What’s On Data Analysts’ Plates This Thanksgiving

We look at some of the data that goes into your meal


Data never sleeps. While you finish off the last of the cranberry sauce, data is being generated everywhere, and there will be evidence of the insights that it brings on your plate, in your stomach, and down the food receipts that fill your wallet.

The average amount a family will spend on groceries at Thanksgiving is $69.01, with people forking out an average of $3.57 on sweet potatoes alone. Both the retailers that sell the food and the farmers that produce it want to ensure that they take as big a slice of this pie as possible.

To do this, they are leveraging insights from patterns discovered in the data from every stage of the Turkey’s journey, from egg to plate. Farmers, for example, ensure that their birds are healthy and well fed by using analytics to closely monitor feed nutrition data. They can also establish the perfect amount of phytases and crude proteins in turkey feed, and pinpoint the optimal time to feed the birds.

Retailers too are using the vast amount of data available to them. They can look at the information gathered from previous years along with current demand to establish the perfect price point at which to sell turkeys, and how many they need in stock. They can use analytics in the supply chain to make sure that turkeys are where they need to be and when they need to be there. Text analytics can even be applied to social networks like Twitter and Facebook to help gauge what is likely to be popular. According to a study conducted by ShareThis in 2013, 73% of social sharing activity in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving consists of recipes and food-related coupons, and by monitoring these, they can both maintain appropriate stock levels, and optimize promotional campaigns, targeting coupons and deals appropriately.

Even on the day, retailers are tracking customer's shopping habits to look at what could happen next year and on other major holidays - what item people are most likely to forget for example. They can then thrust this under your nose at every opportunity so you don't forget it this year.

Check out our infographic to learn more! Happy Holidays!

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