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Published: 19 Feb 2018

Bamford Hosts Wellness Week

Bamford launches Wellness Week 2018 at The Haybarn

Capitalising on The Business of Wellbeing, luxury British beauty and lifestyle brand Bamford is launching a Wellness Week featuring one-day workshops designed to help visitors better establish balance in their busy lives.

Hosted at the Bamford Haybarn Spa at Daylesford Farm in the Cotswolds, the week (March 19-25 2018) will focus on sleep, gut health and ‘unplugging’ – three core sectors of the wellbeing economy.

The Unplug workshop is designed to quieten the mind, and a talk by anxiety expert and hypnotherapist Chloe Brotheridge will arm visitors with techniques to aid calm in everyday life. Gut Health will explore how bacteria in the gut affects our immune system, ageing and hormonal health. 

The Sleep Healthy workshop was inspired by the growing number of consumers who don’t get the recommended seven hours of rest a night. More than a third of American adults are not getting enough sleep on a regular basis (CDC, 2016). The expertise of yoga instructors, psychologists, therapists and nutritionists will feature throughout the day, which will include crystal bowl sound healing and one-on-one reiki sessions.

Sleep (and the lack of it) is a growing concern for consumers. Americans will spend an estimated $52bn on sleep aids by 2020 (BCC Research, 2016). For more on beauty sleep opportunities, see Beauty 360 and Brands Boost Beauty Sleep.

Bamford’s initiative cleverly propels it into the lucrative wellbeing space – establishing the brand as a pillar of education and self-improvement. For more on this, see Monetising Mindfulness  and Neom Organics' Wellbeing Schools

Published: 16 Feb 2018

App for Alleviating Jet Lag


US start-up Uplift has launched an app that helps travellers alleviate jet lag naturally, according to the scientists behind the system.

Based on acupressure and neuroscience research, the app offers video tutorials showing users how to activate key points involved in setting the body's circadian rhythms. By performing a 10-minute series of exercises upon arrival, frequent travellers can hack their internal clock to remedy jet lag's draining effects.

An algorithm provides a customised wellness itinerary based on the user's points of origin and arrival, as well as their departure and arrival times. The app identifies two pressure points to press on either side of the body, with most spots located between the elbow and wrist or the knee and ankle. A timer ensures individuals perform the exercises for the correct duration.

Uplift's team of scientists and engineers trialled the service with over 600 frequent travellers, with 92% reporting that engaging acupressure points reduced or alleviated jet lag. An introductory video supplies a crash course on how to harness these pressure points, reducing human error.

The app requires an annual subscription of $9.99 to unlock unlimited access to personalised acupressure itineraries.

For more on innovative jet-lag remedies, see Photon Shower to Cure Jet Lag, Monarch's Mood Box In-Flight Menu and Agile Airlines Reshape Travel.

Published: 16 Feb 2018

Furniture Made from Noise-Cancelling Acoustic Fabric


Swedish design studio Glimakra’s new Limbus furniture collection explores the use of noise-cancelling acoustic fabric for added functionality in home and office environments.

The label’s Barn design, revealed at Stockholm Design Week 2018, is inspired by the architecture of Finland’s northern Lapland region. Repeating horizontal panels of sound-dampening material mimic timber logs and extend upwards and over to form a wall and ceiling, giving the piece the appearance of a rudimentary hut. The Barn is designed to be used in both a corporate or public setting as an intimate meeting and working area within a larger space.

The brand also exhibited its Greenframe plant holder and room divider. The refined rectangular frame, crafted from timber, features three raised circular platforms to hold potted plants. The top horizontal beam is embedded with lights to accentuate the foliage and imitate the look of a window, offering a soothing biophilic element to the indoors (for more on biophilic design, see Natural Relations in Materialising Modern Work). The frame is the exact length and height as Glimakra’s acoustic partitions, enabling users to interchange plant storage and acoustic panels for a unique and flexible interior landscape.

Glimakra was awarded the gold prize in both Furniture and Office Furniture at this year’s Ambiente consumer goods fair. Stay tuned for our upcoming coverage of the event, publishing on February 22.

For more on the changing perception of silence as a marker of luxury, read Basement Bourgeoisie. For further inspirational examples of noise-cancelling product reimagined in hand-crafted designs and biodegradable fibre, read Blueprint for a Better Workplace.

Published: 13 Feb 2018

Shiseido’s Personalised Skincare System

Shiseido's Optune

Shiseido has developed a customised skincare system called Optune exclusively for women in Japan. Launching this Spring, the at-home skin analyser and product dispenser offers personalised skincare that takes weather conditions and hormonal changes into account, and can also be altered in real time.

The Optune App analyses images taken with a smartphone camera to assess the user’s skin condition, while also factoring in temperature and humidity levels, as well as the user’s mood and menstrual cycle. The data is then collected in Optune Zero – a small machine that determines and dispenses the optimum combination of serum and moisturiser. The data is then stored, allowing consumers to track how the climate affects their skin over time.

Skin analysis is a fast-developing category in beauty tech. US-based dermatological brand Neutrogena’s Skin 360, which debuted at CES 2018, is a good example. The device enables users to examine their skin’s condition immediately. However, Shiseido’s offering pushes tech capabilities by accounting for external factors.

Shiseido has also adopted a new skincare model within the app based on hormones and menstruation cycles to predict skincare needs – much like US natural beauty start-up Amareta. This is a key growth area as consumers actively search for innovative ways to combat skin issues such as dryness or acne, which change throughout the different stages of women’s cycles.

For more on customised skincare and analysis tech, see Smart Skin: Adapting Intelligently in Future Beauty: Perfecting Bespoke, Beauty Analytics and Smart Skin: Nuanced Analytics in E-Beauty: Digital Device Boom

Published: 12 Feb 2018

Service for Millennials: Saks' New Beauty Department, NYC

Saks Fifth Avenue

American luxury department store group Saks Fifth Avenue is to open a new leading-edge beauty floor targeting millennials at its New York flagship. Scheduled to open in May, the new beauty offer taps an increasingly important demographic for department stores (see Next-Level Department Store Strategies).

The floor will focus on service-driven experiences and Instagram-worthy product presentations. It will feature 15 spa rooms, Italian fashion brand Gucci’s first beauty concession, and a new-age apothecary.

  • Wellness Services: Tapping into millennials’ skincare obsession (Pinterest searches for beauty in 2017 saw a 75% increase year-on-year – Pinterest, 2017), the beauty floor will house spa rooms with complimentary brand services and paid wellness treatments such as CoolSculpting (a medical treatment used to destroy fat cells by freezing). An 850 sq ft event space will host masterclasses, seminars and brand activations. An in-store on-demand beauty concierge will be available via technology-enabled desk bells sending push notifications to nearby staff.
  • Concessions: London facial massage brand FaceGym will open its first US workout space, offering an unconventional approach to skin rejuvenation. Additionally, Gucci will debut its first beauty boutique selling Gucci fragrances alongside custom-designed flower bouquets by US flower brand EB Florals.
  • Atypical Setting: Saks is breaking with traditional department store set-ups by moving its beauty offer from the ground floor to the second floor. Measuring 30,578 sq ft (40% larger than its previous setting), the space will have new escalators assuring swift access. Windows have been uncovered to create an open, airy feel, while low-height fixtures allow uninterrupted sightlines. It was designed by US architect firm Gensler.

For more on service-led retailing, see Brand Spaces 2018/2019 and Beauty Flagships.

Published: 12 Feb 2018

Alcohol Made from Tofu Whey

Tofu Whey Beer

Researchers at the University of Singapore have developed the world's first alcoholic beverage made from tofu whey, a commonly wasted by-product from the tofu production process.

The drink, called sachi, is made by pasteurising whey liquid and adding sugar, acid and yeast before fermenting it for two weeks. The resulting alcoholic beverage contains an abundance of antioxidants called isoflavones and high levels of calcium, and claims to provide health benefits such as boosting bone and heart health.

Said to have a slightly sweet, floral flavour, sachi has an ABV of 8% and a shelf life of four months.

Professor Liu Shao-Quan and student Chua Jian-Yong were inspired to create the drink following a boom in tofu production in Asia as the vegetarian population on the continent grows. Liu said: "Alcoholic fermentation can serve as an alternative method to convert tofu whey into food products that can be consumed directly. Our unique fermentation technique also serves as a zero-waste solution to the serious issue of tofu whey disposal."

This is the latest example of how the food and beverage industry is tackling food waste in increasingly inventive ways. See New Food Covetables, Feeding Tomorrow's Consumers and Fluid Flavours, part of our latest Industry Trend The Future Of Flavour for more on this.

See also Alcohol's Healthy Future for how alcohol brands are reaching out to a growing breed of health-conscious consumers.

Published: 8 Feb 2018

Truth About Britain: Consumer Traits Revealed

Some 62% of Brits are proud to be from the UK, compared with 58% in 2010

Ad agency McCann Worldgroup has released a revealing study called Truth About Britain – a survey on the mood of the UK that splits Brits into three cohorts.

  • The Castle Keep: Security and stability, legacy and heritage, and moral fairness and justice are most important to Castle Keep consumers. Some 62% of Brits are proud to be from the UK, compared with 58% in 2010. However, three in five feel like the UK is being eroded. What's more, 57% say their home is their sanctuary because the world feels like a scarier place – a figure that rises to 64% among 18- to 24-year-olds. 
    Castle Keep brands are expected to be companies that consumers can rely on – reassuring names that are regarded a 'classic'. At a time when three-fifths of Brits prefer a brand that feels local to one that feels international, it is critical for Castle Keep brands to reinforce the fabric of Britain and behave as a guardian of national destiny. To do this, they should highlight tradition, uphold core British values and unite the nation.  
  • The Rocky Boat: This consumer group values a spirit of risk and innovation, ambition and achievement, and transformation towards a better tomorrow. In the UK, two-thirds of 16- to 30-year-olds run their own business or would like to in the future, while twice as many 18- to 24-year-olds choose 'ambitiousness' as a defining British value than the average. 
    Rocky Boat brands should stand up for what they believe in, provide consumers with dreams, and have a strong identity and clear role in the world. They need to find ways to connect with consumers in today's age of entrepreneurialism, and inspire action in an era of uncertainty and frustration. It's time to celebrate risk-taking.  
  • The Field of Green: Members of this cohort value freedom, community, harmony and sportsmanship. Some 42% of Brits think freedom best defines British values, while two in three believe that in an uncertain world, it's more important to enjoy yourself today. 
    Field of Green brands need to bring society together, understand consumers' frustrations and have a voice on social issues. To cater to this consumer group, they should strive to create spaces for exploration and experimentation, foster community cohesion, and enhance the good-natured aspects of British culture. Empathy plays a critical role here (read Empathetic Brand Engagement for more). 

For more insights into the attitudes and behaviours of British consumers, see Engaging Non-Urban Consumers and UK Consumers Grow Impatient.

Published: 7 Feb 2018

Toilets Get Humanitarian and Environmental Makeover

L-R: Leo Schlumberger, Nendo

Following devastating earthquakes in Japan over recent years, Japanese studio Nendo has designed a toilet that can be built and used by people living in disaster zones. The kit – called minimLET – consists of seven items: a carrying bag, aluminium pipes, a toilet seat, tissues, a nylon cloth tent, garbage bags and a coagulant to neutralise waste. 

Each component is multipurpose. The aluminium pipes can be used as supporting poles for the tent and as legs for the toilet seat, the nylon cloth tent doubles up as a poncho, and the kit’s bag can carry up to 16 litres of water.

MinimLET’s design even appropriates commonly found items. For example, an umbrella can be transformed into structural support for the tent, while full cans and bottles can be used as legs to raise the toilet seat.

Dutch designer Leo Schlumberger also explored the design and use of toilets for his graduation project at Design Academy Eindhoven, exhibited as part of Dutch Design Week 2017. He created a dry toilet for indoor use that kept European expectations of comfort in mind.

The toilet vessel is made from polyester, brass and steel, and it boasts a welcoming, tactile touch that reframes the household utility as a design feature. Being a dry toilet, Schlumberger’s design encourages users to be more mindful of their water usage and offers an alternative for off-grid living.

For more on how design is being used to address social and environmental conflict, read Creativity for Crisis: Humanitarian Innovation.

Published: 5 Feb 2018

Solid Coffee Bars Combat Waste

Coffee Pixels

Latvian coffee-to-go start-up Coffee Pixels has developed a range of solid edible coffee bars that offer an alternative caffeine fix.

The bars are made using the entire coffee cherry, generating 80% less waste than is produced during the traditional picking and brewing process. See Trans-Industry Ingredients, part of our Future of Flavour Industry Trend, for more on product innovations that utilise coffee waste.

Coffee Pixels' resulting product is high in fibre and its caffeine content absorbs more slowly into the body, causing a slower release of energy over four hours, avoiding the spike and crash often associated with conventional coffee consumption.

Thanks to high levels of antioxidant-rich polyphenols and flavanols, other health benefits include improved brain performance, better digestion and a healthier gut microbiome. See New Architecture of Taste for more on microbiome-boosting product innovation.

The bars are available in two strengths that correspond to different coffee preferences: Cascara (for expresso fans) and Milk, for those who prefer a milder taste.

For further recent innovations in the coffee space, see Coffee-Beer Hybrid, Product Fusion: Wine-Infused Coffee and Starbucks Launches Coffee Waste Latte.

See also Smart Sustenance for further innovations in brain-boosting mood food.

Published: 30 Jan 2018

GroBox One: Next-Gen Indoor Greenhouse

GroBox One

San Francisco start-up GroBox has designed GroBox One – a fully automated indoor greenhouse that uses hydroponics to help anyone grow their own produce at home.

The GroBox One requires no soil, controls its watering schedule and air flow, and is more sustainable than other gardening methods. It also features LED lights that mimic natural sunlight, which makes it possible to grow plants even when the weather wouldn't normally allow it.

In addition, it automatically monitors and manages temperature, humidity, nutrients and pH balance in order to maintain the ideal conditions for growing healthy plants, without the use of pesticides.

Users only need to add water and fertiliser once a week, and adjust the greenhouse's settings according to the plants they choose to grow. No prior knowledge or experience of gardening is required.

The GroBox One's Kickstarter campaign has already surpassed its funding goal of $10,000, raising more than $75,000 at the time of writing. The greenhouse can be pre-ordered for $999 and will start shipping in October 2018.

The hydroponic equipment industry has grown at an annual rate of 4.4% over the past five years (IbisWorld, 2017). More people are aware of the health benefits of organic produce and are willing to cultivate their own vegetables, while marijuana legalisation across several US states has fuelled rising interest in hydroponic growing methods.

For more on indoor gardening and the products streamlining plant care, see Nature Embracers. See also Women Embrace Weed.

Published: 29 Jan 2018

Organic Pharmacy Launches Lunar Cleanse

Organic Pharmacy's Lunar Cleanse

Tapping into the holistic beauty attitudes driving young millennial consumer spend, British natural beauty chemist brand Organic Pharmacy’s new Lunar Cleanse two-step treatment detoxifies the body in alignment with the lunar cycle.

The cleanse involves a preliminary Vitamin and Mineral Scan, where an in-house homeopath uses a BioEnergetic device to assess the client’s nutrient levels, organ function and hormone balances. A Green Coffee Body Sculpting treatment follows, combining massage techniques with lymphatic drainage – a therapy that reduces swelling and purifies the body. According to the brand, the moon’s gravitational pull affects 50-65% of water in the human body. It therefore indicates that for best results, clients should participate in the cleanse during a full moon, although the treatment is offered all year round.

Organic Pharmacy is cleverly tapping into holistic and new-age beauty trends (for more, see Make It Magic: New-Age Beauty and Modern Mysticism), in which lunar cycles are playing a growing part. American indie beauty brand Species by the Thousands also taps into lunar cycles with its range of bath salts designed for the different phases of the moon. For more on holistic and cosmic approaches to beauty, see Product Projections 2018: Cosmetics, Beauty Launches Inspired by Outer Space, and Instagangs: Bewitched Beauty.

Cyclical routines such as this are growing in influence in the beauty market. US natural beauty start-up Amareta’s skincare line is based on women’s hormones and menstrual cycles, which can cause disruption to the skin. Natural and bodily rhythms will play an increasing role in beauty offerings in the coming year.  

Published: 29 Jan 2018

Walkoo: App Supports Urbanites

According to Walkoo, urban dwellers "are living the fast life instead of the good life"

French start-up Walkoo is developing an app to encourage urbanites to slow down and explore their city on foot.

Users create a profile detailing their interests, with the app then providing personalised suggestions based on their tastes. The app, which is expected to launch in March 2018, provides city maps featuring off-the-beaten-track destinations – from street art corners and secret green rooftops to organic grocery stores and restaurants.

Most importantly, Walkoo users are expected to walk to these places. Using its WalkooMeter, the app measures the distance covered during these walks and rewards users with points that can be converted into gifts from Walkoo's partners, such as a free coffee or treat from a café.

Walkoo's idea is based on the philosophy of the Slow Movement, which advocates a less-is-more approach to life, focusing on the quality of life rather than the speed at which it's lived (see also Essentialist Communities). Walkoo's goal is to help people adjust their lifestyle and take the time to enjoy their city's unique character.

According to Walkoo, urban dwellers "are living the fast life instead of the good life", with research suggesting that they're more prone to depression compared to those living in rural environments (Centre for Urban Design and Mental Health, 2016). The company explains that "the city contains all the antidotes to the poisons of hectic life – all you need is to find them".

For more on how technology can help improve our emotional wellbeing, see Nurturing Mental Health and The Purpose Collective.

Published: 23 Jan 2018

Oh Yeahh! Launches Happiness-Inducing Lip Balms

Oh Yeahh!

Boldly claiming to increase feelings of happiness in the wearer, a new range of lip balms from Italian personal care start-up Oh Yeahh! enhances levels of serotonin – a mood-improving hormone released by the brain.

Oh Yeahh! has released five lip balm varieties – Silver, Melon, Red, Pink and Violet, with each corresponding to a translucent shade and reflecting a particular personality. For example, Melon comes in a peach colour and represents creative and vivacious women.  

The lip balms aim to trigger positive emotions by using a patented Happiness Boosting Complex, which includes a mixture of griffonia (an African plant), kiwi extract and cacao. According to Oh Yeahh!, this combination of ingredients is rich in tryptophan – a precursor to the production of serotonin that boasts better sleep, fewer headaches and improved mood. The brand’s research also claims that the concentration of serotonin in the saliva increases by 280% after 30 minutes of wearing the lip balm.

Oh Yeaah! is not the first brand to use active ingredients that engage with nerve pathways on a neurological level. Aromatherapy is another key growth area, as consumers look to change their mood and mental state with scent. British aromatherapy brand Ila Apothecary’s Feminine Happy Oil blends essential oils to balance feminine energy. 

For more on scent’s power, see Unlocking Fragrance’s Potential for Creativity & Health in Work/Life Revolution: Agile Beauty. For more on mood-altering products, see Future Beauty: Accelerating Anti-Ageing, Mood-Boosting Cocktails, Lush App: Mood, Scent and Connection and Thync

Published: 19 Jan 2018

Cooper Hewitt Showcases Innovative Accessible Design

LR: Wicab, DJCAD

The Access+Ability exhibition at New York’s Cooper Hewitt museum showcases innovative, life-enhancing products that help people with cognitive, sensory and physical disabilities. The show reflects the move towards inclusive design, and features items highlighted in our report Design for Disability: Transformative Tech.

Self-expression is key. Hands of X – a collaboration between DJCAD at the University of Dundee and the Institute of Making at University College London – lets users customise prosthetic wooden hands with unique woods and leather accents. Last summer, London eyewear brand Cubitts hosted a pop-up kiosk for the service in its stores.

Other pieces address entertainment. Portuguese designer Miguel Neiva’s Uno playing cards for Mattel denote colours with symbols to assist people who are colour blind (see also Samsung App Aids TV Viewing for Colour Blind).

Wearable tech features prominently, such as Maptic by London-based designer Emilio Farrington-Arnas. The tactile piece of jewellery uses voice technology, GPS and an iPhone app to send vibrations to the wearer, offering a discreet wayfinding system for people who are blind. 

Meanwhile, BrainPort – an oral electronic vision aid from US company Wicab – consists of a camera attached to a pair of sunglasses, a hand-held controller, and an electrode array that sits on the user’s tongue.

The camera translates digital information into patterns of electrical stimulation – a sensation that resembles the bubbles in fizzy drinks. Interpreting these patterns allows users to perceive the shape, size, location and motion of objects – essentially enabling them to see with their tongues.

The exhibition runs until September 3 2018.

Published: 19 Jan 2018

Edible Banana Peel

D&T Farms

Japanese agricultural research company D&T Farm has developed a new banana variety that has a completely edible skin.

The fruit, called the mongee banana, is produced using the 'freeze-thaw' method, whereby bananas are cultivated in temperatures mimicking conditions of the ice age.

To achieve this, the research farmers first freeze the banana saplings to -60C, then thaw and replant. The change in temperature encourages the banana plants to grow at a rapid rate over the course of four months, resulting in a sweeter product that is 100% edible. The process is also completely void of any chemical or pesticide interference or genetic modification.

The skin of the mongee banana is high in vitamin B6, magnesium and tryptophan – a strain of serotonin that is said to aid sleep.

This process not only eliminates waste but also allows for growth of the crop in cooler climates, potentially reducing food shortages in the future, according to D&T.

For more on how food producers are providing solutions for future food sustainability, see Feeding Tomorrow's Consumers and Reframing Rare.

For more recent examples of sustainable food production techniques, see Making Food from Electricity and Extreme Ingredients.

For earlier iterations of next-gen natural produce, see Strange Fruit.