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Could AI text-to-image generators like DALL-E inspire new designs for iconic candies like M&Ms or Skittles? 

As a candy-packed Halloween approaches, it seemed like an obvious question to ask the head of AI and machine learning at Mars Inc. — who over the past century has overseen a slew of popular confectionery brands from M&Ms to Milky Way and Snickers; grown into a CPG behemoth that includes brands such as Dove, Pedigree and Whiskas; and now claims to care for half the world’s pets through nutrition, health and services businesses including Banfield Pet Hospitals and Anicura. 

While Shubham Mehrish, global vice president of digital strategy at Mars Inc., wouldn’t say whether an AI-designed M&M was on the horizon, he did sound bullish on DALL-E and other AI art tools for idea generation at Mars. 

DALL-E will augment creativity

“The DALL-E team has been stingy in giving access, but we have a few of our AI scientists already playing with it,” he said. “I think DALL-E is not going to replace the creative endeavor, it’s going to augment it — we are going to use DALL-E for inspiration and we’ve started to at least play with its capabilities within Mars.”