Food & Drink

From the latest openings to new ingredients, a deep-dive into the landscape of food and drink

Need to Know
14 : 11 : 19

A new brand of vodka turns captured carbon into alcohol, Deciem pushes back against Black Friday and sustainable goods capture shoppers’ spend.

This carbon-negative vodka converts air into alcohol

Air Co, US Air Co, US
Air Co, US Air Co, US
Air Co, US Air Co, US

New York – A new brand of premium vodka is made by turning captured carbon into alcohol.

Instead of grains and yeast, Air Co’s vodka is made from captured CO2. Using a process ‘inspired by photosynthesis in nature’, the start-up’s patented system uses electricity to turn carbon from the air into pure ethanol. While a typical bottle of vodka produces up to 13 pounds of greenhouse gases, each bottle of Air Co’s vodka removes a pound of CO2, making it carbon-negative.

‘Our technology uses carbon dioxide and water along with electricity to create alcohol,’ says Stafford Sheehan, an electrochemist and co-founder of Air Co, which makes covetable products that capture excess carbon from the air. Its vodka, which retails for £50 ($65, €58) a bottle, is being launched in select restaurants and retailers, including Michelin-star restaurant Eleven Madison Park and online platform Drizly.

With its carbon-negative vodka, Air Co is propelling the trend for Climate-positive Foods forward.

Curated unites outdoor hobbyists with expert advisors

Curated Curated
Curated Curated

California – Curated is a new retail platform tailored to the growing number of hobbyists and outdoor adventurers.

The site connects everyday consumers embarking on a new hobby such as golf, cycling or snowboarding, with experts and enthusiasts in those fields. It aims to plug the knowledge gap and expedite the process of finding the best-suited products, kit and equipment for each customer.

Users outline the hobby and products they might be looking at, with an expert on hand to discuss potential choices and help them choose, before completing their transaction via the Curated site. ‘We’re trying to replicate the experience of talking to your friend who happens to be super-enthusiastic about that hobby and really enjoys talking about it,’ says Eduardo Vivas, Curated co-founder. ‘We’re giving our experts a way to monetise their passions and talk about the thing they love doing most in life.’

With false or paid reviews skewing perceptions of products, the resulting trust deficit between shoppers and brands means many are turning to community-led platforms like Curated, where purchasing tips and style advice are openly shared. For more, explore our Peer Platforms microtrend.

Deciem is encouraging consumers to shop slowly

Global – The skincare company is rebelling against hyper-consumerism and not participating in Black Friday this year.

For the full month of November, Deciem is offering a discount across its entire brand portfolio – except for Black Friday, when it will close its website and stores. By applying a discount to all products for a significantly longer period, the brand hopes to encourage the public to ‘shop slowly for their specific concerns and needs’ and ultimately make more considered purchases.

‘Hyper-consumerism poses one of the biggest threats to the planet and flash sales can often lead to rushed decisions, driven by the fear of a sell-out,’ the brand explains. ‘We strongly believe that skincare decisions should be based on education rather than impulse, and we want to give our audience the time for research, reflection and consideration.’

For more on shifts in the retail sector, explore our dedicated vertical.

NIOD by Deciem NIOD by Deciem

Stat: Sales grow of sustainability-marketed goods

Research from New York University’s Center for Sustainable Business (CSB) reveals shoppers aren’t just talking about wanting to shop more sustainably – they are increasingly purchasing goods that are marketed as so.

It found 50% of sales growth among consumer packaged goods (CPG) between 2013 and 2018 came from sustainability-marketed products, despite the fact such goods account for just under 17% of the market.

The CSB analysed purchasing data for more than 71,000 products in 36 different categories of consumer packaged goods, with items falling under criteria such as being non-GMO, plant-based or certified by a third party like the Rainforest Alliance or Fairtrade considered ‘sustainability-marketed’.

According to Tensie Whelan, CSB director, packaged goods brands need to respond to the growing expectations of shoppers. ‘Business leaders need to understand that consumer tastes are indeed changing and that if they don’t begin to change to address that shift, their company will lose market share.’

Recently seen in practice, a number of bottled drinks companies are swapping plastic for Bio-bottles in response to consumers’ growing knowledge about plastic waste and the expectation for brands to lead change.

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