Did you know that the milk chocolate of everyone's dreams does exist? Over a million milk chocolate lovers’ most delicious desires were curated with the power of artificial intelligence to create chocolate to please all. To fulfill people’s needs and respond to growing health challenges the milk chocolate of the future was created by a unique milk powder solution. “The Bar” is a milk chocolate landscape that combines all the changing preferences of people’s cravings while having 30% less sugar.
Milk being the core ingredient of chocolate, a Finnish dairy, and food company Valio harnessed artificial intelligence to showcase the taste of the future. A new milk chocolate piece titled The Bar is designed by humans, and its recipe is based on AI analysis of milk chocolate lovers’ thoughts, cravings, and tastes around the world. Valio created the futuristic concept together with local chocolate artists of the Kultasuklaa company, meaning Valio itself has not switched to chocolate manufacturing. The Bar is a proof of concept of what the dairy company's milk powder solution can do and what the future of milk chocolate could look like.
“The needs and preferences of global milk chocolate fans are changing. Growing awareness of health challenges affects the confectionery industry with governments around the world already starting to regulate sugar use and consumption. With our Valio Bettersweet solution the taste remains the same even though the amount of sugar is reduced,” says Timo Pajari, Senior Vice President, Valio.
Pioneering in the dairy industry requires constant learning on how technology can be utilized in the product development of dairy ingredients. Last spring, the company analyzed with artificial intelligence over 1.5 million public milk chocolate-related social media discussions around the world and surveyed hundreds of people on their preferences regarding chocolate. The Finnish company Aiwo Digital produced the AI analysis in cooperation with Valio’s consumer insight team.
“We wanted to unravel milk chocolate fans' most delicious and hidden desires. By connecting the capabilities of AI, human craftsmanship, and design with our milk powder know-how we were able to create the chocolate of the future. Observing and curating conversations on social media enabled us to conclude authentic consumer preferences,” says Pajari.
Five different layers for different use cases
The results showed silent signals and emerging milk chocolate trends with two main conclusions. First, there is no single favorite chocolate taste, filling, or size as consumers want to enjoy different kinds of milk chocolate in different situations. Second, people want to indulge in milk chocolate with good conscience. The taste and sweetness are very important but at the same time, consumers want milk chocolate to be healthier and natural with less sugar.
The recipe for a healthier dream chocolate was based on AI’s findings: five different chocolates with less sugar. Each chocolate has a different taste and texture designed to fit a different use case: impulse, craving, delight, hunger, and relaxation. From bite to bite, new sensations get discovered and gradually build upon each other. The topographic design of the bar designed by professional designers allows the layers to be easily separated for enjoyment at a suitable time.
“The Bar’s chocolate flavors form a new alternative to the traditional chocolate box, where different chocolate flavors are combined instead of separated. Each layer of milk chocolate is made for different situations in life. In addition to plain milk chocolate flavor, the other layers are enhanced with nuts, coconut, and cookie crumbs," Pajari says.
Future milk chocolate has 30% less sugar with no change in taste
To answer the growing need for healthier and natural milk chocolate, The Bar’s milk chocolate has 30% less sugar than regular. It is also lactose-free. This is achieved without changing the sweet taste or texture of the milk chocolate by using the Valio Bettersweet solution in the recipe.
Valio Bettersweet is a milk powder solution that enables natural sugar reduction in any milk chocolate product by using the proteins in milk reducing the need for added sugar. The 30% sugar reduction is just the beginning, as Valio already has solutions under development that can eliminate the amount of added sugar.
“We see that future milk chocolate will have less sugar and only natural ingredients without compromising the familiar taste. The Bar concept showcases how our Bettersweet milk powder solution does exactly that, but also how we can utilize AI to create even better products to cater to the changing needs and desires of customers. Wherever the chocolate landscapes of the future will develop, with Valio Bettersweet it’s always made better,” Pajari says.