1. Aloe app reminds users to practise self-care
US – Created by Femsplain founder Amber Discko, Aloe sends simple notifications to users, reminding them to complete tasks that are often overlooked in times of stress. Inspired by her work as a creative strategist for Hillary Clinton during the US election campaign, when she frequently forgot to brush her teeth and drink enough water, Aloe enables users to track their personal care habits and identify areas for improvement.
Although open to all, the highly navigable, emoji-centric app is primarily aimed at people suffering from mental health issues, including digitally native Gen Viz consumers. According to The American College Health Association, 84% of US students feel unable to cope with life.
2. Netflix collaborates on TV-themed cannabis collection
US – The media company has worked with a California-based cannabis dispensary to launch 10 new strains of medical marijuana. Themed around Netflix shows such as Orange is the New Black, Grace and Frankie, and Arrested Development, the collaboration offers a tongue-in-cheek acknowledgement that in mainstream culture the brand is already intrinsically linked with cannabis consumption, through the idea of Netflix and chill.
The move follows the recent legalisation of marijuana for recreational use in California, bringing the total number of US states to have passed such legislation to seven, with a further 23 having legalised it for medical purposes. Sold in glass jars with a bold coloured label and a wooden lid, the collection’s branding resembles that of a premium cooking spice, marking a move away from the substance’s illicit underground roots. For more on this shift towards the mainstream, see our Cannabusiness Market report.
3. New Leela Kids app curates podcasts for children
California – Created by Leela Labs, the app acts as an aggregator for child-appropriate podcasts aimed at 3–15-year-olds. Designed as a visually led, child-friendly interface, the podcasts are categorised by age and subject matter, making it easier for children to find a topic that they enjoy.
The platform uses a combination of artificial intelligence (AI) and human curation to organise the roughly 5,000 episodes derived from 80 podcasts that Leela Kids now hosts. With children spending more and more time looking at screens, Leela Labs founder and CEO Sandeep Jain, who is a father himself, created Leela Kids to offer youngsters a form of visual detox.
Recent figures from Edison Research show that 42m Americans over the age of 12 listen to podcasts weekly and, as Leela Kids demonstrates, these listening habits are now filtering down to younger generations. For more on the rise of online listening, see our Radio Renaissance microtrend.
4. Arket moves to transparent production line
Global – In a bid to promote transparency, the H&M Group’s recently launched clothing label, Arket, lists all of the names and locations of its factories and suppliers on its company website. The move marks a continuation of the shift towards greater brand transparency first seen with the launch of Everlane in 2010.
But as Dorothée Baumann-Pauly, research director for New York University’s Stern Center for Business and Human Rights, points out, providing a name does not in itself ensure either fair pay or safe working conditions. To assist consumers in making an informed ethical decision, Baumann-Pauly calls on Arket to provide access to independent third-party data, such as that provided by the Fair Labor Association, to verify conditions in the factories. For more on moves in the retail industry towards Extreme Brandsparency, buy our Retail Futures Report 2017.
5. China’s Generation Z willing to pay for fast delivery
Generation Z is fuelling mobile spending in China, with 70% of the country’s 18–22-year-olds now interested in buying items directly through social media, according to Accenture. This shift towards m-commerce means members of Generation Z are also much more likely to succumb to impulse-buying than older Millennials. In Shanghai, Wheelys is tapping into this desire by allowing customers to use a smartphone app to book their mobile grocery store, The Moby Mart, for their neighbourhood.
For more on the increasing popularity of geo-aided delivery as a means of speeding up the last mile, download our free Service Summit Report here.
6. Thought-starter: Is there a baby food revolution?
As consumers become more aware of what they eat and seek out better quality ingredients in their food, junior journalist Rhiannon McGregor looks at how this behaviour is filtering down into parents’ food choices.
Fuelled by social media, new parents are becoming increasingly aware of the processes their babies’ food undergoes before reaching the supermarket shelves. ‘Most of the baby food aisle’s jars and pouches are developed to be shelf-stable on an unrefrigerated store display for up to 18 months, so the food inside could be older than the child eating it,’ says Beth Bentley, a former Wieden and Kennedy advertising executive, who founded her Young Gums Instagram feed and blog to share her own journey into motherhood.
A host of new baby food brands, such as Nourish Baby, are emerging that embrace fresh, nutritionally dense ingredients such as eggs, spinach and even liver. Introducing these kinds of bold flavours at a young age encourages kids to become more adventurous eaters in later life, which can help in the fight against childhood obesity.
To find out more about changes in the baby food sector, read our Healthy Baby Bites microtrend.