to see AI put in practical use in several years. "We would like to develop AI to partner with our workers to help resolve the manpower shortage (at breweries in Japan)," said Nanbu Bijin President Kosuke Kuji, 46. The company, whose origins date back to the early 1900s, won the top sake title in the junmai category for its Nanbu Bijin Tokubetsu Junmai at the International Wine Challenge 2017. Junmai sake is made of only rice, kōji (mold) and water.


ScienceAlert Deal: This Service Uses Machine Learning to Find Your Perfect Wine

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The world of wine is vast, and it seems like there are more wineries out there than grapes in a vineyard. As such, finding that perfect bottle of vino can feel like a nightmare. And, while asking your friends for recommendations can help refine the process, you can't always rely on their tastes to match your own. So, why not let data do the matching for you? Services like Spotify and Netflix already use artificial intelligence to match their users with music and TV - content that can be just as nuanced as a bottle of Merlot - and they do so with great effect.