Cost of Living Crisis

How organisations and brands are flexing their business operations to cater for customers facing a global cost of living crisis.

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A palm oil-free soap bar by Haeckels and Pangaia, Crate & Barrel enter the home renovation market and why shops have closed en masse in Britain since 2018.

Haeckels, Pangaia and C16 Biosciences introduce a palm oil-free soap bar

The Rewild Body Block by Haeckels, Pangaia and C16 Biosciences, UK and US
The Rewild Body Block by Haeckels, Pangaia and C16 Biosciences, UK and US
The Rewild Body Block by Haeckels, Pangaia and C16 Biosciences, UK and US

UK – In a joint effort, Haeckels, Pangaia and C16 Biosciences have developed a soap, swapping palm oil for a ground-breaking blend formulated with torula oil.

The Rewild Body Block is a collaboratively crafted innovative product, designed as a better-for-the-planet alternative to palm oil-based soap. To make the palmless torula oil soap possible, British future-forward beauty brand Haeckels has teamed up with materials science company Pangaia and New York-based climate tech start-up C16 Biosciences.

The bio-designed proprietary palm oil substitute harnesses the power of naturally occurring microorganisms and fermentation. Haeckels then manufactures the soap in its UK lab in Margate, mixing the blend with seaweed extract from local shores and natural ingredients such as aloe vera, mandarin peel and vetiver root. Given real palm has a destructive impact on the planet, the palmless soap bar is ironically infused with natural oils that mimic the smell of rainforests burning down.

In our Neo-collectivism macrotrend, we explored how brands such as Haeckels and Pangaia are shunning individualism in favour of alliances that are favouring empathy and community.

Strategic opportunity

As consumers collectively direct their spending towards businesses that participate in positive societal progress, consider how your brand can promote civic collectivism by partnering with cross-sector ventures and even competitors

Crate & Barrel unveil home renovation line to simplify DIY projects

US – American furniture and home décor company Crate & Barrel is stepping into the home renovation category for the first time with the aim of making home renovation dreams more accessible. According to Houzz, 55% of home-owners are planning renovations in 2023, and the brand’s new collection responds to growing demand for transforming living spaces without massive budgets, contractor conflicts and other obstacles that usually come with such projects.

The extensive line includes more than 400 items, from bathroom and kitchen essentials to light fixtures, textiles, furniture and hardware. Focused on functionality and ease, the collection allows seamless integration with no demolition or contractor work required. With prices ranging from £6.99 ($8.99, €8.14) to £3,886 ($4,999, €4,527), the range caters for various budgets. Crate & Barrel’s signature designs, such as the mid-century modern Tate collection and its modern contemporary Batten collection, also include different aesthetics, making it easier for customers to reflect their personal styles in their homes.

Crate & Barrel’s ‘no-demo reno’ collection taps into the trend of people wanting to give their homes a face-lift post-pandemic, as revealed in our Premium Homeware Market report.

Crate & Barrel, US

Strategic opportunity

Crate & Barrel’s new line showcases how a brand can adapt itself to changing consumer demands. The home renovation trend is here to stay, and creating a line that offers ease and cost-efficient solutions will retain existing customers and attract new ones from across income brackets

Stat: Taxes and pandemic lockdowns have forced 23 shops a week to close in Britain

Nourish Hub by RCKa, UK Nourish Hub by RCKa, UK

UK – New analysis from The British Retail Consortium (BRC) released in July 2023 has revealed the staggering number of shops and restaurants that have had to close since 2018. Taxes and pandemic lockdowns have induced about 6,000 permanent store closures in total – 23 shops a week on average.

‘Crippling business rates and the impact of Covid lockdowns are a key part of decisions to close stores and think twice about new openings,’ said Helen Dickinson, CEO of the BRC. ‘The North and Midlands continue to see the highest amount of empty storefronts. London’s vacancy rate remains the lowest, improving over the last quarter thanks to the opening of new flagship stores, more office workers and tourists visiting the capital.’

In our Cost of Living Crisis series, we cover the direct impacts of high inflation on consumers and businesses. The current loss of small and medium-sized (SME) enterprises will affect the future of the high street and cities massively.

Strategic opportunity

Developers and regional governments should think ahead and invest in SMEs now to avoid watching areas turn into flagships-only high streets lacking authenticity and local know-how

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