The Open Innovation Forum Food and FMCG Pitching Competition is an annual competition that provides an opportunity for innovators to pitch their ideas to senior leaders of major companies across the whole value chain in the Food, Drink and FMCG sector. Run by the University of Cambridge’s Institute for Manufacturing (IfM) knowledge transfer arm IfM Education and Consultancy Services since 2013, this year’s event was hosted by the Heineken Experience in Amsterdam.

  Finalists of the 2017 Open Innovation Forum Food and FMCG Pitching Competition.

Finalists of the 2017 Open Innovation Forum Food and FMCG Pitching Competition.

The winner of this year’s Open Innovation Forum Food and FMCG Pitching Competition, start-up company Dashmote, was established to solve this exact problem. They saw potential in being able to unlock these online image resources by combining visual recognition data and AI. By using visual recognition technology, patterns can be identified from across global markets and then narrowed down into regional insights. Since starting in 2015, Dashmote has worked with a number of companies from various food and beverage categories such as coffee, beer, snacks and spirits.

  Dashmote co-founder Stefan Tan (left) and Pitch Competitiion coordinator Dominic Oughton.

Dashmote co-founder Stefan Tan (left) and Pitch Competitiion coordinator Dominic Oughton.

Dashmote co-founder Stefan Tan, says traditional market research methods such as interviews, observations and surveys are often very time and labour consuming. Stefan also states, “putting together a thorough marketing intelligence report can take months, which is inefficient given how quickly consumer preferences shift, especially in the food industry. With the help of innovative methods such as AI and visual recognition we are able to perform research for a fraction of the time and by using raw information sourced directly from customers, we can provide quantifiable results.”

Dashmote’s proprietary technology analyses billions of images and data that is publicly available on Internet platforms to identify and predict future consumer trends. By using consumer-generated information, such as photos from social media sites and blogs, Dashmote gains direct and unfiltered insights into people's tastes and preferences. This gives Dashmote’s clients a reliable and data-proven picture of what customers need and want, allowing the company to communicate appropriately with their customers and to then provide their consumers with the products that they want.

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