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Legacy food companies are already struggling to keep up with changing consumer tastes, as brand loyalty plummets and Americans develop a taste for smaller-batch goods. Now, the General Mills and Nestles of the world have a brand-new source of anxiety: Alexa.
On Tuesday, the The Wall Street Journal reported that voice search assistants are expected to increase brand-agnostic buying—purchases made without specifying any particular company. That’s significant, because when people say, “Alexa, buy batteries,” or “Alexa, bring donuts,” the choice of which specific batteries or donuts gets left up to Amazon. Duracell and Dunkin’ don’t get a say. That’s bad news for the world’s biggest brands. Currently, there’s no option to pay for higher priority in voice search.
According to the Journal, Alexa responds to generic voice search requests using the “Amazon’s Choice” algorithm, which a Bain & Co. study found heavily privileges the company’s own private-label products. Amazon currently owns 70 percent of home-assistant market, according to the Journal, and searches originating from a home assistant are expected to comprise a full 50 percent of all online searching five years from now.
Individual brands will lose footing as the big digital platforms (Amazon, Google, Apple) herd consumers towards their own private supply chains.
Read the full article about brands losing to Alexa by Joe Fassler at The New Food Economy.