IBM helped Cerealto Siro devise an AI tool – called I+Radar – that facilitates the real-time analysis of consumer tastes, which the Palencia-based company said has enabled it to reduce development time for new products to market from weeks to months.
It debuted its first product – a pea and lentil rice cake – on the UK market, stemming from the growing popularity of high-protein, organic snacks suitable for vegans and celiac sufferers.
The I+Radar tool extracts global consumer preferences that are pronounced on various social networks like Twitter, scientific journals, blogs and public forums, and translates these into ‘user-friendly graphic interpretations. Savings for the producer include bypassing lengthy traditional market research and the related costs and uncertainty.
According to IBM, the number of companies utilizing enterprise AI is increasing. IDC projects worldwide spending on AI systems to hit $79.2bn by 2022, growing at a CAGR of 38% between 2018 and 2022.
Meanwhile, the Spanish multinational has agreed to sell its pastry and baby-food operations in its strategy to become a leading manufacturer of breakfast cereals and cereal bars.
Cerealto Siro Foods is selling the two businesses to Pastisart and Belourthe, respectively, along with the associated facilities – the factory in El Espinar to Pastisart and its Portuguese facility to Belourthe.
Pastisart is a family-owned business that specializes in instore bakery and frozen products, while Cerealto Siro describes Belourthe as the Belgian infant food leader.
The deals with the respective parties include agreements with Spanish supermarket chain Mercadona for the continued supply of the Hacendado brand.
Cerealto Siro added it was still in negotiations with potential buyers for its bread and long-life bakery operations.
High doses of innovation
Cerealto Siro Foods – created from the merger of Cerealto and Grupo Siro – adopted the aggressive strategy to focus on ‘high doses of innovation and high potential for development in multiple markets.’ It spent more than €13m ($14.64m) in product innovation last year.
“We are very satisfied with the way in which negotiations are evolving and with the interest shown by the market and the investment community in acquiring leading businesses,” said Luis Ángel López, CEO of Cerealto Siro Foods.
“We continue advancing according to our plan and we expect to close the whole bread and bakery operation by December, as we had estimated.”
The company has a consolidated turnover of more than €600m ($676m), employing more than 5,000 people in 17 production centers in Spain, Portugal, Italy, UK and Mexico.