It sounds like something out of a film, but AI-made milk is here, and it’s pretty good.
Jane de Graaf is 9Honey’s food editor.
OPINION: Would you drink plant based milk made by an artificial intelligence (AI)?
It sounds like something straight out of a sci-fi movie, but we’re here to tell you it’s real… and it’s pretty good.
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NotMilk is the new non-dairy plant based milk that is causing a stir with its unconventional approach to creating a non-dairy milk (or mylk) that has all the flavor and texture of dairy milk, without the animal content. It’s not oat milk, it’s not nut milk, it’s NotMilk.
NotCo. (makers of NotBurger and NotChicken) have launched their new NotMilks and it’s pretty convincing if you’re looking for a non-animal alternative to dairy milk. The company is based in Chile and has earned a reputation for disrupting mainstream food production. They’re really shaking things up by using AI technology to find plant combinations that replicate animal based products, with an emphasis not just on taste and texture, but also on the function of the food itself. And it’s fascinating.
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In the press release, the six-year-old company asks us to ‘Imagine a world where you can remove animals completely from the food production process, while at the same time keeping food choices mouth-wateringly delicious (as well as sustainable) and not losing any of the taste, texture or cooking functionality.’ But it’s the way the AI technology works that has caught our attention.
NotCo has created a one-of-a-kind AI program (named Giuseppe) that studies the molecular structure of animal products and replicates them using plant-based alternatives – reducing the energy, water and C02 generated by mainstream production processes. They call it “taking the animal out of the equation”.
The idea works on the premise that of the world’s 300,000 known plants a typical Western diet only uses about 200 of those. The AI Giuseppe has access to vast information about these plants and looks for combinations that humans would simply never think of to replicate the taste, texture, smell and functionality of animal products as exactly as possible. At first it sounds terrifying. But the results speak for themselves.
What we get is a milk alternative that is has an ingredients panel that is fascinating and includes coconut oil, chicory fibre, pineapple juice, salt and cabbage juice among other things. But the result is remarkably like milk. The texture is perfect and – oddly – it’s the very mild hint of pineapple that adds a slight milky sweetness to the drink. It’s very impressive and certainly delicious. It is, without a doubt, the closest thing I have tasted to dairy milk that isnt dairy based. I was blown away.
“Once you taste it, you’ll truly believe in the power that a great-tasting product has in consumer adoption,” says Matias Muchnick, CEO and cofounder of NotCo.
NotMilk is on the shelves now at Woolworths in Australia and NotBurger and NotChicken are set to follow soon. It is unclear if a New Zealand rollout is planned. NotCo has been approached for comment.
This story was published on 9Honey and is republished with permission.