This interview is part of our new AI in Retail series, where we interview the world's top thought leaders on the front lines of the intersections between AI and retail.
In this interview, we speak with Alon Chen, Founder and CEO of Tastewise, to understand how his company is using AI to transform food retail, and what the future of food retail holds.
1. What’s the story behind Tastewise? Why and how did you begin?
AC: The inspiration for Tastewise was drawn from Shabbat dinners hosted at my mom's house, where she'd have to check in with us before preparing every meal to accommodate for new dietary restrictions. These circumstances aren't unique in that consumers around the world are adopting new food trends, lifestyles, and technologies faster than ever. Traditional research and innovation tools can barely keep up, and 85 percent of new food products fail to meet consumer needs. This creates an opportunity for AI and big data to step in and better inform the $5 trillion food industry of emerging trends and consumer eating habits in real time.
2. Please describe your use case and how Tastewise uses artificial intelligence:
AC: Our platform captures cross-channel data to provide a panoramic view of how consumers are interacting with food at any given moment. Some of our sources include the largest available set of menu data in the USA, billions of social conversations and restaurant reviews, as well as millions of recipes across the internet. The AI technology can identify insights on everything from menu innovation, ingredients and pairings, diets and health, to market demographics, pricing analysis, recipes, and influencers. For instance, a user could enter anything from “kelp” and “keto” to “fermented” to discover thousands of real-time data points.
Here are a few examples:
Ube was up 53.6 perecent (in social conversation, year-over-year). Also, Ethnic (Filipino), Colorful (purple), Sweet, Superfood, Soft were all increasingly popular terms. The importance of this finding lies in the cognitive computing being able to understand why the increase is occurring and how food brands can plan for future needs.