According to Catherine Cooke, Digital Insights Director at media agency Mindshare UK, social media data can keep brands ahead of the curve when it comes to identifying new trends.

With visually-oriented platforms such as blogs, Instagram and Facebook offering snap-happy users the opportunity to share every meal with their followers, there is a now a wealth of primary information that marketers can draw upon to understand the ‘next big trend’ in the food space before it hits the mainstream.

Cooke cited social media’s scale – her team analysed at least 10 million posts about food in the UK alone – and unbiased, qualitative nature of the content as major advantages in trend hunting.

“There are social media comments number in the billions on almost every subject under the sun, so you have this enormous pool of data to query different trends,” said Cooke at the Market Research Society’s recent event focusing on the FMCG sector in London recently.