Tweets, Receipts and Peloton Riders: Foodmakers Embrace Big Data

Old-fashioned brands are finally using analytics to give consumers what they want.


By Deena Shanker and Henry Ren, Bloomberg

April 5, 2021


When a handful of teens took to social media to complain about the paltry size of their microwaveable mac and cheese, Big Food was paying attention.


At Kraft Heinz Co., the corporate behemoth that’s responsible for a lot of the items in your pantry right now, a “social listening team” picked up on that chatter in the summer of 2019. Months later—lightning speed in the food world—Kraft Macaroni and Cheese Big Bowls were on store shelves.


Tracking social media buzz is one of the newly honed tools in Kraft’s data collection toolbox, and both the company and its packaged-food peers are increasingly thinking about how they gather and use information like this to speed product development.


“For a food brand it’s really no longer about who has the biggest factory, or who has the biggest media budget,” said Taylor Smith, a partner at Boston Consulting Group. “It’s about what data you have and how you use it.”


From Kraft to General Mills Inc. to Conagra Brands Inc., big foodmakers are finally warming to analytics...


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