ITOCHU Announces Launch of FOODATA, Service for Supporting Digital Transformation in the Planning and Development of Food Products

July 9, 2021

ITOCHU Corporation (headquartered in Minato-ku, Tokyo; Keita Ishii, President & COO; hereinafter “ITOCHU”) announced today that it has partnered with WingArc1st Inc. (headquartered in Minato-ku, Tokyo; Jun Tanaka, President & CEO), Taste & Aroma Strategic Research Institute Co., Ltd. (headquartered in Chuo-ku, Tokyo; Michihiro Koyanagi, president) and Dentsu Retail Marketing Inc. (headquartered in Minato-ku, Tokyo; Katsuhiko Iwasaki, President & CEO) to launch FOODATA, a service for supporting digital transformation in the planning and development of food products. WingArc1st is a company that offers software and services for data utilization. Taste & Aroma Strategic Research Institute analyzes gustation, smells and textures of food and other items while Dentsu Retail Marketing analyzes data on consumers’ purchasing.

Recent diversification of consumers' needs is shortening product cycles and advancing the personalization of food. Expectations for product planning and development continues to grow, so do burdens on food and beverage companies. As the food loss becomes more apparent, the importance of rebuilding the value chain at the starting point of consumers' demand is growing. In these circumstances, the capability to quickly deliver to market products that accurately satisfy the target needs are the bedrock for a company's competitiveness. This in turn demands efforts to support "intuition and experience" through data and to improve the accuracy and speed of decision-making.

Focusing on this trend, ITOCHU has developed FOODATA, a service to support food companies in their effective utilization of data in the process of product planning and development.
FOODATA, a data analysis tool combining food-related data on flavor, nutrition, raw materials and other food elements with human data on ID-POS, awareness, word of mouth and other elements of consumers' behavior and tastes, visualizes the results of the analysis using a dashboard. In the process of developing FOODATA, we sought the cooperation of about 50 companies including manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers among others, as well as more than 200 persons engaging in planning, development, marketing and merchandising. We pursued functions reflecting voices from the front lines. FOODATA helps food companies to improve their capabilities in product planning and development by achieving major goals in the process of product planning and development, namely (1) supporting “intuition and experience,” (2) shortening the data analysis time and (3) reducing costs for data acquisition, and by offering the environment that can efficiently verify ideas.

Starting with FOODATA, ITOCHU will offer a broad range of solutions such as expanded sales, procurement of raw materials and system development. We will strengthen our role as the partner to expand client companies’ businesses together while also pursuing expansion of the service into non-food-related sectors.
Following this initiative, we will seek to develop a data platform to collect, integrate and utilize data dispersed along the food value chain and reduce disparities among companies in data and digital technologies. In this way, we will contribute to promoting the digital transformation and enhancing the value of our value chain throughout the entire food industry.

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