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Need to know 01 : 08 : 17

01.08.2017 Food : Fashion : Retail

In today’s daily digest: High-end West African dining, Minecraft as fiction, BuzzFeed’s intelligent stove and other top stories.

1. Ikoyi elevates West African cuisine

Ikoyi by Studio Ashby, London Ikoyi by Studio Ashby, London
Ikoyi by Studio Ashby, London Ikoyi by Studio Ashby, London
Ikoyi by Studio Ashby, London Ikoyi by Studio Ashby, London

London – The newly opened restaurant in St James’s Market serves high-end West African cuisine, with a particular focus on typical Nigerian ingredients. Featured on head chef Jeremy Chan’s and owner Iré Hassan-Odukale’s menu are dishes such as wild Nigerian tiger prawn in Banga bisque, a variation on traditional Banga soup.

‘We are creating our own experience and menu that is inspired by some West African ingredients rather than cooking or re-creating existing West African food,’ Chan told Amuse.

Although West African food in London is not new, Ikoyi’s carefully curated menu and contemporary interior by Studio Ashby repositions the cuisine as fine dining. For more on how brands are promoting change in the culinary landscape, buy our Food and Drink Futures Report 2017 here.

2. Proenza Schouler supports Planned Parenthood

A Film for Planned Parenthood of New York City by Proenza Schouler, New York. Film by Harley Weir

US – The womenswear and accessories brand has collaborated with artist Harley Weir on a new film for non-profit-making organisation Planned Parenthood. The four-minute short, A film for Planned Parenthood of New York City, features models Amber Valletta and Hanne Gaby Odiele, actress Jemima Kirke and musician Grimes, among others, discussing ideas such as gender, sex and shame.

‘Now more than ever we feel it is important to use our voice and platform to speak out in support of the things we care deeply about,’ explained Proenza Schouler designers Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez in an official press release.

In recent times, brands have been standing up for what they believe in regardless of whether their actions provoke controversy. For more on how Brandstanding has evolved over the past year, see our Backlash Brands macrotrend.

3. Minecraft: The Island imagines the game as a novel

UK – The fictional story, written by best-selling science fiction author Max Brooks, is the first officially sanctioned novel by Mojang, the company behind Minecraft. The novel, like the game, is written from a first-person perspective and follows the journey of a protagonist washed up on unknown shores who has to craft their way out of danger.

The nature of the game, in which players construct numerous virtual worlds out of cubes without clearly defined levels or objectives, allows for an endless variety of storylines and brand extension possibilities. Far from being a stand-alone story, the book will form part of a wider fictional series, demonstrating how content-creators are expanding across different media in order to offer more variety to the gaming experience. For more, see our Intelligent Gaming microtrend.

Minecraft: The Island by Mojang Minecraft: The Island by Mojang

4. BuzzFeed introduces app-controlled smart cooker

Tasty OneTop by Buzzfeed Tasty One Top by BuzzFeed
Tasty OneTop by Buzzfeed Tasty One Top by BuzzFeed
Tasty OneTop by Buzzfeed Tasty One Top by BuzzFeed

The Tasty One Top is a connected induction stove aimed at fans of BuzzFeed’s Tasty food channel, which attracts 2.3bn video views per month, according to Tubular Labs, offering an established, engaged audience for the new product. The stove connects to a dedicated Tasty app that contains 1,700 recipe videos from the channel, and will raise and lower its temperature automatically in synchronisation with the films. The stove can cook using a variety of different methods, from sous vide to slow cooking and pan frying, enabling consumers to create restaurant standard meals in the convenience of their own homes.

The Tasty One Top appeals directly to Millennial consumers’ desire to use technology to help them explore a broader range of food culture. Read our Convenience Culture microtrend for more.

5. Millennials show interest in shared car purchases

As explored in our Adulting Ads microtrend, Millennials are, contrary to popular belief, interested in car ownership. The YouGov Affluent Perspective 2017 report found that in the US, 40% of affluent consumers from this demographic plan to buy a car in the next year, and in line with the rise of the sharing economy, there is increasing interest in group purchasing among friends.

6. Thought-starter: What will the future of service entail?

On-demand culture continues to redefine consumers’ everyday expectations, forcing brands to rethink their service offering, writes strategic researcher Victoria Buchanan.

The old adage ‘service with a smile’ used to sum up what consumers expected from brands. But now, before customers arrive at the checkout, they are likely to have researched a brand on social media, read product reviews on platforms such as Amazon or TripAdvisor, researched stock availability and checked the price online against competitors. A smile is no longer enough.

Some 86% of business leaders agree that customer experience is vital for success, according to Harvard Business Review, because losing a loyal customer is expensive. Increasing customer retention rates by 5% can increase profits by 25–95% because acquiring a new customer is between five and 25 times more expensive than retaining an existing one, depending on what industry you’re in and which research you believe, according to a study by Bain & Co.

Download our free Future of Service Report for more.

Moby Mart by Wheelys, Shanghai Moby Mart by Wheelys, Shanghai