Alon Chen, chief executive of Tastewise, speaks with NutritionInvestor about using real-data to analyse and predict changing consumer needs
Tastewise founders Alon Chen and Eyal Gaon
L-R: Tastewise founders Alon Chen and Eyal Gaon

Tastewise, the AI-powered food intelligence solution created in Israel and operating in the US, has entered the UK and Alon Chen, its co-founder and chief executive, speaks with NutritionInvestor about using real-time data to analyse and predict changing consumer needs, providing critical clarity to market opportunities.

Chen, a former Google executive, founded Tastewise in 2017, with Eyal Gaon, an experienced technology leader, formerly of Israeli tech veteran SimilarWeb. 

“Since launching the Tastewise Food Intelligence Platform just over a year ago, the world’s leading food brands have recognised the power of up-to-date insights and have chosen to partner with Tastewise,” said Chen. 

Chen said brands like Nestlé, PepsiCo, Givaudan, Campbell’s, General Mills, Dole, and many more use Tastewise to provide them actionable insights that directly impact the growth of their products. 

Tastewise: How it works

Tastewise fuses billions of data points across recipes, menus, and social media to produce clear and actionable insights. Chen explained: “Instead of relying on outdated reports, which are often based on surveys and small focus groups, Tastewise customers have access to live data that reflects and predicts how consumers cook, order and eat right now. 

For Chen, the platform delivers benefits in key areas of marketing, product and sales. “The insights Tastewise provides can be used to either validate ideas for marketing campaigns or help marketers and brand managers understand how they should position their products,” he said.

Tastewise also provides trend data on what people are actually looking for, so customers adjust their recipes and content marketing accordingly to maximise their reach.

The analytical prowess of Tastewise can help R&D and product managers find the next product innovations, and sales teams be better informed about the needs of their customers.

Market insights

Building on insights from Tastewise, Chen said that functional foods are on an upward trend. The category was a hot trend prior to the pandemic but has only skyrocketed since, with 50% of food conversations mentioning functionality or food. “Discussions on immune-boosting foods, in particular, have risen 236%,” he said.

Another significant shift has been the increase in plant-based diets. Chen said, however, that surprisingly most consumers are engaging in plant-based diets for their personal health, rather than environmental factors. 

“People are looking to ingredients for personal reasons, such as pomegranate for fertility and spinach for its anti-inflammatory effect,” he explained.

Meal kits are taking over as dining in has become the new eating out. “People are stuck at home and have more time to devote to culinary creations, making experiential opportunities highly in demand,” said Chen. “Hands-on kits have risen in consumer interest by 511% since lockdowns began. Pizza kits were a big hit, the real opportunity lies in DIY cocktail kits.”

Tastewise has landed in the UK after a year of operating in the US, where marketing intelligence is highly needed. 

“The food sector in the US alone is a $1.5 trillion industry, and yet a whopping 85% of the products being launched are failing,” he said. This means there’s endless opportunity, with a growing market that is hungry for innovation.”

Chen argues that businesses are not fully aware of consumer needs and the available opportunities, and that’s where Tastewise comes in. “We streamline the entire innovation funnel to ensure brands are meeting actual consumer needs. This will not only improve businesses but have significant environmental implications as well,” he said.

Tastewise reports more than 250,000 visitors to the digital assets every year, and that it’s working with manufacturers, flavour houses, ingredient companies, and consumer-packed goods manufacturers, touching 100 million consumers already. 

“This is just the beginning. With our AI analysing billions of food data points, we are excited to be part of the future of the foodservice industry, where massive change is already underway,” Chen concluded.

Making its debut in the UK, Tastewise released a report on the UK food and drink trends. The report can be download from the company website.

Date published: 24 September 2020

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