Data and Dining: Yum Yum

August 30, 2022

Food and beverage companies hire consultants like Mike Kostyo to predict what dishes will soon be gracing menus. HuffPost describes the flavorful profession in the piece, “This Food Trendologist Knows What We’ll Be Eating Before Anyone Else.” As one might expect, the job involves traveling to many places and sampling many cuisines. But it also means analyzing a trove of data. Who knew? Writer Emily Laurence tells us:

“Kostyo explained that declaring something a trend requires actual data; it’s not done willy-nilly. A lot of his job is spent analyzing data to prepare food trend reports he and his team put together a few times a year. Some brands and companies use these trend reports to determine products they may want to create. ‘We have our eyes on all sorts of possible trends, with dedicated folders for each. Any time we come across a piece of data or anecdotal evidence related to a possible trend, we add it to the designated folder,’ Kostyo said, explaining that this allows them to see how a trend is building over time (or if it fizzles out, never actually turning into one). For example, he said he and his team use a tool that gives them access to more than 100,000 menus across the country. ‘We can use this tool to see what types of appetizers have grown the fastest in the past few years or what ingredients are being used more,’ Kostyo said.”

We would be curious to see that presumably proprietary data tool. For clients, the accuracy of these predictions can mean the difference between celebrating a profitable quarter and handing out pink slips. See the write-up for how one gets into this profession, factors that can affect food trends, and what Kostyo predicts diners will swallow next.

Cynthia Murrell, August 30, 2022


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