Mentions of big data within food manufacturers’ filings showed signs of easing, according to the latest analysis from GlobalData.

References to big data were 29% lower in the third quarter of 2021 than in the corresponding period a year earlier, the figures showed.

In total, the frequency of sentences related to big data between October 2020 and September 2021 was 50% higher than in 2016 when GlobalData first began to track the key issues referred to in company filings.

When food manufacturing companies publish annual and quarterly reports, ESG reports and other filings, GlobalData analyses the text and identifies sentences that relate to disruptive forces facing companies in the coming years. Big data is one of these topics - companies that excel and invest in these areas are thought to be better prepared for the future business landscape and better equipped to survive unforeseen challenges.

To assess whether big data is featuring more in the summaries and strategies of food manufacturers, two measures were calculated. Firstly, we looked at the percentage of companies which have mentioned big data at least once in filings during the past twelve months - this was 34% compared to 16% in 2016. Secondly, we calculated the percentage of total analysed sentences that referred to big data.

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By GlobalData

Of the 50 biggest employers in the food manufacturing industry, Yildiz Holding was the company which referred to big data the most between October 2020 and September 2021. GlobalData identified two big data-related sentences in the Turkey-based company's filings - 0.4% of all sentences. Tingyi (Cayman Islands) Holding Corp. mentioned big data the second most - the issue was referred to in 0.3% of sentences in the company's filings. Other top employers with high big data mentions included dairy giant Lactalis, Japan-based meat processor NH Foods and indian conglomerate ITC.

Across all food manufacturers ,the filing published in the third quarter of 2021 which exhibited the greatest focus on big data came from Japan's Itochu Corp. Of the document's 1,309 sentences, six (0.5%) referred to big data.

This analysis provides an approximate indication of which companies are focusing on big data and how important the issue is considered within the food manufacturing industry, but it also has limitations and should be interpreted carefully. For example, a company mentioning big data more regularly is not necessarily proof that they are utilising new techniques or prioritising the issue, nor does it indicate whether the company's ventures into big data have been successes or failures.

GlobalData also categorises big data mentions by a series of subthemes. Of these subthemes, the most commonly referred to topic in the third quarter of 2021 was 'data analytics', which made up 85% of all big data subtheme mentions by food manufacturing companies.