Google’s AI lab DeepMind held secret discussions to launch a futuristic food division and one idea involved ‘nutricube’ vitamin supplements

Candy featuring the Google logo is seen in the company's offices on March 23, 2015 in Berlin, Germany

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One of Google’s most prominent portfolio companies considered launching a futuristic food division — and one idea on the table was AI-designed food supplements.

Insider spoke to multiple sources about how DeepMind, the London-based AI company acquired by Google in 2014, considered launching a food division with vegan food startup Hampton Creek, but abandoned the plans after internal disputes over the value of the project — as well as a string of public controversies involving its proposed partner.

Google and its parent firm Alphabet have long been interested in “moonshot” futuristic ideas. Google hasn’t made major inroads into the world of plant-based or lab-grown food but has invested in – and reportedly tried to buy – fake meat startup Impossible Foods.

Insider revealed how a DeepMind cofounder and staffers visited Hampton Creek in California for a meeting. Hampton Creek CEO Josh Tetrick presented proposals for a “nutricube” branded as being “powered by DeepMind,” a square vitamin supplement customers could add to meals to improve their nutritional content.

Insiders said the talks never resulted in any “formal corporate partnership” and the food division never happened. One source close to DeepMind described the talks as “very early-stage exploratory conversations.”

The project had also been dampened by some internal disagreements. “It was a waste of time,” one source familiar with the plans told Insider adding that Hampton Creek “wasn’t a tech company, it was a food factory.”

Read more about how a DeepMind cofounder pitched a food division internally in Insider’s full dive into the project here.

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