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AI is reinventing Consumer Food & Beverage Testing during the Global COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic is causing severe and possibly lasting disruptions across the food and beverage industry. Beyond the new, immediate supply chain and safety challenges food and beverage businesses are facing today, they will need to embrace new technologies to adapt to the changes in resources and capabilities caused by the need for physical distancing.

For decades food and beverage product innovators have relied heavily on in-person sensory feedback in the form of focus groups and tasting.  Right now, product development cycles have been paused or are lurching forward without that traditional sensory guidance. Central Location Tests (CLTs) and focus groups are cancelled, tasting panels are indefinitely suspended, and food manufacturers are missing out on the most valuable feedback loop when developing new products – consumer preference.

Gastrograph AI enables food and beverage product innovators to re-engage with consumers in a manner that is safe and effective through its remote, data-driven insight engine. It allows CPG companies to predict consumer preferences in 28 markets globally using just 10-15 product reviews from employees working from home through their mobile app.

“Once the data is collected on the Gastrograph AI platform, it’s like running 100 CLTs anywhere in the world – in near-real time.” – Jason Cohen, Founder & CEO Analytical Flavor Systems

The platform can then translate those profiles to the perception of any target consumer demographic and predict the distribution of preference based on those sensory features.

How spicy will your prototype taste for the average coastal Chinese consumer? Or how sweet will your confectionary be perceived by Hispanic Americans? Will millennials prefer this prototype to our existing product?  Gastrograph AI is uniquely enabled to answer these types of questions without empirical measurements from the target population because data on their preferences has already been collected.

Gastrograph AI is trained with the largest and most diverse sensory dataset ever collected on on-market food and beverage products. That data is used to train models that are applied to predict consumer preference as opposed to re-measuring it for every project.

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“The Gastrograph AI platform is an order of magnitude improvement to established methodologies. In-person panels provide snapshot data, the half-life of that data is short, and often is only project specific. Because CLT focus groups pre-screen for a certain type of consumer, they generate data that is only semi-predictive of other people like them, and thus end up having little future utility.” – Brita Rosenheim, Partner at Better Food Ventures

Gastrograph AI continues to learn as CPG companies build their own database of products on the platform to improve their predictive capabilities over time. From global Fortune 500 CPG companies to regional brands, Gastrograph AI has been a trusted development partner in developing new products, optimizing existing brands, and entering new markets.

This pandemic is challenging the F&B industry to feed the world in new and unforeseen ways. We are confident that the CPG industry is resilient will rise to the challenge this crisis presents. While adoption of new technology will continue, it is the individuals and their expertise that will turn these lemons into lemonade!