News 06.07.2021

Need to Know

Algae-based outdoor gear hints at camping futures, Proudly’s skincare caters to melanin-rich babies and US consumers keen to continue at-home dining.

Alternative outdoor gear made from algae

The Algear project by Randa Kherba

London – Graduate designer Randa Kherba is exploring eco-conscious alternatives to synthetically produced outdoor gear.

The Algear project, which the designer created as part of her MA Material Futures course, posits the use of algae as a bio-positive material suitable for varying climates. While synthetics such as polyurethane and Gore-tex currently dominate the market for protective outdoor products, Algear instead utilises a naturally occurring blue-green algae, cyanobacteria. Its photosynthetic abilities and resilient composition, as well as fast growth rate, mean that products created with the material are sustainable.

Algear proposes a future where outdoor gear that protects us from the elements can be created and produced with elements that are abundant to us or with what is left from the past, comments Rhanda Kherba. ‘This project contributes to the importance of the leave-no-trace code, through growing a material that naturally biodegrades and nourishes the land in the process, allowing for the conservation of an ecological future through our transient adventures outdoors.

This material innovation suggests a future where single-use outdoor and camping equipment is less harmful to the environment.

Nendo’s petit markets enable on-demand farms

Petit Market by Nendo, Japan Petit Market by Nendo, Japan
Petit Market by Nendo, Japan Petit Market by Nendo, Japan

Japan – Design studio Nendo is empowering local farmers with its adaptable roadside vegetable stands that shorten food miles and cut food waste.

The Petit Market stands allow farmers to make optimal produce sales and strengthen local economies. Employing a trust-based payment system, the unmanned stands include honesty boxes for customers to purchase fresh produce – and even include a QR code payment option. The vegetables are also likely to cost less than they do through other channels.

The easy-to-assemble roadside stands come as flat-packed kits that can be built by one person, without requiring any tools. Shelving modules can also be adapted according to different needs, accommodating items such as flowers or long vegetables. A sloping roof and adaptable feet ensure stability and protection from the elements.

This adjustable outlet for selling provides an offline example of how On-demand Farms are innovating to maximise product sales and reach consumers in new ways.

Babycare formulated for melanin-rich skin

US – Proudly is responding to a gap in the market for babycare that caters to diverse and melanin-rich skin tones.

Recognising the need to formulate products beyond a one-size-fits-all approach, the brand offers products suitable for the specific needs of young, black and brown skin. The brainchild of actress, activist and author Gabrielle Union and her husband Dwyane Wade, Proudly has been co-created with the help of Pamela Cholankeril, a former director at Estée Lauder Companies, and dermatologist Naana Boakye, who helped to formulate products for the brand.

It is imperative that skincare brands take into account the structural and functional differences in melanated skin prior to formulating skin care products' says Boakye. 'If not, the ingredients in the products can cause skin irritation, hyperpigmentation, or possibly exacerbate an existing condition.’

While we’ve previously identified the ways that beauty brands are Reclaiming Black Beauty, there is growing opportunity to combine these learnings with the needs of different life stages.

Proudly, US

Stat: Home cooking set to outlast US lockdowns

Misfits Market by Garnish Studios Misfits Market by Garnish Studios

Across the US, consumers have been cooking at home more than they did before the pandemic, with many set to continue this behaviour going forward.

According to research by the Food Industry Association (FMI), almost half of US citizens are cooking now more than before the pandemic, with 44% liking or loving doing so. Looking ahead, 41% of participants in a survey indicate that they intend to prepare more meals at home going forward than they did before the onset of the pandemic.

When reflecting on at-home eating, 34% of consumers said they consider dining with their family as extremely important. This figure represents an increase of six percentage points higher than it was a year ago.

Despite the reopening of many hospitality venues, these findings suggest ongoing demand for Home Eatertainment.

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