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7 benefits of big data in food industry

  • Mallika Rangaiah
  • Apr 30, 2020
  • Updated on: May 05, 2021
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We’re all crazy about food!!! From the simple yet fulfilling bread or bacon and eggs to the exquisite world of pizza, lasagna, lamb chops, or brownies, food is undoubtedly the one criterion that connects all human beings. This makes this sphere highly in demand and relevant in today’s world, making it obvious for the food industry to seek an advantage by leveraging analytical services for its development. 


You may wonder where exactly the role of Big Data steps in? Well, we as a consumer obviously require our food to be tasty, fresh as well as healthy. While those having stakes in the industry will definitely wish to stay updated regarding the customer’s latest preferences, the emerging trends, present prices of restaurants or the transportation status of the food, etc. This right here is where the role of Big Data in the industry becomes crucial. 


Big Data in layman's terms is basically the science of collecting massive amounts of data and converting it into smaller chunks of manageable information that can be used to gain extensive and relevant insights on a subject. 


(You can also check out our blog on Top 10 Big Data Technologies in 2020)


In order to not be left behind while keeping pace with the fickle eating tastes of the consumer which vary according to the season, time of the day, weather, or their moods, the need for food, and beverage companies to combine raw point of sale data with the available Big Data becomes crucial. This data can then be converted into meaningful information which in turn can be employed for enhancing management decisions as well as to improve sales and overall performances.


Big data assists businesses in improving their marketing campaigns, developing creative and high demand products, and empowering firms to stay updated over their competition’s growth rate, control quality as well as assess decisions regarding purchasing and prices The data even helps owners keep track of extremely paramount factors like the quality of a product by determining if the product has been altered in terms of its ingredients being replaced, measurements being altered or even in case of less obvious causes like seasonal factors or change in storage method. 


Various large food supply chains have even been starting to develop food supply blockchains for tracking their product’s quality. 


"To stay competitive in the industry, food and beverage companies should highly consider implementing data analytics tools, Companies that have unbiased, analytical insight into their consumers and overall operations will have a serious advantage over their competitors." - Lori Mitchell-Keller, global general manager of consumer industries for analytics technology provider SAP. 



Benefits Of Big Data In The Food Industry


Big data-driven analytics bolster food industry firms by giving them critical decision-making abilities when it comes to the areas of pricing, product promotion, product development as well as demand forecasting. Several of the benefits include enhanced product innovation, improved sales effectiveness, boosted margins as well as profitability levels, prolonged customer reach, enhanced marketing ROI, and also improving customer satisfaction and loyalty. 


1) More Swift Deliveries


In the food industry, timing is everything. Getting the food item delivered to the customer on time is the first and foremost responsibility of any business involved in the industry. Despite all the logistics involved in this process, couriers and delivery firms now have numerous progressive technologies accessible to them. But couriers and delivery companies have never had such advanced technologies at their disposal.


To facilitate swift deliveries Big data analytics can be employed for monitoring and superior comprehension of elements such as traffic, construction weather, changes in routes, present climates as well as aspects like distance. With this information, a complex and elaborate system such as Artificial Intelligence is then used for calculating the time needed for traveling to a particular delivery spot. 


An example of this is FreshDirect which employs sensors, processing and analyzing data for monitoring product status and environmental conditions during transportation. Big Data Analytics is also employed for other purposes such as Blue Apron is employing analytics using a platform called Looker, to make almost real-time decisions about food delivery which has deducted its decision-making time by up to one day.


2) Sentiment Analysis


An extremely important element for any business in the modern world is sentiment analysis of customer sentiment which basically implies a customer’s feelings or emotions in regard to a brand and its products, a technique that is often employed by businesses for garnering more knowledge with regard to their customers and their opinion of the brand. In the case of the food industry this form of analysis is employed to comprehend latest trends as well as popular items.


Recommended blog - Sentiment Analysis of YouTube Comments


Tools such as Natural Language Toolkit are adopted to assist companies in accessing extensive insights into their customer behaviour and emotions which in turn helps in driving sales. 



Sentiment Analysis

Sentiment Analysis


Big Data helps in interpreting customer sentiments by assessing customer emotions that are expressed on social media networks like Twitter or Facebook. Big Data can help in assessing negative reviews and taking appropriate preventive steps before the damage escalates. Various large food retailers such as Pizza Hut, KFC, and McDonald's have found this highly useful. 


3) Quality Control


In the food industry, quality is one of the most paramount factors. For instance, when it comes to the cold supply chain during transportation which involves various temperature-sensitive products such as fruits, ice-cream, vegetables, milk etc which require highly suitable and precise environment conditions and can be tarnished in case of any variations. 


Particular sensors driven by IoT assist in processing, analyzing and transferring the data to all parties in real-time, thus helping in assessing the full supply chain cycle. By employing Big Data, it becomes possible to replace any damaged products with proper ones on time and carry out prevention measures. The software and hardware powered by Big Data can also be employed together with the production process by helping assist the quality of incoming materials as well as final products. 


Recommended blog - Steps of Data Analysis


4) Data gained through Mobile Apps 


In the modern world, various popular food chains and restaurants have set up their own mobile app for their customers to make reservations, place orders, or go through the restaurant’s menu.  


Dominos, for instance, is one of the best instances of this. Along with letting its customers order and pay through the brand’s app, it also grants the customer various exclusive offers and deals. This app also allows the company to gain useful data, from the locations visited by the user, what the user orders as well as how often they order it. The firm can also gain a gist of your experience, such as the time it took to order and receive the food, the duration of the stay, or if the customer has any sort of complaint or issues. 


5) Transparency of Supply Chain


In the present market, comprehending an existing supply chain with all its participants becomes crucial for carrying out smooth operations. By enhancing visibility brands can boost their relations with their customers and focus on building trust and connections while also delivering higher-quality goods and establishing authority. 


By Helping drive the surge of such transparency Big Data allows companies and providers to keep a regular track of their transported as well as sourced goods. For instance, Various IoT and connected sensors enable providers to assess food and beverages throughout the process of their entire shipment as well as delivery.


6) Consistent Quality


Big Data enables restaurants to preserve consistent product quality. Consumers generally expect a steady and uniform food taste in the case of their favorite chain restaurants. The food’s taste will depend on a variety of factors such as the accurate measurement of ingredients, as well as their quality, season, and also their season.


These changes are interpreted by Big Data analytics which also predicts their impact on the food’s taste and quality. The insights gained from these analyses will be utilized for detecting areas of difficulties and suggesting improvement measures.


7) Enhanced Marketing


For any business, the most integral step is to undertake proper and fruitful marketing with the aim of spreading awareness and for generating beneficial brand loyalty.  This is yet another area in which big data technologies are put to use. Several useful insights are offered by the technology regarding when and where the brand or its products can prove to be relevant.


An example of enhanced PR and marketing in the food industry is that of Uber. In  2012 the ridesharing platform set up an on-demand barbecue delivery campaign for SXSW attendees joining hands with Iron Works BBQ. Here, both the involved platforms leveraged the popularity of where food delivery has popular demand.





Big Data is definitely paving its way to revolutionize the food industry. Especially if we take into account firms like KFC which are incorporating it to interpret customer feedback and food preferences for boosting their customer experience and sales. Similarly, companies like McDonald's and TacoBell have also been facilitating enhanced experience through the implementation of Big Data. This also includes the food and beverage companies beyond fast food such as door-to-door providers who are employing data to reach wider areas and boost their efficiency. 


Big Data is even being employed by suppliers to remain reliable and improve their visibility while also delivering better quality goods with curtailed losses. Big Data’s applications in the food industry are expanding rapidly, with extensive scope for new innovations.

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