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NWO.ai’s weekly pulse: holiday food & beverage trends

Sarah Gupta

Dear reader,

We can hardly believe the holiday season is just around the corner! As temperatures drop and consumer habits shift to more seasonal trends, we’re here to provide you with signals across the food and beverage industry.

1. To cook or not to cook, that is the question

NWO.ai's signal comparison for Meal Prep and Food Delivery

At the beginning of the pandemic, many ordered food to support their favorite restaurants, while others learned to prepare meals at home. In fact, 2020 was the first year since 2008 that U.S. consumers spent over 50% of food expenses on at-home food. But recently, consumers have shifted their habits, as we can see that the signal for “food delivery” has decreased by -100%, and the signal for “meal prep” has increased +37%. While meal prep picks up every year in the winter, this year we are seeing an uptick in Impact Score earlier than last year. This is likely boosted by the fact that many are returning to in-person or hybrid work, and may have carried over some of their cooking habits from the pandemic.

2. Spicing things up

NWO.ai's signal comparison for Wine, Mulled Wine, Cider and Mulled Cider

What’s a better way to get in the festive spirit than with some cozy flavors? Though traditionally a European drink, mulled wine has gained popularity in the US as well. This is a great market because the US drinks 33 million hectoliters of wine per year, as the largest consumer of wine globally. NWO.ai’s Future Estimate shows that mulled wine and mulled cider will be more popular than their original counterparts, especially as we move into the coldest part of the year in January and February.

3. Battle of the squashes

NWO.ai's signal comparison for Kabocha Squash, Acorn Squash, Butternut Squash

The United States imported over $500 million worth of squash in 2020 and is the biggest importer of squash in the world. Interestingly, this year NWO.ai’s Future Estimate predicts that butternut squash will be less popular than last year. Instead, others like kabocha squash and acorn squash remain strong and are featured in many fall and winter recipes. Since squash is a great source of nutrients, yet still fairly low in calories, it remains a favorite choice among health-conscious consumers.

4. Supply chain: pie shortage

NWO.ai's signal for Pie Shortage

Continuing supply chain shortages, along with labor shortages, mean that some holiday favorites might not be available in stores or might be much more expensive. We’ve previously discussed the aluminum supply, which has meant that some stores in Britain have recently suffered from a lack of pie tins. NWO.ai’s platform has picked up a 102% increase in Impact Score for “pie shortage” since last year.

5. What does NWO.ai think is the best Thanksgiving side?

by Christian Thompson, Customer Success Manager

NWO.ai's signal comparison for Mashed Potatoes, Stuffing, Sweet Potato Casserole, Green Bean Casserole, and Cranberry Sauce

This year NWO.ai took on the classic debate: which Thanksgiving side is the best? NWO.ai found mashed potatoes were the clear winner. The Impact Score for mashed potatoes is expected to outperform the previous year, possibly driven by supply chain shortages and the semi-normal return to Thanksgiving. Mashed potatoes are followed by cranberry sauce, green bean casserole, stuffing, and sweet potato casserole.

About NWO.ai
NWO.ai's predictive platform enables leading Fortune 500 companies and government agencies to anticipate and track global cultural shifts by aggregating, analyzing, and producing actionable reports on human-generated data. We are leveraging petabytes of external, noisy, and unstructured data from various sources including search, social media, blogs, news, patent databases, SEC filings and we are continuously adding more sources. Our mission is to answer the what, when, and most importantly, 'why' behind a consumer trend and enable our customers to detect these shifts as early as possible.

P.S.  We're hiring! Check out our open positions and let us know if you'd be a good fit for our team. We're growing quickly and adding several engineering roles to help us decode the anatomy of next.

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