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NotCo acquires new AI patents to create scents and aromas in plant-based foods that evoke ‘the smell of childhood’

young woman with glasses smiling
3 min read
AUTHOR: Fiona Holland
NotCo dairy-free milk on blue background with other foods

Chilean start-up NotCo has secured a new group of AI patents which will be used to develop aromas and scents for its dairy and meat alternatives that bring up nostalgic memories and emotions such as “falling in love for the first time or the smell of childhood”.

NotCo creates its plant-based products with the help of Giuseppe – an AI technology system developed by the team which is programmed to match the recipe of an animal-based product with meat-free ingredients.

With these new patents, Giuseppe will be able to perceive taste “at the molecular level” and understand how our brains associate certain emotions with flavours, according to NotCo. The company adds that this is “the only technology with the ability to create these positive associations through plant-based food and beverages”, it says.

“Flavour will always reign supreme, but what we feel when we smell our food is a powerful nuance,” said Karim Pichara, Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer at NotCo. “Smells and aromas are a critical part of motivating more people to adopt plant-based options long-term.

“These new patents further strengthen the experience by creating plant-based products that taste, function, and smell just like their animal-based counterparts. By matching the nostalgic smells people associate with certain memories and emotions we’re opening a new avenue for them to make the switch to plant-based.”

The new patented technology will be used in all future product development, which includes its collaborative project with Kraft Heinz – The Kraft Heinz Not Company – where both companies will work together to develop high-quality vegan versions of co-branded products.

Matias Muchnick, Co-Founder and CEO of NotCo said: “We’re one step closer to fulfilling our promise of transforming the speed and scale of plant-based adoption.”

“Many people don’t realize that when we eat, much of the ‘taste’ is actually coming from smells and aromas. These new patents help get us closer to replicating the true experience of animal-based products but with only plant-based molecules.”

The Giuseppe technology has already been used to create meat alternatives NotChicken and some traditional fried chicken recipes which have been on the market in Brazil, Chile, Argentina and Mexico since 2021.

Other products in NotCo’s portfolio include dairy alternatives such as NotMilk, NotIceCream and NotMayo, as well as meat alternatives NotBurger, NotMeat and NotChicken.

NotCo became the fastest-growing food tech start-up in Latin America after it reached Unicorn status in 2021, following investment from racing star Lewis Hamilton and tennis player Roger Federer, which helped it secure a valuation of $1.5 billion.

Since launching in 2015, NotCo has expanded its operations from Chile to Mexico, Peru, Colombia, Argentina, Brazil, Canada and the United States.

Find out what a perfumer does in the food industry and how to follow a successful career as a flavourist in this Food Matters Live Podcast:

Career Conversations: the secret to becoming a flavourist


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