Major food companies are using big data to guide product development. So far, those efforts have gotten us…bigger bowls of mac and cheese.

Food companies are combing cell-phone tracking data, grocery store receipts, dinner clean-up times, and even Peloton subscriptions for intel on the next big thing, Bloomberg reports. And how are they harnessing all this intense, expensive investigative research? Why, by developing groundbreaking technologies like the Kraft Macaroni and Cheese Big Bowl, a version of the company’s microwaveable pasta that is—you guessed it—big. Even General Mills’ signature Box Tops For Education initiative has turned into a data-gathering tool: Since 2019, the company has asked shoppers to upload photographs of their shopping lists instead of simply clipping box tops. Your cereal knows what kind of milk you buy, and it wants a word with you.

The Counter Stories by our editors.