Predicting food trends with AI

Ube is predicted to be on the rise for 2019

Tastewise, an AI-powered food intelligence startup, has today published its first report on emerging food trends.

The platform provides up-to-the-minute industry insights, predictions, and emerging food trends based on analysis of billions of social media posts and photos, US restaurant menus, reviews, and recipes.

It enables restaurants to efficiently adapt, serve and market their offerings at a local and national level, and is already working to pinpoint market opportunities, consumer likes and dislikes, new ingredients and quickly meet trending needs.

In co-ordination with its launch, Tastewise has released a Consumer Food Trends Report, along with a map detailing where the biggest health food opportunities are in each state.

Highlights of key trends from the report:

  • Zhoug is the new sriracha.
  • There is a $9bn 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.
  • San Antonio faces a 767% unmet demand for hand-crafted food, translating to $362m.
  • Spam musubi, bone marrow, ube, and truffles are becoming mainstays in American menus.
  • From 2017-2018, restaurant hopping grew by 160%.

Founded by Eyal Gaon and former Google executive Alon Chen, Tastewise 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 the industry. Whereas restaurant menus used to be 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 neighbourhood 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.”

Leveraging machine learning, predictive analytics, computer vision and NLP processing, Tastewise’s AI-based approach now makes 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 prioritising 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.

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