Unilever Ventures, IRI Fund Artificial Intelligence Company 

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning company MachineVantage has been funded by Unilever Ventures and IRI. The company applies AI and ML powered algorithms focused exclusively on marketing, and product innovation.

Focused on consumer product and marketing innovations, MachineVantage applies proprietary artificial intelligence algorithms and machine learning techniques to extract product innovations, brand semiotics, creative inspirations, and digital and retail point of sale messaging. The company works with major multinational clients in North America and in individual markets in Europe, the Asia Pacific region, Latin America, and the Middle East.

Unilever Ventures is the venture capital and private equity arm of Unilever, the London and Rotterdam-based consumer goods company. IRI is the well-known Chicago-based provider of big data, predictive analytics and forward-looking insights

NESTEA Tiny House Opens its Doors in Chicago

The NESTEA Tiny House open its doors in Chicago on July 16. The 200 sq.-ft. custom tiny home is designed to showcase the brand's “less is more” philosophy. It will offer consumers offer guided tours enabling them to experience the joy of living simply. Along the way, visitors can sample a free bottle NESTEA’s new line of premium real brewed iced teas and reformulated classic iced teas.

Designed to meet consumer preference for simple ingredients, NESTEA’s reformulated classic iced teas are sweetened with real sugar and stevia extract. NESTEA's new premium real brewed iced teas are made with up to just five ingredients (tea, real sugar, water, rooibos and citric acid). NESTEA is made without the use of GMO ingredients, and do not contain high fructose corn syrup, or artificial colors or flavors.

CG Companies Ready to Get Serious about Online Channel Management
A new survey find that consumer goods companies are learning from traditional eCommerce retailers when it comes to their use of online customer and competitor insights to understand buying patterns, price sensitivity, new competitive product offerings and improve category management for eCommerce channels.

Ninety-one percent of the respondents see eCommerce as a strategic priority, and 57 percent are investing in eCategory Management to support fast-paced growth in online market share, by better understanding and reacting to the online consumer. These are some of the findings of a survey report unveiled by Periscope By McKinsey, a suite of solutions focusing on price, promotion, assortment, sales and marketing optimization to achieve sustainable revenue growth.

However, the survey also showed that for the overwhelming majority of Consumer Goods companies (75 percent), the journey towards using advanced eCategory Management capabilities to inform product assortment, pricing and promotional decision making in online channels is only just beginning.

The survey, conducted at the recent Consumer Goods Sales & Marketing Summit 2017, benchmarked online assortment, merchandising, pricing and promotions optimization technology across consumer goods companies. It also investigated how companies use online customer behavior and preferences to inform digital marketing, product purchasing and promotional decisions, as part of an integrated multichannel game plan.

Commenting on the findings, Paul Thompson, Vice President and Global Sector General Manager Consumer Goods of Periscope By McKinsey, said, “Digital technology is dramatically changing shopping behaviors and forces consumer goods companies to reinvent their approach to channel management. Companies need to rapidly build eCategory Management capabilities, that utilize insights from online customers’ behaviors and preferences to drive revenue lifting pricing, promotions and category innovations. Advanced and prescriptive analytics solutions are key technology components for companies to understand and attract the millennial buyer.”

More Interest in Purchases via Voice-Controlled Devices

Nearly one in five consumers (19 percent) have made a voice purchase through an Amazon Echo or other voice-controlled device in the past year, and another 33 percent plan to do so in the next year, according to the Walker Sands 2017 Future of Retail Study.

With nearly half of consumers (46 percent) reporting they prefer to shop online rather than in store, retailers face pressure to offer intuitive, responsive and personalized customer experiences, or risk missing out on sales. The introduction of channels such as mobile and voice commerce have created a tipping point, and more than three-quarters of shoppers (77 percent) now think the online customer experience will eventually surpass the brick-and-mortar customer experience.

“In the age of the connected consumer, e-commerce has become about much more than online shopping or the point of sale,” said Dave Parro, partner and vice president at Walker Sands. “The proliferation of technology such as connected home devices, voice ordering and drones have dramatically shifted consumer expectations of retail. Our findings suggest that the in-store experience is not going away, but rather there is a demand for a holistic commerce experience that is consistent, transparent and multi-channel.”

Uptick in Sports Nutrition Products in UK

New research from Mintel finds that many of the United Kingdom’s fitness loves are using sports nutrition prodcuts. Indeed, almost three in 10 Brits (27 percent) use these products, rising to two in five (39 percent) Brits who exercise more than once a week.

It is not just sports nutrition products which Britain's everyday athletes are relying on, as usage of high-protein food and drink is also strong. Three in 10 (29 percent) Brits have eaten or drunk high-protein food or drink products this year, with 45 percent of Brits believing it is important to increase protein intake when exercising regularly, and 28 percent saying that products with added protein are a good alternative to eating foods naturally high in protein.

“The sports nutrition category continues to grow in popularity,” Anita Winther, Research Analyst at Mintel, said. “This is great news for the sports nutrition market as well as high-protein brands and is likely to be contributing to the uptake in usage. It also helps to explain, in particular, the increase in popularity of protein powders among young women.” 


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                                                                         Mid-July 2017
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