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Growth Hacking: The Power Tool for F&B Innovation

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Growth Hacking: The Power Tool for F&B Innovation

August 10th, 2020
5 min

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“Growth hacking”. If you aren’t a tech person (or even if you are), the term might make you cringe. Hacking growth? Isn’t that just a buzzword for yuppie Silicon Valley nerds in hoodies? Nope - In 2020, it's the power tool the food and beverage industry needs. Read on for more.

Growth Hacking and the Food and Beverage Industry

“Growth hacking”. If you aren’t a tech person (or even if you are), the term might make you cringe. Hacking growth? Isn’t that a buzzword for yuppie Silicon Valley nerds in hoodies? Why is a food and beverage intelligence company like Tastewise talking about a term usually relegated to the world of software?  

The good news: “Hacking” doesn’t require any developer skills, instead demanding a dedication to innovation, pushing boundaries, flexibility, and adaptation to the market’s peaks and valleys. In a changing food and beverage market with its own share of valleys, such a solution is valuable. We at Tastewise are talking about growth hacking in the food and beverage space because we think it can change everything - and we don’t say that lightly. 

What is growth hacking?

A decade ago, Sean Ellis - a successful entrepreneur and angel investor - was faced with a new challenge: how does one describe a job that was built to lie outside of conventional categories and descriptors? At the time, Ellis had grown his company significantly without relying on traditional marketing or sales strategies. When looking for his replacement, the usual categories couldn’t describe the kind of experience he was looking for. Marketers, often hindered by budget, didn’t exactly fit the bill; Ellis wanted someone for whom growth was the sole goal -- not messaging, not content creation, not sales -- and could do it in the most bootstrapping, creative ways possible. From there, the idea of "growth hacking" was born: the process of accelerating growth for your company by the most innovative means possible. 

“A growth hacker is a person whose true north is growth.” Sean Ellis

All of this focus on growth makes sense. For startups, growth is the primary metric of success; if a startup isn’t measurably and consistently growing, they’re heading in the exact wrong direction. Creating room for someone to shepherd that growth from A - Z can be critical for companies with limited resources and time in a competitive market. And the proof has been in the pudding - many companies that have adopted growth hacking strategies have seen significant changes to their performance. 

So what does all of this mean for the food and beverage industry? Not everyone is a startup, and putting one’s eggs in a basket with a concept that seems deliberately alternative can feel like a big risk -- especially when a lot of money is at stake.

Here’s the secret: growth hacking is not only relevant to the food and beverage industry of 2020, it’s essential. 

Conventional Strategies are Now Dead Weight

No one in the food and beverage industry is doing the same thing they were doing in February of this year. You don’t need to hear it again - things are different, and they will continue to be different moving forward. The way people buy, cook, and eat is changing day-to-day. Conventional analytics strategies like surveys and retail focus groups were already on their way out within the last two years; the advent of the global pandemic was the nail in the coffin for the old ways of understanding the market. 

In this new world, what is left for the food and beverage companies who have managed to survive thus far? How can growth again become top-of-mind, Ellis’ “north star” in an environment that challenges everything that once was the norm? 

Here’s where growth hacking comes into play, and it starts with taking stock of exactly what is needed to drive growth. In today’s market, this reflection isn’t a luxury; it’s a necessity. Ask yourself: What is missing from your knowledge base? Do you need to know how your consumers are using your product - and do you need to know it right now? What will the next delivery trend will look like? What pairings with your product are trending? What draws people to eat what they do, and how does this redefine the industry? 

What is missing from your knowledge base?

To incorporate growth hacking into company strategy doesn’t require a new hire or job title; all it takes is a dedicated focus on growth, and a willingness to step outside of traditional strategies and towards innovative, inexpensive-yet-high-yield analytic solutions.

There are a million questions that require the best methods, tools and practices to answer. Going bigger with surveys or focus groups won’t fix the problem; with less than half of every dollar being spent on retail even before COVID-19, a retail focus group isn’t the solution. Finding an adaptive tool that can uncover the right information for your needs outpaces any value of the information drawn from outdated sources. These solutions require a specificity to the industry; growth hacking can’t be a ‘one size fits all’ solution to the specific challenges facing industry stakeholders. 

Tastewise: the F&B Growth Hacker (No Basement Required)

If you’re with us to this point, you have a sense of what growth hacking can offer. You understand that growth is crucial, and new strategies are necessary. This might sound appealing, but far fetched. How can you get access to the minds, demands, tastes, motivations, and desires of millions of consumers, without a budget the size of a small country’s GDP?

Enter: Tastewise. Tastewise is a food intelligence solution that holistically measures and predicts the way people order, cook and eat. We’re helping smart food brands to develop their future products, maximize their marketing impact, and win market share. Every day, our AI analyzes billions of food data points across social media, restaurant menus, and home recipes, to translate human eating and drinking into analytics and insights.

Simply put, Tastewise AI gives you the data and insights you need, with the necessary precision to develop, market and sell products across the food and beverage landscape. This clarity and access allows you to quickly grow all parts of your business; from larger, scalable solutions to quick fixes with immediate impact, we’re a cockpit for innovation in a changing world. This is growth hacking at its best, driven by AI. 

At Tastewise, we understand that what a brand or restaurant sells isn’t just a product, it’s the consumer motivations, demands, and journey that build the experience of the product. Marketers know to expand beyond the confines of product packaging into the minds of their consumers to tell the right story. Growth hacking with Tastewise AI fills in the how, providing actionable data that underpins not only the product itself, but what that product means to its users. All of this is built by billions of data points across social media, online recipes, and the largest database of restaurant menus available. That’s a lot of data wealth, and all in a quick and easy-to-use format.

The food and beverage brands that can ride the wave of dynamic changes into whatever the future looks like for our industry will be the ones at the top. Tastewise AI is the growth hacking solution the food and beverage industry needs in this pivotal moment of change. 

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