CANNES: PepsiCo, the food and beverage giant, is rigorously tracking the latest trends relevant to its categories to help drive innovation, brand strategy and even potential acquisitions.

Maneesh Kaushik, PepsiCo’s global insights director, discussed this subject during a session at the 2018 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.

“Our need was to look for a unified, common view of trends. And that’s because these trends are chaotic market forces … that are really changing our categories and our markets,” he said. (For more, read WARC’s in-depth report: How PepsiCo discovers new consumer trends to reshape its future.)

A crucial tool in this endeavour, built in partnership with analytics specialist Black Swan, offers a real-time view of the culinary and refreshment options that are generating buzz and burgeoning in popularity among consumers.

By way of an example, he revealed how its “360 Always On” platform currently is activated in the beverage sector. “We track over 1,000 ingredients – so, ingredients like … charcoal, sugar, and so on,” said Kaushik.

Additionally, he reported, the company monitors “more than 100 benefit spaces” like “mental energy”, “mental health”, “heart health”, “good skin”, and so on. “It doesn’t have to be food and beverages,” he added.

Coupled with these knowledge points, PepsiCo is able to keep up with the activity of numerous other enterprises. “We track over 2,200 brands and products,” Kaushik said.

When taken together, the information collected by his team can provide a useful insight that covers areas like innovation, strategy and even retail partnerships.

“That means that we can go back and tell PepsiCo that, over the next few months, you will start seeing this benefit becoming more and more important to consumers, or we will start seeing these ingredients start gathering scale,” he said.

An implementation of the “360 Always On” system that Kaushik was “surprised” – and, indeed, gratified – by is “the fact that we actually use this data to consider small acquisitions in the opportunity spaces that we are interested in”.

“I can actually tee up the white spaces or the opportunity spaces that are going to really matter to consumers, and I can also start talking about the companies that are playing in that [space] – the smaller companies. And that’s really powerful information for PepsiCo to use.”

Sourced from WARC