Analytical Flavor Systems (AFS), which uses artificial intelligence (AI) to help companies predict and personalize flavor for new food products, announced today that it has raised $4 million in Series A funding led Leawood Venture Capital and Global Brain. VentureBeat was first to report the news. AFS had previously raised an undisclosed amount of seed funding through Better Food Ventures and Techstars.

Food personalization, powered by advancements in AI and machine learning, is a big trend we’re following at The Spoon. Earlier this year we named AFS as one of our FoodTech 25 companies changing the way we eat, writing the following:

Analytical Flavor Systems’ AI-driven Gastrograph platform helps packaged food companies achieve greater success in a saturated food industry that has an over 80% failure rate. Gastograph moves CPG brands’ development process beyond traditional tasting panels; it surveys each product with a flavor profile engine that is predictive, anticipating how new foods will perform in different markets, over a long time horizon, and against various demographic archetypes. Food companies are struggling to launch new products in an era of rapidly shifting consumer tastes, and an AI-driven platform like Gastrograph gives big food a more accurate map with which to navigate into the future.

Think of Gastrograph almost like Flavor as a Service. Using data from “regular” people and professional tasters to power its analytical engine, Gastrograph can help food companies determine which flavors will be popular with different people or in different regions etc.

AFS Co-Founder and CEO, Jason Cohen spoke at our Smart Kitchen Summit in Seattle last month, and gave a presentation where he talked about personalization of food versus customization, and also provided a nice walkthrough of how AFS and Gastrograph works.

AFS told VentureBeat that it will use the money to build out the team and further develop its technology. The company’s fundraise comes at a good time, as it is among a raft of startups using AI to power flavor and food recommendations. Other players in the space include Spoonshot (formerly Dishq), Plantjammer, FoodPairing, and Flavorwiki.

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