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I wrote late last year about the network of food – a vast digital landscape that can instantly connect consumers with everything from online recipes and nutritional information to cooking apps and food suppliers, all based on a deep understanding of individual taste and flavor preferences.

The network of food is not just a technology step change. It’s a tectonic shift that makes food experiences much more personal, which is something that today’s connected consumers crave.

In the network of food, consumers can discover new foods, flavors, ingredients, recipes, and products that match their unique taste preferences – all of which can help spice up meals that they’ve become bored with. And CP food companies gain nearly endless opportunities to interact with consumers, build an understanding of them based on those interactions, and connect with them in more meaningful and targeted ways.

A key example of the network of food brought to life is the food-personalization platform FlavorPrint, which was originally developed by McCormick. The platform transformed how the seasoning and spice producer engaged with consumers and led to double-digit growth. But it quickly became apparent that FlavorPrint’s potential was much bigger, leading to the creation of Vivanda.

As Jerry Wolfe, the former CIO of McCormick and now CEO of Vivanda, recently told the Baltimore Sun, “We realized that what we were on to had applications for the entirety of the food industry.”

We at SAP couldn’t agree more – which is why we decided to make a strategic investment in Vivanda and its game-changing technology. Together, we will help CP food companies drive growth in the digital economy by delivering the personalized food experiences and outcomes that consumers want.

Digitizing and Personalizing Taste

The API-enabled FlavorPrint platform has mapped nearly 16,000 aroma chemicals into 33 flavors and 17 textures. More importantly, however, the platform can match this data to any consumer’s unique taste and texture preferences to deliver personalized food, beverage and recipe recommendations. This offers unprecedented potential for CP food companies.

For example, CP food companies now have the ability to position ingredients not as products but as a meal solution. This helps consumers achieve specific and highly personalized food experiences, and can set new and different ingredients apart from the tens of thousands of items in crowded grocery aisles. By delivering meaningful food outcomes, such as recipes that both taste good and meet a consumer’s dietary needs, CP food companies also can create more meaningful relationships with customers and build brand loyalty like never before.

A technology like the FlavorPrint platform also can be transformative, helping CP food companies expand their business to new buyers and sell more to existing ones.

A CP food company could, for instance, pair the platform with a travel or restaurant-reservation app. Now, the company could track not only a consumer’s personal taste preferences, but also the types of restaurants they frequent or the different regions of the world they’ve visited. It also could track restaurant review ratings and identify dishes mentioned in reviews to better understand what consumers like or dislike.  With all of this data collected and built into the consumer’s profile, the technology could then deliver personalized food recommendations to help them make a favorite dish at home or recreate a meal they fell in love with abroad.

Or imagine the potential for pairing the platform with the growing number of connected devices that are integral to consumers’ daily food routines. Smart kitchen appliances could be tied into a consumer’s recipe planning or notify them of expired foods. Smart cars could remind them that they need to pick up specific ingredients for dinner, direct them to stores where those ingredients are available and deliver relevant offers as they pull into the parking lot.

What’s more, CP food companies could use the platform as a conduit to expand beyond food.  For example, by partnering with an athletic-apparel or fitness company, for example, they could help consumers synchronize their recipe planning with their fitness goals. This partnership could go both ways. It could identify recipes that meet a consumer’s caloric-intake goals, and at the same time track that consumer’s eating habits and automatically adjust fitness routines based on what they eat. Similarly, a partnership with a health-insurance company could help deliver food recommendations as part of a wellness program. This could help support healthier eating for the consumer and reduce costs for the insurance provider.

SAP and Vivanda: A Natural Fit

The network of food is transforming how CP food companies operate and reach consumers. As a result, the focus is no longer only on selling products but also delivering the food experiences and outcomes that consumers want. Achieving this requires that companies be able to understand consumers at the personal level and deliver those experiences and outcomes in a highly targeted and effective manner.

Our investment in Vivanda will help do just that. For more information about the investment and how our combined collaboration and complementary technologies can help CP food companies tap into the network of food, read our announcement.  And, to learn more about how you and your company can enable personalized consumer experiences and outcomes in the new digital economy, visit Consumer products: Reimagined for the new economy.