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How AI-Driven Consumer Insights can Support Faster and Better Business Growth in the Food & Beverage Industry

Parth Patel, VP Marketing and Strategic Planning, Kerry [LON: KYGA]
Parth Patel, VP Marketing and Strategic Planning, Kerry [LON: KYGA]

Parth Patel, VP Marketing and Strategic Planning, Kerry [LON: KYGA]

As per Nielsen, 85 percent of all new Food & Beverage new product launches fail before 24 months of launch.

Startups, which have no legacy costs, are disrupting the industry with innovative launches. They are also quicker to market.

And traditional ways of doing consumer research to understand insights are expensive, long, and outdated. Consumers in such surveys usually answer in an aspirational way which might not be factual.

If all of this sounds familiar, then it’s time to throw the old conventional ways of doing an expensive consumer focus group and researches out of the window. And embrace the new way of thinking, which is to harness digital data by leveraging Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology, and convert those data points into actionable insights.

We at Kerry Group are on a journey to understand this exciting new technology and how it can apply to our business. We are the leading global manufacturer and marketer of Food Ingredient solutions. In short we help our customers, who are in the Retail packaged food and QSR segments, to make food tastier and nutritious for their end-consumers.

  we worked in close partnership with their R&D and Marketing team to co innovate a new flavor based on insights from KerryTrendspotter<b>™</b> 

The two big questions that most of our customers are asking us is:

- How do we reduce the risk of failure and laser-focus on a narrow set of insights and trends to increase the probability of success?

- How can we crash the time to understand better quality of consumer insights by harnessing digital data and convert those into insights and trends?

To support our customers and answer these two questions, Kerry group collaborated with IBM to develop a new AI-tool branded as KerryTrendspotter<b>™</b>, which is a Kerry proprietary digital tool. KerryTrendspotter<b>™</b> is powered by the Gold-plated Watson AI-technology and sources data from various social media sites, Google searches, and online forums. The tool analyses millions of influencer posts, consumer comments, menu insights, and online searches to predict upcoming food & beverage trends across the diverse markets of APAC and globally.

With the help of KerryTrendspotter<b>™</b>, we are able to identify upcoming trends in Food & Beverages before they actually hit the mainstream. The value of identifying these trends before anyone else does gives us a strong competitive advantage when we work with our customers. This is a live and web-enabled tool in which the data is refreshed every 15 days.

In a recent project with a leading snack manufacturer in APAC, we worked in close partnership with their R&D and Marketing team to co-innovate a new flavor based on insights from KerryTrendspotter<b>™</b>. The initial process of exploratory consumer research which would normally take the customer anywhere between 1-3 months was done in a matter of two days. Next, with the help of Kerry’s R&D team, we worked with the customer to create concepts based on these insights from KerryTrendspotter<b>™</b>, and those were tested with the target group of customers. This engagement with TrendSpotter<b>®</b> allowed the customer to be quick and focus on a smaller set of concepts that had had a higher chance of success. We were able to cut down the time needed into half from ideation to launch. In a dynamic region such as APAC, being the fastest and first to market has huge advantages, something which our customer appreciated when we worked with them on this exciting project.

For over 45 countries in APAC and globally, we can identify emerging food and beverages trends which are in the different color zones as shown in the picture. The Neural Network (NN) score is between 0.01 and 1, and a score closer to 1 indicates that a trend might emerge in that country within the next 6-9 months. This score is based on the criteria and algorithm which are coded into the AI-technology powering KerryTrendspotter<b>™</b>. End of the day, it is the customer’s decision to select a trend and make a business case out of it for future launches. I call that decision as a combination of AI + NI (Natural Intelligence).

Any technology or machine is as good as the people who are working on it. Ensuring we have access to the right data sources and analytical capability to understand the outputs is key to building credibility and confidence, both within the organization and outside. A new way of working is a change, and that is hard to digest for most of us. Digital transformation is not only about overhauling organizational processes, but it can also be about digital tools such as TrendSpotter<b>®</b> which move us forward as a team and build value for customers. Key is to understand customer pain points, focus on small wins, and communicate those within the organization. Nothing succeeds like success.

For us at Kerry, our shared goal is to make it easier and more valuable for customers to do business with us. With AI-tools such as KerryTrendspotter<b>™</b>, our aim is to help our Strategic customers to focus on those emerging trends which have a greater chance of success.

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