AI PathFinder projectbeeld

The overall goal of the AI PathFinder project is to support Flemish food companies in the development of their AI strategy, thus accelerating the concrete adoption of AI in their activities.

Why this project?

Most food companies are aware that a digital transformation is necessary in order for them to grow and remain competitive. Many companies face challenges linked to capturing the right data, identifying their key data requirements and processing data correctly. They therefore struggle to choose from the vast array of Artificial Intelligence (AI) capabilities. With the exception of large companies, food companies do not have sufficient in-house expertise in all the different digital capabilities. Are you keen to use AI but perhaps you are not sure how? AI PathFinder has the answer!

Methodology and expected results

Through this project, we want to explore whether, and if so how, AI can provide added value. To do so, the project starts by mapping the needs and challenges of food companies. It then explores how machine builders, technology providers and food companies can successfully collaborate to enable future AI projects. It is a collective research, development and dissemination project (COOCK type) in which we disseminate the knowledge we build within the broader target group.

Through the results of this project we aim to lower the threshold to the implementation of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and verify whether AI is indeed the best solution. The AI maturity scan allows food companies to check their current readiness for AI. In addition, the insights from the proofs of concept and the demo at VEG-i-TEC reveal what food companies need, allowing machine builders and technology providers to better align their products and services to them. In parallel with the project, you can always contact us to jointly develop an idea.

Target group

It goes without saying that to develop AI solutions you need data. The availability of this data is important for food companies to improve their processes and product quality. That is why machine builders and technology suppliers have been involved in the project.

Technology implementations in the food industry are often not plug-and-play, so we want to engage all stakeholders in our knowledge building efforts around the possibilities of Artificial Intelligence.

Specifically, we aim to achieve the following:

  • The development of an AI maturity scan and generic roadmap for AI implementation tailored to food companies
  • The setting up proofs of concepts illustrating the applicability of AI in the food industry
  • The development of a demo case in the pilot plant for the potato and vegetable sector, VEG-i-TEC, in which we:
    • document our insights on the AI case approach
    • highlight obstacles from which stakeholders can learn

There are several ways to access the results (in the section ‘Keen to join?’).

Project partners

Flanders’ FOOD manages and coordinates the project. The project is executed by:

  • Imec
  • Sirris
  • Ghent University
  • Howest University of Applied Sciences
  • VEG-i-TEC
Flanders' FOOD logo
Logo sirris
Universiteit Gent
Howest logo

Keen to join?

The project was launched in May 2022 and is set to run until May 2025 (project duration: 3 years). To make the results as relevant as possible for food companies, a steering committee has been set up consisting of food companies, technology providers and machine builders.

There are several ways to consult the project results:

1. Participation in the steering committee

  • Be the first to receive project results
  • Provide feedback on the relevance of the project results
  • Get to know the other members
  • 2 acceptance criteria:
    • You have to be a member of Flanders' FOOD for the duration of the project
    • You need to pay an annual contribution to the guarantee fund* for the duration of the project

* It is important to note that the project contributions will be refunded (partially or in full) to the company once the objectives have been (partially or fully) achieved

2. Follow Flanders' FOOD via

You will be kept up to date about the workshops and events organised as part of this project.


Inge Dirinck
innovation manager (freelance)
Lars Roba
innovation manager
Ruth Verstraete
Ruth Verstraete
innovation manager