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Sainsbury’s is using machine learning on Google Cloud to predict food trends

Written by Wed 2 Oct 2019

AI is helping the supermarket chain identify eating habits earlier

One week it’s sushi, then it’s poke bowls and next thing you know kippers are back on trend.

It can be hard for retailers to keep up with the whimsical ebb and flow of eating habits. In an ideal world, supermarkets want their shelves stocked with on trend cuisine as soon as the hashtags show any sign of trending. But instead of staying ahead of the game supermarkets often find themselves playing catchup.

To combat this problem Sainsbury’s has teamed up with Google and Accenture to forge a machine learning solution that feeds off the supermarket’s vast pool of customer data to ‘empower’ customers to stay connected to the latest food trends. In other words, using Google’s cloud-based machine learning tools, the UK’s second largest supermarket chain is uncovering the trends driving eating habits.

By feeding in data from multiple structured and unstructured sources, Sainsbury’s is using Google’s cloud-based analytics to digest, clean and classify the data. A custom front-end then allows the Sainsbury’s team to navigate the data with a variety of filters and categories and provides them with real-time insights. Sainsbury’s has subsequently developed AI models that spot trends – allowing it to adjust its inventory and cater to the latest taste crazes.

Phil Jordan, Group CIO of Sainsbury’s, said the project will help the supermarket to ‘stay ahead’.

“With the help of Google Cloud Platform, we are generating new insights into how the world eats and lives, to help us stay ahead of market trends and provide an even better shopping experience for our customers,” he said.

Sainsbury’s is no stranger to machine learning. The supermarket has experimented with in-store video analytics to monitor replenishment rates and already uses machine learning models to optimise its supply chain and logistics.

According to Vynz research, the AI retail solutions and services market is set to be worth $4.4 billion dollars by 2024.

Written by Wed 2 Oct 2019


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