Tastewise platform uses AI to predict trends

15 Feb 2019

The Tastewise platform has launched. It leverages machine learning to calculate future culinary trends, enabling restaurants to efficiently adapt, serve and market their offerings at a local and national level.

Tastewise platform uses AI to predict trends

The Tastewise platform has launched. It leverages machine learning to calculate future culinary trends, enabling restaurants to efficiently adapt, serve and market their offerings at a local and national level. The platform analyzes billions of critical food and beverage consumer touchpoints to discover people's real-life interactions with food including over 1 billion food photos shared every month, 153,000 restaurant menus across the US and over a million online recipes. Tastewise says it is already working with restaurants and food brands to pinpoint market opportunities, consumer likes and dislikes, new ingredients and to quickly meet trending needs.

In coordination with its launch, Tastewise released a Consumer Food Trends Report, along with a map detailing where the biggest health food opportunities are for both brick and mortar and virtual restaurants in each state.

Highlights of key trends from the report:

+ Zhoug is the new sriracha.

+ There is $9 Billion demand for healthy food in restaurants across the US.

+ There's a 246% gap in demand for vegan food in Boston, translating to $41.9M.

+ Denver craves fitness-related food -- with a 325% gap in unmet demand, translating to $33.5M.

+ San Antonio faces a 767% unmet demand for hand-crafted food, translating to $362M.

+ Philadelphia wants more organic options -- with a 387% gap in unmet opportunity, translating to $53M.

+ Spam musubi, bone marrow, ube, and truffles are becoming mainstays in American menus.

+ From 2017-2018, restaurant hopping grew by 160%.

Founded by former Google executive Alon Chen and Eyal Gaon, Tastewise said it enters the food scene just as the $5.75 trillion industry undergoes a seismic shift. Historically a slow-moving sector, the internet, social media, and e-commerce have played major roles in accelerating and democratizing the industry, according to Tastewise, who note that today's heightened culinary consciousness has significantly impacted the global diet, its associated trends and superfood cycles, making the industry more dynamic than ever before. As consumers dictate tastes, restaurants and food brands are struggling to identify new trends and meet customers' ever-changing appetites. Whereas restaurant menus were changed every couple of years, new dishes now replace existing ones every couple of months.

"By collaborating with Tastewise, we've been able to transform our strategy and decision making with real-time industry data and predictive analytics," said Guy Heksch, Global Vice President of Marriott International-owned Pure Grey Culinary Concepts Hospitality Group. "Diving far deeper than simply understanding consumer preferences, their insights help us select target audiences, catch micro-trends as they sweep from neighborhood to state level and design menus to suit our guests' tastes, even pinpointing exactly what it takes to concoct a sensational cocktail. Tastewise brings science to the art of creating innovative food experiences and propels us to act faster than ever before. Their technology is a complete game changer for us, and I suspect it will be for the hospitality industry as a whole."

Conventional market research methods (i.e. focus groups and questionnaires) cannot capture the volume or depth of food insights at speed, according to Tastewise, leaving restaurants and consumer packaged goods companies (CPGs) unable to meet market demand. Leveraging machine learning, predictive analytics, computer vision and NLP processing, Tastewise's AI-based approach is claimed to make it possible for any food company to satisfy its customers by discovering the latest trends on both local and national levels before they go mainstream.

"Today, many of us are adventurous eaters, constantly searching for new food experiences, while prioritizing our health," said Chen. "In this new environment, all CPGs and restaurants whatever their size have to become as dynamic as food trucks and pop-ups. Tastewise provides the freshest analytics to help them stay at the forefront."

"Big data is transforming big industries. As the food industry is undergoing immense changes, we are excited that Tastewise has the power to drive the transformation in decision making, providing critical business insights to enable hotels, restaurants and food brands to stay ahead of the curve," said Tal Tochner from Pico Ventures, the lead investor at Tastewise.