Within the food industry consumers seek simple options
Consumers increasingly seek simplicity and purity, to make easier and healthier choices when shopping for groceries. As a result we have seen the continued growth of the health and wellness snack market in 2011, reaching an estimated global worth of US$30 billion, and likely to grow to over US$34 billion by 2016 (Euromonitor International).Transparent messagesWith consumers spending little time studying packs in store, communications must be as simple as possible to get the message across. Moreover, consumers seek out brands that are transparent, making it clear what ingredients and healthiness is contained within. Transparency is best demonstrated in the growth of farmers’ markets. According to the USDA farmers’ markets grew by 17% in the last two years. Brands, whether local or not, can increase the level of transparency in regards to information about their products and back that information with how the brand and messaging are conveyed.In order to meet consumers’ desire for simplicity we saw a number of companies rebrand this year. Firefly discarded its image as an energy drink – rebranding to focus on its botanical content, rather than its functional properties. Zest, a range of all-natural pasta and pesto sauces, repackaged its products to emphasize its purity with humorous packs that declare that they have “nothing to hide”, proclaiming they are “free-from artificial anything”.A number of new products have been introduced this year that meet the healthful trend. In the UK, Symington introduced Naked Noodle, a range of instant noodle soups, disrupting a category widely viewed as an unhealthy fast-food choice. The ‘naked’ branding conjures a feeling of healthiness and is designed to attract younger women to the soup and snack fixture, whilst delivering the convenience and simplicity they so desire.Growth of free-from and speed-scratchIn an extension of consumers’ desire for natural and simple foods the free-from category is evolving from a niche proposition, aimed at those with intolerances, into the mainstream. In the UK the free-from market grew 14.5% in the last year, following the 16.5% recorded the year before (Kantar), while in the US sales of gluten-free goods reached an estimated US$2.6 billion in 2010, with a CAGR of 30% since 2006 (Packaged Facts). This growth is proof that consumers desire simple and healthy food choices – the more a product is ‘free-from’ non-essential ingredients, the better.With consumers paying more attention to ingredients but still demanding convenient solutions, the ‘TV dinner’ is changing as we have observed the growth of the ‘speed-scratch’ category. Scratch is a meal designed for busy Londoners, who have little time to shop for fresh ingredients, or the energy to prepare a meal from scratch. Scratch offers a fresh and healthy meal in a box – each pack containing raw ingredients that have already been chopped, washed and weighed by hand. This allows time-starved professionals to cook a healthy meal quickly and simply.Simply packagedThe simplicity trend extends beyond the ingredients and the branding, to include the materials the product is packaged it. Consumers expect healthy, natural and ‘good’ products to be matched by the package they are bought in.With sustainability high on the agenda and an holistic message all-important, this year we have seen a ‘green war’ break out between leading drinks brands Coca-Cola and Pepsi, with the former launching PlantBottle – a bottle made from 30% sugarcane, with the rest made from recycled plastic. While Pepsi is looking to develop the world’s first PET bottles made from 100% plant-based materials to be launched in 2012. In order not to impact food supplies, Pepsi are looking to source by-products from its food business for plastics, such as orange peels, potato peels and oat hulls. Using their own by-products presents Pepsi with a unique business model via a closed loop system, which greatly reduces the company’s reliance on suppliers, simplifying operations and ensuring they can deliver the materials required to fulfill demand.The market will continue to growWith more consumers seeking healthier and more ethical lifestyles we can expect the simplicity trend to continue apace, with a number of innovations in the natural and free-from categories in 2012. There are opportunities for brands to reformulate existing products and develop new brands that meet the With more consumers seeking healthier and more ethical lifestyles we can expect the simplicity trend to continue apaceneeds of the changing marketplace – emphasizing their goodness and delivering clarity to consumers who seek healthy options.With brands required to list their ingredients to help consumers understand the contents of the foods they purchase, manufacturers will continue to reformulate their foods to deliver healthier solutions while retaining the taste.
With sustainability no longer a trend, but a key facet of business is water the next oil?
Over the last few years sustainability has risen to become a global issue and a key driver of innovation. Many businesses have reshaped their offering to cut material used in packaging, shed weight to reduce distribution costs, and changed the materials they use – all in order to lower their carbon footprint. Carbon and energy saving will continue to be an important issue in the coming years as oil supplies run thin, but there is a bigger issue on the horizon – water.Water – a precious commodityIn developed countries, we have been brought up with access to fresh water, seeing it as a given, but over the last year water has become increasingly recognized as a precious commodity as education increases around scarcity and importance. There is no doubt that over the coming years water will be an important driver of innovation.Perhaps the most critical component is the habitual callous disregard of water supplies. Consider that, while an average person uses nine liters of water per day in the developing world, traditional lavatories in the developed world used ten or more liters per flush (Water Aid America).Water usage varies dramatically from low to high-income countries, and with emerging markets with vast populations including China, India and Brazil increasing their water consumption, water’s adjacency with sustainability will gather pace.Over the past five years freshwater resources per capita for the majority of G20 markets has declined sharply. France, UK, China, Canada, USA and India have all witnessed falls of between 3% and 7% of available freshwater resources (World Bank estimates).This is critical when you look at how much water we use in our daily lives, especially in our food and clothing - virtual water is the total amount of water used to produce the item from growing it to buying it. 1kg of beef actually requires nearly 16,000 liters (4,300 gallons) to produce, through feeding the cow to getting the beef onto your plate. A cup of tea takes 35 liters (9.2 gallons), including growing the tea plant, through manufacturing to then ending in your cup.As a result, the issue of water will effect all categories, and none more so than bottled water, which typically costs a thousand times more per liter than high-quality municipal tap water. With the world consuming 200 billion single-serve bottles of water every year, clearly it is going to become a highly challenging market environment.Water and washingAnother category which will be highly affected is laundry care. Over the last couple of years we have seen successful innovations by Persil and Tide / Ariel decreasing energy usage by bringing to market ‘cold water’ solutions. Earlier this year Persil updated the formula for their Small & Mighty product, giving high quality results with just 30 minute washing cycles, while also at a low temperature. This not only saves energy costs, but also significantly decreases the amount of water used. With the average family washing five times per week, and even with the most efficient washing machines, this will save over 10,000 liters of water a year, saving enough water for the whole family to drink for three years (Channel 4).Another detergent brand has focused on improving their environmental footprint by reducing water usage in their packaging. This year, Seventh Generation replaced their plastic bottle with cardboard. According to Fast Company, “one gallon of water is used for every 76 bottles made, resulting in a 51% reduction from plastic”.Appliance manufacturers have also been developing solutions that improve their efficiency. In Issue 54 we highlighted Bosch’s i-DOS system which automatically analyzes your laundry and calculates the perfect amount of liquid detergent to dispense from an integrated tank, taking into account the type of textile, the degree of soiling, the exact load weight, and the degree of water hardness. This eliminates under and over-dosing with the potential savings of up to 7,062 liters of water per year and several liters of liquid detergent, while simultaneously making washing easier.It is not only in laundry where we are going to see innovations to save water, but also in the clothing itself. Cotton is one of the most water and pesticide-intensive crops on the planet. It’s also the most commonly used and heavily subsidized fibers for making textiles. From other natural fibers like hemp, to synthetic fibers like polyester, the hunt for less resource-intensive solutions is heating up. For now, modified cotton plants require fewer resources. Forward-thinking companies like Adidas have a goal of using 100% ‘Better Cotton’ products by 2018. (Ethisphere Institute).Looking forwardLooking forward to the years ahead we can expect multiple innovations to help save water resources, including self-cleaning fabrics and increased grey water usage in the home. Water intensive products like the shower are set to be redesigned along with the soaps and shampoos we use alongside.There is no doubt that over the coming years water will be an important driver of innovationThe water shortage will become more obvious, and discussion will increase. Those already developing solutions will find more support and bigger markets. There are multiple lucrative opportunities to develop solutions that reduce water consumption while making our lives better. Looking forward to 2012 and beyond water reduction will become key to product development and marketing.
With soaring oil prices 2011 was the year the electric vehicle hit the mainstream
Oil prices have risen dramatically over the last decade, with unleaded petrol rising 160% in the UK and 212% in the US since 2001. This year alone the price of petrol increased 4% in the UK, whilst it rose 15% in the US (The AA). As a result consumers are seeking cheaper alternatives, and car manufacturers are developing sustainable solutions that future-proof the industry.Hybrid reaches a peakIn 2011, we saw green transportation reach new levels of awareness and solidification, with US sales of Toyota Prius surpassing three million in April, and the Prius has been the top-selling vehicle in Japan since 2009 (Japan Automobile Dealers Association). But they are no longer alone in offering a hybrid model, with all three major US manufacturers (Ford, GM and Chrysler) all producing electric-gas hybrids. Additionally, biofuels and electric vehicles (EV) have gained momentum in the consumer market this past year and show no signs of slowing down in 2012. Leading the way is the UK, Canada, and France with biofuel consumption growing by 3-12 times, and the EV market is expected to reach over $650 billion within the next decade (Good Garage Guide).This year we saw the launch of EV’s like GM’s Volt and the Nissan Leaf, with the latter eclipsing 15,000 sales worldwide in October. To put that number into context Toyota Prius sales reached 20,000 by the end of its second year in 1998, and has now become a globally popular vehicle, helping Toyota become the largest car maker in the world.A new infrastructureThe hurdle to EVs continuing their growth lies with a lack of infrastructure. Drivers of EVs currently suffer from ‘range anxiety’, worried about losing power between charging stations. But as a result we saw a number of new services introduced this year that help overcome this problem. PlugShare is an app that allows users to find charging stations in their vicinity, provided by fellow EV drivers. Businesses are also installing charging stations as an attraction and retention tool, with KFC opening an eco-friendly restaurant in Indianapolis and Burger King one in Waghausel, Germany. The KFC is sustainably designed with parking preferences for hybrid vehicles, while the Burger King hopes to attract ecoconscious consumers with the inclusion of parking for electric vehicles, including a solar-powered vehicle charging station.Major cities are also building new charging networks, Source London, launched in May, will create 1,300 publicly accessible points across the city by 2013 (growing from just 250 at the beginning of 2011), meaning there will be more charging points than petrol stations in London – giving Londoners the confidence that they can charge their vehicle easily and more conveniently with charge points on residential streets, in supermarkets, public car parks and at shopping and leisure centers.With governments, energy suppliers and businesses alike building new charging stations we can expect EVs to continue to grow in popularity in the years to come.The future of transportationWe are also witnessing other innovations that look to cut energy usage. Volvo and the European Commission are working together on an initiative known as Safe Road Trains for the Environment (SARTRE). The initiative is forging new ways to move products such as road trains (or truck platoons), that hope to decrease congestion and by so doing reduce energy usage to get from A to B. Initial testing took place in July and suggests the energy saving from this technology could be 20% on fuel costs. With 855 billion tonnes of goods transported in France, Germany, Italy and the UK by road alone in 2010 these truck platoons may become the norm.In 2012 we will witness the continued growth of EVs and the surrounding infrastructure. Additionally, we will certainly see a number of innovations from car manufacturers to cut energy usage and make driving easier. With fuel costs of distribution a major expense we will surely observe a number of innovations to heavy goods vehicles, mirroring the new technologies being incorporated in consumer vehicles.
The functional foods market is thriving
Health-conscious consumers are a key driving force behind innovation in the food and drink industry and functional foods continue to grow as a result.
The products that are making washing less of a chore
Tending to the laundry can often be time consuming and frustrating, particularly when dealing with a variety of fabrics or taking on the duty for the whole family. In addition the process is energy intensive. Laundry brands are working hard to deliver new innovations that makes a joyless chore easier and more efficient.Increased efficacyFollowing the market successes of ‘cold wash’ solutions by Persil and Tide / Ariel, earlier this year Persil updated the formula for their Small & Mighty product, giving high quality results with just 30 minute washing cycles, while also at a low temperature. This gives consumers precious time to help them get to the bottom of the laundry pile, while also having the added bonus of saving them energy costs. In addition, the shorter wash cycles will significantly decrease the environmental footprint of washing your clothes. With the average family washing five times per week, this will save over ten days of time each year and even with the most efficient washing machines over 10,000 liters of water a year, saving enough water for the whole family to drink for three years (Channel 4). Key innovations focus on reducing both the time and money spent on laundry.While laundry detergent brands have been developing new solutions to make washing easier and more efficient, so too have appliance manufacturers. Gorenje recently presented the WashEXPERT concept which incorporates a touch screen control panel, which allows consumers to just select the images that closest match the laundry, making the process more intuitive. The consumer also has the option of putting it onto a MYwash cycle, which stores all your favorite programs, tailored to your individual needs and habits.Making the process even easier, Bosch’s i-DOS system autonomously analyzes your laundry and calculates the perfect amount of liquid detergent to dispense from an integrated tank, taking into account the type of textile, the degree of soiling, the exact load weight, and the degree of water hardness. This eliminates under and over-dosing with the potential savings of up to 7,062 liters of water per year and several liters of liquid detergent, while simultaneously making washing easier for consumers who tend to find the multiple settings and functions on a machine too complicated.Increased clothing careLooking to be kinder on the environment and your clothes, Samsung’s EcoBubble machines use 70% less energy then standard machines – ‘letting bubbles do the rest’. The machine mixes air with water and detergent to generate bubbles that penetrate the clothes rapidly – up to 40 times faster than a high concentration liquid, while using only 30% the energy of a normal wash cycle. Furthermore, the bubbles mean that less mechanical action is required, and therefore resulting in less wear and tear on clothes.Meanwhile, Philips has developed an innovative iron that also helps to care for your clothes. It has no dials or settings as it can be used on any fabric, on the same setting and its cool base won’t burn material, even if you leave it sitting on the fabric for five minutes. This gives consumers reassurance that their garments will be safe from damage. This also means that they will save time, as there is no need to pre-sort clothes or to change temperature settings, with the ability to go from linen to silk to cotton to cashmere without waiting.Beyond washingIn the future, however, cleaning our clothes may be much simpler. In September, Adrian Mankovecký, student at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava, Slovakia, was awarded first place in the 2011 Electrolux Design Lab competition. His design concept is an instant laundry device that refreshes clothing and removes stains where and whenever you need to.Powered with a sugar crystal battery, the portable device has two components, which the consumer separates and places either side of the garment. Negative ions and steam refresh the clothing, removing stains.There are multiple lucrative opportunities to develop solutions in the clothing and clothing care industry that make our lives betterAnd it may get even simpler with the development of new textiles that self-clean that would make the whole laundry industry redundant. In a time-starved world, people have less time or want to clean, whilst paradoxically their increasingly active lives are resulting in dirtier clothing. Coupled with an increasing lack of resources there are multiple lucrative opportunities to develop solutions in the clothing and clothing care industry that make our lives better.
Planes, trains, boat and automobiles
Getting food from a farm gate to a consumer’s plate is a complex business, requiring an increasingly diverse product range. Even with a drive for more sustainable food sources in developed markets, food miles are still going to be on the rise globally with Asia’s emerging class responsible for the growth.
The rise of sustainable restaurants
Consumers are beginning to expect brands to be better for the planet, and in the foodservice industry brands have the opportunity to not only attract consumers by implementing sustainable initiatives but also directly improve their profitability by reducing reliance on the utilities grid.
Rethinking bathrooms for the eco-minded consumer
As sustainability becomes an increasing issue for consumers, companies are finding more ways and more places to introduce sustainable products and systems. The bathroom is home to much of a person’s resource usage from water to beauty and grooming products, and is therefore finding itself in the midst of a sustainable makeover.
Nike football kits - www.nike.com
This year we have seen the continued move towards sustainability. Increasingly, it has become core to both the product and packaging a company produces - we have finally moved beyond greenwashing, to solutions that are essentially eco.
Kitchens revolutionize as consumers desire sustainable living
Sustainability issues are increasingly impacting our lives, with a number of new solutions to help us live more eco-friendly lives. Most notably we are witnessing changes in the kitchen where a few small changes can make a significant impact, as it is one of the biggest energy-consuming living spaces of the home.
The Triflow tap allows consumers to pour three types of water – hot, cold, and filtered, ensuring that filtered water isn’t wasted for tasks like washing up, whilst also helping tempt consumers away from bottled water.
IKEA concepts for how the kitchen of 2040 may look
Our needs and desires are changing, as is the world we live in. As a result our homes will transform with us. At the centre is these changes our kitchens are set to revolutionize as they typify many of the trends that are most important to us.
Architecture that adapts and evolves
Our homes, offices and hospitals consume more energy than almost any industry or commercial enterprise – buildings make up over 40% of the total energy consumption in the United States.
The growth of a new market segment - Eco prestige
We are witnessing an increased desire from upmarket consumers for green products as it becomes increasingly ‘cool’ to be seen as green – being green brings cachet.
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We explore the rapidly changing world of laundry - how it is becoming more effortless and sustainable through innovations in appliances, chemistry, and textiles. In the future will our clothes need to be cleaned at all?
We are traveling further and faster than ever before, but our transportation systems are becoming increasingly congested and we are running out of fuel to supply all the new vehicles. How will we get from A to B in the future?
Video looking at our wastefulness of food and how new designs are helping us save the environment.
Did you know that the kitchen is one of the biggest users of energy in our lives?
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