From Marico’s decision to launch onion hair oil based on Google search trends to Hindustan Unilever Ltd’s move to introduce Korean flavoured mealpot under the Knorr range, Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) players in India are increasingly using artificial intelligence and technology to get ahead of consumer trends and preferences in the country.

“Our time for innovation today is significantly lower than what it used to be earlier. We can spot trends, size up trends, and determine with what speed will the trends develop, use 3D printing, a perfume library for making prototypes, simulating them, and then launching the products. We do not need to do that in actual production lines. We can monitor trends taking place across the world and estimate with accuracy when they will come to India,” said Sanjiv Mehta, Managing Director and CEO of Hindustan Unilever Limited to businessline. 

With the aid of its AI technology, the company successfully introduced the Korean Meal Pot by Knorr to cater to the rising Korean food trend in India.

Also read: FMCG companies see double-digit growth on e-commerce in FY23

ITC’s Sixth Sense

Further, ITC uses its ‘ITC Sixth Sense’ to get consumer insights and behaviour purchase patterns and use them in its product development.

“The Sixth Sense derives insights through the mining of unstructured data such as relevant social chatter while keeping consumer-centricity at the core. It identifies emerging shifts in consumer behavior, the rapid evolution of different cohorts and life stages of people in the country, and a shift in preferences in areas such as wellness, indulgence, authenticity, and transparency. This has aided moment marketing over 3,000 content assets have been developed leveraging this capability within a relatively short period and relatively lower cost. Since the idea is to utilise a specific moment, hence agility is prime and thus the team needs to turn around the content in not more than 7 hours. Today, Sixth Sense team has started using Generative AI-based tools to create content at scale and deploy the same through an AI-based Media deployment tool. These have led to increased efficiency both in terms of performance and time to turn,” said an ITC spokesperson.

Also read: FMCG companies’ margins expected to improve in FY24: Report

Google trends

Consumer trends on Google are also being used by FMCG companies to introduce new products. Marico, which introduced its onion oil in general trade, said the product had been trending.

“If you look at Google Search trends, onion oil was trending. Google trends don’t happen generally unless somebody introduced it. The question is are you a fast follower and how do you invest your marketing behind the trend is crucial. We are using a lot of analytics in the supply chain, and talent management. We have a digital quotient that takes in social listening. We design and package for general and modern trade, and e-commerce, even digitally,” said Saugata Gupta, Managing Director and CEO of Marico.