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The personalized palate: A winning food and beverage strategy in the age of the Individual

April 2, 20245 min
Yaseen Burt photo
Yaseen Burt

The age of the individual is upon us. Customer personalization is transforming the way we shop, listen to music, watch movies, even travel. A 2023 McKinsey study reveals that successful customer personalization strategies can significantly impact revenue, customer lifetime value, and overall brand perception. Unsurprisingly, this trend is shaking up a food and beverage industry that has taken notice of the need for adaptation

This article discusses why generic “one-size-fits-all” food and beverage options are giving way to more personalized consumer experiences and how F&B companies can ensure that they’re the first to meet the customer at the door.

From mass production to individual palates

Creating products suitable for mass appeal sufficed for food and beverage companies in years prior. This approach worked for decades when consumer choices were limited and exposure to cosmopolitan creations like Korean-Mexican fusion tacos, Indian-Japanese fusion sushi, and Italian-Thai fusion pasta was limited.

However, today’s consumer is hyper-aware and increasingly vocal about their individual needs and preferences. The increasing accessibility of international ingredients, cuisines and content has broadened consumer culinary interests. People are no longer satisfied with generic options and instead seek out authenticity and flavors that reflect their diverse backgrounds or newfound culinary interests.

Also, the rise of food that’s more aligned to people’s specific health concerns demand far more tailored options. For example, the plant-based foods market could make up to 7.7% of the global protein market by 2030. This growing demand for new avenues of food exploration and micro-personalization is set to increase even further over the coming decades.

Personalization as an effective food and beverage strategy

Agile food and beverage companies are increasingly looking for ways to align their next product with what consumers want. Fortunately, there are some reliable listening posts out there that they can tap into to uncover what people are saying about their brands and how and why they consume the products they do. Let’s take a look:

  • Social listening: Social media platforms are abuzz with real-time conversations. F&B companies can monitor hashtags, food trends, and consumer feedback to guide product innovation. Social listening can reveal answers to questions like, “What are people craving that current products aren’t offering?” or “Which niche flavors are gaining popularity?” These insights can spark innovative product concepts.
  • Online shopping: E-commerce platforms hold extensive data on purchasing and other patterns relating to consumer behavior. Analyzing shopping carts, search terms, and product reviews can help identify emerging dietary and flavor preferences amongst many other trends. This information can help tailor new or improved products to meet consumers’ evolving needs.
  • Recipe data: Online recipe websites are a treasure trove of culinary trends as they relate to home cooking. Exploring trending ingredients, flavor combinations, and dietary adaptations within recipes provides insights to how consumers use ingredients at home. Recipe data helps to reveal gaps in your product offerings and highlights areas with unmet needs that your brand can fill.
  • Restaurant experiences: Restaurants tend to stay ahead of the curve in experimenting with flavors and formats. Monitoring innovative menus, popular special offers, and customer feedback can inspire your next bestseller. Menu data often reveals exciting fusion dishes that are trending or even underrepresented cuisines with potential for broader appeal.

These listening posts offer a wealth of consumer insights that can enrich any food and beverage strategy. Harnessing these repositories of real-world data, informed by real-people insights, enables F&B companies to innovate with confidence and develop more personalized products that resonate with consumers on a deep level.

Getting personal in your food and beverage strategy

Personalization strategies can drive a tangible increase in sales and deliver measurable marketing ROI. Yet, the benefits to personalization within the food and beverage industry extend beyond metrics. For example, consumers who feel their individual needs are met are far more likely to become loyal brand ambassadors.

Also, personalized food production and targeted product recommendations can help minimize waste from overproduction and unsold items, further boosting brand affinity with an increasingly environmentally aware consumer. The data collected through personalization can also reveal hidden consumer desires, sparking the development of hyper-targeted, truly innovative products.

AI’s role in building more personalised products

While getting personalization right is crucial for any food and beverage strategy, achieving it at scale presents unique challenges. This is where artificial intelligence (AI) emerges as the game-changer. AI-powered solutions can analyze vast amounts of consumer data, uncovering patterns and preferences that would be impossible for humans to manually detect. This allows companies to deliver ultra-personalized experiences tailored to each individual.

In an increasingly competitive and consumer-centric landscape, personalization is no longer a “nice-to-have”; it’s a critical ingredient for any successful food and beverage strategy. Embracing AI-powered solutions allows the unprecedented ability to understand and cater to individual preferences, driving loyalty, innovation, and sustained growth. To learn more about how Tastewise is helping brands put the customer in sharper focus, contact us.

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