The number of mentions of AI within the public filings of companies in the food manufacturing industry more than trebled in the second quarter year-on-year, data shows.

When food manufacturing companies publish annual and quarterly reports, ESG reports and other filings, GlobalData analyses the text and identifies individual sentences that relate to disruptive forces facing companies in the coming years. AI is one of these topics – companies that excel and invest in these areas are thought to be better prepared for the future business landscape and better equipped to survive unforeseen challenges.

To assess whether AI is featuring more in the summaries and strategies of food manufacturing companies, two measures were calculated. Firstly, GlobalData looked at the percentage of companies that have mentioned AI at least once in filings during the past twelve months – this was 47% compared to 24% in 2016. Secondly, it calculated the percentage of total analysed sentences that referred to AI.

Of the ten biggest employers in the food manufacturing industry, Tyson Foods was the company that referred to artificial intelligence the most between July 2021 and June 2022. GlobalData identified 16 artificial intelligence-related sentences in the United States-based company’s filings – 0.4% of all sentences. Itochu mentioned artificial intelligence the second most – the issue was also referred to in 0.4% of sentences in the company’s filings. Other top employers with high artificial intelligence mentions included Nestle, Unilever and Grupo Bimbo.

Across all food manufacturing companies, the filing published in the second quarter of 2022 which exhibited the greatest focus on artificial intelligence came from Masan Group. Of the document’s 2,187 sentences, 15 (0.7%) referred to artificial intelligence.

GlobalData also categorises artificial intelligence mentions by a series of subthemes. Of these subthemes, the most commonly referred to topic in the second quarter of 2022 was ‘machine learning’, which made up 44% of all artificial intelligence subtheme mentions by food manufacturing companies.

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This analysis provides an approximate indication of which companies are focusing on artificial intelligence and how important the issue is considered within the food manufacturing industry, but it also has limitations and should be interpreted carefully. For example, a company mentioning artificial intelligence more regularly is not necessarily proof that they are utilising new techniques or prioritising the issue, nor does it indicate whether the company's ventures into artificial intelligence have been successes or failures.