Furniture and home décor retailer Crate & Barrel has created an immersive digital version of its new flagship New York store.
Customers can navigate the store in a similar way to a computer game or Google Maps technology, observing the displays and clicking on products to discover pricing. As well as being a digital twin of the physical location, the virtual store also includes gamified features such as plates flying off the wall to form the perfect holiday party setting on a table when clicked on.
While most e-commerce stores require the customer to search for products, in-store shopping is more suited to organic discovery. Barrel & Crate’s virtual store aims to replicate this digitally.
With consumers increasingly concerned about their health and the impact of dairy farming on the planet, the ice cream aisle is playing host to more significant numbers of alt-milk and vegan ice creams than ever before. Dairy formulation experts are also experimenting with complex flavour combinations to stay relevant and set new trends, while legacy brands are questioning their carbon footprint and launching new products to cater for a growing number of conscious consumers.
In the US alone, consumers indulge in ice cream throughout the year, with more than 16 pounds (7.25kg) of ice cream consumed annually on average (source: McKinsey & Co).
Due to the prevalence of lactose intolerance and milk allergies in North America (30m US adults suffer from some degree of lactose intolerance by the age of 20), and East Asia (70% of the general public suffer from lactose intolerance), brands have no choice but to cater for those Adaptive Appetites (source: Global Market Insights).
Like the rest of the population, children found themselves stuck at home, bored and hungry during lockdowns in 2020. With little else available for entertainment, snacks were a welcome distraction. A 2021 study found that 60% of parents started giving their children more sugary or fatty snacks than they did before the pandemic (source: Netmums and UK government).
The habit stuck, but post-pandemic alarm over rising children’s obesity rates has shifted attention to organic and healthy kids’ snacks instead. Nearly two-thirds (64%) of UK parents often worry about how healthy their children’s snacks are (source: Netmums and UK government).
Another factor coming into play is that Gen Z and Gen Alpha are the first digitally native generations. Their lives are filled with screens and the sheer amount of advertising that comes with them. With brand affinity developing at an increasingly young age and big – often processed – snack brands dominating screen time, what are the future implications for kids’ snacking?
Driven by the ‘better for you, better for the planet’ trend and concern about children’s consumption of processed foods, functional ingredients – protein-rich foods or probiotics, for instance – are driving huge growth in the kids’ snacking market.
UK – Pernod Ricard is shaking up the wine industry with the launch of a new range of wines designed to be paired with takeaways and fast food.
The Greasy Fingers collection includes two varieties: Luscious Red 2022, a medium-bodied, fruit-forward blend of Shiraz and Grenache with cherry and strawberry flavours; and Buttery Chardonnay 2022, a peach, vanilla and cinnamon spiced wine with a buttery mouthfeel.
Launching in British supermarkets Sainsbury’s, Morrisons and Asda in November 2023, and available online on Amazon and Ocado later in the year, each bottle retails at £10 ($12.45, €11.45).
The affordable wine and suitability for fast food will appeal to those trying to save money during the cost of living crisis, but still treating themselves to the occasional takeaway.
According to Pernod Ricard, the number of wine drinkers under the age of 34 is dwindling. By launching Greasy Fingers, the winemaker joins other brands in Pouring Wit into Wine Branding and challenging the sector’s stuffiness with unconventional branding and personalities that align with younger drinkers.
UAE – Emirates has announced the launch of a limited-edition capsule collection of luggage, bags and accessories crafted using upcycled materials from retrofitted aircraft.
Emirates introduced the Retrofit Project in August 2022, seeking to upgrade interior cabins of 120 of its Airbus A380 and Boeing 777 aircraft. As part of this initiative, the airline is launching a one-off luggage collection serving the double purpose of offering a chance to own a piece of Emirates’ history, while avoiding material waste. ‘This initiative is a passion project, and we are proud of how it aligns with both our innovation and sustainability aims, and even better – that all proceeds will benefit worthy causes via the Emirates Airline Foundation,’ adds Ahmed Safa, Emirates’ divisional senior vice-president for engineering.
The collection, which will be on sale in 2024, includes suitcases, backpacks, handbags, cardholders, toiletry bags, belts and shoes. Every piece is hand-made by Emirates tailors in a dedicated workshop in Dubai, repurposing high-quality materials such aluminium headrests, leather from couches, seatbelts and even fur from the captain’s seat.
The initiative showcases how upcycling can be executed for luxury products, echoing notions of Circular Craftsmanship we explore in our Luxury Recrafted macrotrend.
Global – Elf Cosmetics has taken a leap into the metaverse with its inaugural Roblox experience Elf Up!, strategically addressing Gen Z’s entrepreneurial inclinations. Elf aims to equip young people with essential skills for the evolving economy, citing BazaarVoice research revealing that 62% of Gen Z identify as current or aspiring entrepreneurs, coupled with World Economic Forum insights highlighting the importance of creative, analytical thinking and coding in today’s workplace,
Steering away from conventional tycoon-style game play, Elf Up! introduces purposeful gamification, incorporating spaces linked to meaningful causes. The virtual landscape is a play on its core offerings and includes a Big Mood recording studio/karaoke bar, a Holy Hydration! marine life charity hub, a Halo Glow jewellery and art gallery, and a Power Grip climbing gym that doubles as a tech start-up. The brand also plans to add a pet adoption centre and expand language options. Elf’s continued interest in the metaverse, particularly within Roblox, reflects how younger audiences are entering brands’ consciousness, as revealed in The Zalpha Reckoning.
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The aim: to equip clients with the cultural insights, strategic implications and solutions that enable them to navigate change, unlock opportunity and thrive in a world of continuous uncertainty.
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