Biologist turned serial entrepreneur Riana Lynn sees AI as a tool that could make packaged food that not only tastes good but is also affordable, nutrient-dense, and plant-based. After visiting farms and food companies around the world, she realized that the best way to achieve her goal was to make research and development in the food industry more efficient.
Lynn’s Chicago-based company, Journey Foods, employs an “in-house automated scientist,” JourneyAI. Built around algorithms that Lynn helped to create and a database of nutrient and market data, Journey starts with a nutrition goal—“What if we make a product that’s high in vitamin C and protein at lower cost?”—and then devises a recipe that meets that goal.
The company started with fruit snacks. These snacks, called Journey Bites, are made entirely of fruit puree, natural sources of flavor such as cayenne pepper and chia seeds, and “nutrient boosters” that have been devised from the company’s testing of fruit cultures, different types of seaweed, and other sources.
Lynn says the company is now “opening our platform for more products. We’ve been asked to build out data sets for pasta, cookies, plant-based proteins, and more. We’ll be working on beverages by the fall.”