Food & Drink

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

Need to Know
14 : 11 : 22

FirstFinds, a new Gen Z commerce platform, Waterdrop introduces dissolvable electrolyte cubes and hyper-fatigued consumers refocus on self-care.

Hearst launches social commerce platform FirstFinds

FirstFinds by Hearst, UK
FirstFinds by Hearst, UK
FirstFinds by Hearst, UK

US – Global publisher Hearst has launched a new commerce platform, FirstFinds, billed as a frictionless solution for shopping on social media. The platform aims to fill a gap for Gen Z shoppers who often discover products on social media but find it difficult to track them down.

The FirstFinds marketplace allows users to vote for and against products, as well as purchase items using affiliated links. Products with the highest scores are placed as top-trending and are prominently displayed on the website, creating a more crowd-directed shopping experience.

In a bid to create a social-led shopping experience, FirstFinds’ mission is to create a community commerce site and not to compete with existing social media platforms.

The biggest challenge they face is gathering the audience to create a community who regularly use the site. For Gen Z, it’s easier to use sites with established communities, despite difficulties tracking items from social media sites. For more on Gen Z retail solutions read our Teen Fashion Market.

Strategic opportunity

The Gen Z generation seek experiences driven by community. Adapting solutions that enhance belonging and community must be a brand’s priority

Waterdrop introduces dissolvable electrolyte hydration cubes

Microlytes by Waterdrop, Austria Microlytes by Waterdrop, Austria
Microlytes by Waterdrop, Austria Microlytes by Waterdrop, Austria

Austria – Beverage tech brand Waterdrop has launched an innovative hydration product involving solid cubes that turn water into a sugar- and caffeine-free electrolyte replenisher.

The ‘microdrink’ hydration-boosting cubes are formulated to support endurance and recovery, but mainly to inspire people to drink more water. The formulation is enriched with a functional blend of five hydration-boosting electrolytes, nine vitamins and natural fruit flavourings using pure extracts and high-quality ingredients without flavour enhancers or preservatives.

Besides the health-supporting benefits, Waterdop’s ‘small cubes with big impact’ are an environmentally friendly alternative to bottled or canned sports and hydration drinks. Waterdrop estimates that the product uses 98% less plastic and emits 98% less CO2 for transport compared to a conventional bottled energy drink.

At LS:N Global, we have been monitoring the Alternative Energy Drinks market, namely the growing focus on healthier properties, updated branding and natural ingredients. Waterdrop’s dissolvable drink indicates that we can expect to see new innovative formats in the sector, enhancing the ease of use and requiring less packaging.

Strategic opportunity

Take inspiration from how Waterdrop has brought waterless technology ­– increasingly common in cosmetics and household products – and applied it to a new category

The Times expands Luxx magazine with new online vertical

UK – News Corp-owned British broadsheet The Times has launched a luxury vertical as an online extension to Luxx, its luxury supplement magazine. Kate Reardon will be the editor-in-chief of the new digital platform, which will run parallel to the newspaper’s additional online verticals.

The platform will feature a range of luxury goods, including watches, food and fashion. It will also comprise a panel of The Times journalists to provide expertise on all thing’s luxury, including food editor Tony Turnbull and columnist Hugo Rifkind.

According to Reardon, there has been a demand for content relating to luxury goods from both readers and advertisers. While they understand that the online vertical will not be for everyone, we ‘see from all the data that the appetite for luxury is still very much there’, said Reardon.

This comes at a time when the luxury market has seen steady growth, despite global economic instability. The Financial Times has also recently rebranded its popular How To Spend It luxury supplement: A magazine rebranding fit for Uneasy Affluence.

The Loewe Show Has Been Cancelled by Loewe and Danielle Steel, Spain

Strategic opportunity

Even in light of the cost of living crisis, there is still high demand for luxury goods – but with a more subtle, not showy, appeal. Speak to a contemporary luxury consumer who is uneasy with conspicuous affluence

Stat: Hyper-fatigued consumers are refocusing on self-care

The Feel Good Marketplace by Woo, UK The Feel Good Marketplace by Woo, UK

Global – Mintel’s Global Consumer Trends report has pinned down its view on the main attitudinal shifts for 2023. A radical re-focus on personal growth and a renewed dedication to nurturing mental wellness are some of the key takeaways.

Adopting a Me Mentality, consumers intend to place their wellbeing centre stage and seek support from brands to do so. In the US, 44% of Generation Z agree that finding ways to celebrate themselves is more important to them now than it was pre-pandemic.

This comes as more consumers are subject to hyper-fatigue and seek new ways to assuage stress by addressing their mental health needs. Over half (55%) of UK consumers spend time outside to tackle stress, and 25% of those who took on a creative hobby last year did so as a form of creative expression.

‘In recent years, consumers have had a community mindset, putting their own needs on the back burner to prioritise public health and safety. People are now eager to re-focus on themselves,’ explains Simon Moriarty, director of Mintel Trends EMEA.

From adopting a synchronised approach to self-care to embracing the selfishness of taking much needed ‘me time’, Mintel’s findings suggest that Recuperative Living will remain a prevalent consumer mindset in 2023.

Strategic opportunity

With interest in introspection and personal growth continuing, consumers are more aware of their weak spots and those areas where they can make personal progress. How can your business act as a growth ally?

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