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The Metaverse is a New Digital Battleground in the Making, Data Researchers Predict



12 Sep 2023

The Metaverse is a New Digital Battleground in the Making, Data Researchers Predict

The Metaverse is a New Digital Battleground in the Making, Data Researchers Predict

As food service giants Taco Bell, Wendy’s and Starbucks enter the metaverse with their devised lands and non-fungible tokens (NFTs), we explore whether it is only a matter of time before manufacturers take a bite out of the metaverse experience.


The metaverse is a virtual world where users share experiences and interact in real-time within simulated scenarios. The metaverse market is anticipated to grow by a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of over 33% between now and 2030, data analytics and consulting company Global Data revealed in an August 2023 report. By 2030, the metaverse market is expected to value at $627 billion.


Bringing together a range of next-generation technologies, including cloud computing, artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, cryptocurrencies, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), big name foodservice operators are embracing the metaverse to appeal to consumers.


Analysing the food metaverse​

“The metaverse is an emerging mega-theme involving companies from various industries, including food service,” ​Rupantar Guha, Project Manager of Global Data, told FoodNavigator. “It is still largely conceptual but could transform how people work, shop, communicate, and consume content,” ​Guha said.



However, Global Data data shows that metaverse hype is waning among food brands. In 2022, metaverse-related social media posts in the food service sector fell by 21% compared to 2021. “We are currently in a metaverse winter, and its adoption in the food service sector will be delayed,”​ Martina Raveni, Associate Analyst at Global Data, told FoodNavigator.



Nonetheless, those in the sector recognise that the metaverse has applications in many aspects of the food industry, mainly in customer engagement and retention, digital marketing and advertising strategies, supply chain management, and transparency–presenting opportunities for producers.


Consumer reactions to current applications​

Consumers have played in Wendy’s Wendyverse, purchased Starbucks non-fungible tokens (NFTs) in Starbucks Odyssey to earn reward benefits, and around 300 people applied for the wedding ceremony in Decentraland hosted by Taco Bell, Global Data revealed.


“However, these are experimental initiatives launched by food service brands to keep up with the trend,” ​said Guha. The hard evidence of consumer adoption or engagement will likely emerge over the next three years when and if the metaverse-enabling technologies mature, Global Data anticipates.


“There is no evidence yet of real-time returns for brands in the metaverse, but they are investing in virtual worlds, avatars, and NFTs in the hope of generating returns in the long run,” ​Guha added.

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