Food & Drink

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

Need to Know
05 : 01 : 22

Paris turns the Olympics ceremony into a placemaking exercise, an AI tool demystifies wine and why the fake meat novelty is wearing off.

Paris ditches the stadium for an accessible Olympic ceremony

Paris 2024
Paris 2024
Paris 2024

Paris – The French capital plans to open the 2024 Olympic ceremony with a 6km parade of athletes in boats along the River Seine. As part of the ceremony, ambitious stunts such as BMX stunt riders leaping over bridges are set to take place. The plans come as the host city hopes to create the most ‘audacious and accessible’ opening ceremony in history.

While the event will still be ticketed, the aim is that much more of the city will be able to feel involved than if it had been hosted in a stadium. Tony Estanguet, president of the Paris 2024 Organising Committee, says: It will be a unique combination of a sport and cultural moment, with the entire city turned into a vast Olympic stadium.

By approaching the event in this way, the Olympic organisers are using this historic event to simultaneously celebrate the culture of the city. As we explore in Equilibrium Cities, urban planners are being urged to re-engage citizens in city centres by offering enticing cultural events that are available to all.

Strategic Opportunity

With many city centres having lost relevance throughout the great remote of the pandemic, consider how you can invite artists or cultural venues to take up space in tired urban areas

These virtual bags raise questions about metaverse counterfeits

Metabirkins by Mason Rothschild Metabirkins by Mason Rothschild
Metabirkins by Mason Rothschild Metabirkins by Mason Rothschild

US – Artist Mason Rothschild is raising important questions about the luxury non-fungible tokens (NFT) market, with a collection of 100 faux fur virtual Birkin bags that emulate Hermès’ iconic products. The colourful faux fur handbags were initially available on NFT marketplace OpenSea at a starting price of 0.1ETH (£339, $450, 398), but were met with a cease and desist letter from Hermès.

In a statement denouncing the project, Hermès said: ‘These NFTs infringe upon the intellectual property and trademark rights of Hermès and are an example of fake Hermès products in the metaverse.Still, Rothschild's project is prompting necessary debate, as the market for virtual luxury goods continues to unfurl as a profitable revenue stream while simultaneously presenting a grey area when it comes to trademarks and ownership – especially when such products are positioned as works of art or creative response.

While NFT projects and metaverse spaces can democratise brand access, Rothschild’s collection raises questions about product copyright, and the emergence of digital hyper-exclusivity driven by Crypto-Cliques.

Strategic Opportunity

Before jumping on the NFT bandwagon, luxury brands must consider the risks and challenges of creating virtual premium products. Alternatively, there is capacity to promote digital assets as part of client loyalty schemes

Tastry’s AI platform uncorks wine preferences

US – The sensory sciences company is using artificial intelligence (AI) to provide retailers and wineries with personalised wine recommendations for their customers. Through a tool called Tastry Uncorked, users can take a short quiz to determine various wine preferences, such as those best paired with food or bought as bundles.

While the wine market is heavily oversaturated and often misunderstood by everyday consumers, such innovations empower retailers to market wines to shoppers in a more experimental way. In retail, where Tastry began, a staggering 80% of shoppers intent on a wine purchase don't know what to buy when they reach the wine aisle,’ explains Katerina Axelsson, CEO and founder of Tastry. ‘Not only are shoppers overwhelmed with choice, most lack the knowledge to actually make a good one.

Elsewhere, we’ve previously explored how AI Advisors can guide consumers in their personal diets. Now, these innovations are informing the wider food and beverage sectors.

Tastry AI, US

Strategic opportunity

Food and drink brands should also think about how this data can inform long-term customer journeys, allowing retailers to more effectively offer follow-up products and personalised communications

Stat: Mimicry meat is losing its appeal in America

Impossible, US Impossible, US

According to research by SPINS and IFF, US consumers are losing interest in plant-based meat substitutes as the novelty of meat mimicking wears off. Data from SPINS reveals that in the four weeks to 3 October 2021, sales of plant-based ‘meat’ dropped by 1.8% compared to the previous year.

The company notes that a combination of too much choice and supply chain issues has had an impact on the demand for plant-based proteins. Meanwhile, findings from IFF reveal that more than 70% of consumers are not interested in mimicking meat. With these findings in mind, food brands must reframe their strategies and introduce new flavours, textures and communications that look beyond conventional approaches to replacing meat.

As we explore in our Next-generation Protein microtrend, there is a lucrative opportunity for food technology innovation to elevate plant-based products to make them more appealing.

Strategic Opportunity

Food brands and retailers hoping to move into alternative protein products should take note of consumers’ changing mindsets, exploring ways to create plant-based foods that hold appeal in their own right

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