Mentions of big data within the filings of companies in the food manufacturing industry more than doubled year-on-year in the second quarter of 2022, analysis suggests.

The number of times the topic was cited jumped 133% during the period, GlobalData says.

In total, the frequency of sentences related to big data between July 2021 and June 2022 was 125% higher than in 2016 when GlobalData, Just Food‘s parent, 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 individual 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 manufacturing companies, two measures were calculated. Firstly, GlobalData looks at the percentage of companies that have mentioned big data at least once in filings during the past twelve months – this was 38% compared to 18% in 2016. Secondly, the group calculates the percentage of total analysed sentences that referred to big data.

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By GlobalData

Of the ten biggest employers in the food manufacturing industry, Unilever was the company that referred to big data the most between July 2021 and June 2022. GlobalData identified seven big data-related sentences in the company's filings - 0.14% of all sentences. PepsiCo mentioned big data the second most - the issue was referred to in 0.09% of sentences in the group's filings.

Across all food manufacturing companies, the filing published in the second quarter of 2022 which exhibited the greatest focus on big data came from Tingyi (Cayman Islands) Holdings Corp. Of the document's 1,919 sentences, five (0.3%) referred to big data.

GlobalData also categorises big data mentions by a series of sub-themes. Of these sub-themes, the most common topic in the second quarter of 2022 was 'data analytics', which made up 78% of all big data sub-theme mentions by food manufacturing companies.

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.