NEWS27 November 2023

Unilever launches AI research lab in Toronto

AI Data analytics FMCG Innovations News North America Technology

CANADA – Unilever has opened an artificial intelligence (AI) lab in Toronto with the aim of generating new AI concepts, designs and projects that can be used across the business.

Toronto CN tower viewed through maple leaves

Through ‘Horizon3 Labs’, the FMCG giant hopes to speed up its progress in the area of AI innovation and explore how to identify insights on trends.

The company has applied AI across marketing, supply chain, research and development and customer service, and is exploring how to broaden its use.

Set up by the global Unilever Operations Data and Analytics team, the lab is built on a hybrid model where Unilever employees will work with academics, startups and other partners on AI research projects.

Initially, the hub will prioritise forecasting, modelling data relationships with graph technology and generating insights of trends, patterns, and predictions through AI. The aim is for work done in the lab to be applied within the business globally, such as how Unilever analyses consumer behaviour or sources materials.

Andy Hill, chief data officer, Unilever, said: “The launch of Unilever’s AI lab will expedite the progress we are making globally and enable us to have the right focus on technology innovation.

“We are working to solve real-life problems through innovation, and setting up this lab in Toronto allows us to access vibrant tech talent and some of the best partners in the business to bring solutions to life.”

Unilever chose Toronto due to a high concentration of AI professionals working in academia, businesses and startups. The company worked with Toronto Global, the investment attraction agency for the Toronto Region, to identify the location.

Gary Wade, president of Unilever Canada, said: “In selecting Toronto, we will be able to tap into one of the fastest growing AI superclusters in the world with access to best-in-class research facilities and world-class talent while also building off the collaborative power of academia, businesses and government.”