Wednesday, April 17, 2024

A bakery in Japan is using advanced technology to make ‘love-themed bread’ for young people who may not be big fans of romance

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What does love taste like? Well, it depends on who you ask.

Some might say it’s like bittersweet dark chocolate, while others describe it as deliciously decadent, like a sweet cupcake.

In Japan, the oldest bakery, Kimuraya, teamed up with NEC Corp, an electronics company, to create “Ren AI Pan” or “AI Romance Bread.” They claim this new bread, available in five flavors, captures the essence of feelings associated with love.

Here’s the interesting part: NEC used its AI to analyze conversations from a dating reality show and songs mentioning fruit and sweets. They found five key romance feelings: first encounter, first date, jealousy, heartbreak, and mutual love. The bakery then transformed these feelings into different flavors of fluffy steamed bread.

If you’re curious to try it, the bread has been on sale since February 1 in supermarkets in Japan’s Kanto area and on Kimuraya Bakery’s online store.

How to discover the flavor of love
As for why these two companies teamed up, it seems they both had a similar problem: figuring out how to make themselves more interesting to younger Japanese people.

After doing some research, Kimuraya found out that a lot of young folks aren’t really into the idea of having a romantic relationship. But, even though they weren’t looking for love, they still wanted to go on dates and find a special someone.

Seeing this gap, the company decided to make AI Love Bread. This special bread is supposed to make people feel like they’re in love when they eat it, kind of like it brings those lovey-dovey feelings into their lives.

NEC used two AI technologies for this project: one to turn speech into text and another to figure out how much emotion is in the text.

Introducing “Destined Encounter” bread, where the flavor is reminiscent of cotton candy, symbolizing the sweet, light feeling of initial love. If you fancy “Jealousy,” imagine a blend of purple sweet potatoes, truffle oil, and raisins.

Now, onto other bread varieties: “First Date” bursts with citrusy goodness, featuring lime and orange peel. Meanwhile, “Mutual Love” is a delightful combo of sweet honey, juicy peach, and exotic dragonfruit.

Despite these bread ideas being crafted by technology, human touch played a crucial role.

“AI picked the ingredients, but we stepped in to turn them into bread,” explained Yuki Kitazawa, a developer at Kimuraya bakery. “We focused on using colors to visually express romantic feelings and aimed for a lively and vibrant look for Love Bread.”

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