AB InBev turns to students to power big data drive

AB InBev is opening an analytics hub at the University of Illinois to gain insights into consumer preferences and industry trends in the hope of identifying new drinking occasions.

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AB InBev is to launch a research hub to develop insights into emerging alcohol trends.

The “Bud Lab” opens at the University’s research park next month and will focus on using data analytics and developing data research and innovation to solve problems ranging from social media trends to large-scale data programs. Other projects will include pricing analysis, promotional strategies, and on-trade campaigns.

The lab is a global initiative that will support Ab InBev’s brand teams around the world. It is hoped the hub will accelerate the brewer’s innovation pipeline as it looks to exploit emerging beer trends ahead of its rivals.

Claudio Garcia, chief people and technology officer at AB InBev, says: “Through our permanent presence on-campus we will be at the edge of leading research and innovation, working together with some of the best minds in key fields including statistics, computer science, business and engineering. We strongly believe that our collaboration will put forth new and exciting solutions and insights, and we look forward to working closely with the team here.”

The brewer revealed earlier this year that it is growing its customer insights offering to develop new products including non-alcoholic drinks and help premiumise its brands. AB InBev is pushing premium beers such as Budweiser and Stella Artois as well as craft beers such as Shock Top to offset declining demand in its more mature western markets. The ongoing drop in demand sent global revenues tumbling 3.9 per cent to $10.6bn (£7bn) for the three months to 30 June. 

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