Food & Drink

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

News 31.05.2023

Need to Know

Saint Elmo’s gamifies long Covid symptoms, energy bars from upcycled coffee waste and why nearly all British and US kids consider themselves gamers.

Saint Elmo’s gamifies long Covid symptoms

Saint Elmo’s and Long Covid Europe, Germany

Europe – Creative agency Saint Elmo’s and the Long Covid Europe patient network have teamed up to launch an awareness campaign on the long-term debilitating effects of Covid through the world’s most popular single-player games, including Minecraft.

Using game modifications, Long Covid mode imposes effects on the game characters that resemble real long Covid symptoms, including exhaustion, reduced concentration, dizzy spells, blackouts and shortness of breath. This creates a new level of difficulty for players – an exciting proposition – while also recreating the sensation of living with long Covid.

According to the World Health Organization, one in 10 Covid infections leads to long-term health problems, which means millions of people are now living with long Covid, a number that continues to grow with very few diagnostic and therapeutic solutions available. The vivid stimulation of a life with long Covid showcases the potential of gaming platforms as sites for activism, especially as the line between people’s real lives and online worlds blur – a phenomenon we explored in our Affirmative Avatars market report.

Strategic opportunity

As the number of gamers grows – specifically among younger audiences – explore the marketing and communication opportunities that exist on these platforms, specifically through targeted partnerships and collaborations

Energy bars made with upcycled coffee fruit tackle food waste

I am Grounded, Australia I am Grounded, Australia
I am Grounded, Australia I am Grounded, Australia

Australia – Energy bars upcycling a part of the coffee bean that is usually wasted hit the shelves in May in supermarket chain Woolworths.

Only about 60% of the coffee plant is used during coffee bean extraction, while the fruit is typically discarded as food waste (source: Green Queen). By starting I Am Grounded (IAG), co-founder Vanessa Murillo set out to create a business with a twofold mission: harness the nutritional benefits of the coffee fruit and reduce the waste associated with coffee farming. IAG salvages the raw material, upcycling coffee fruit pulp to create tasty snacks. The coffee cherries are a nutritious food source, packed with fibre, vitamin B2, magnesium and antioxidants. IAG upcycles about 50g of coffee fruit in every snack bar, pairing it with whole food ingredients such as nuts and dates to create a functional plant-based snack that provides a sustained energy release. In addition, this closed-loop approach to coffee production offers new revenue streams to coffee-producing communities.

IAG is a food waste innovator, repurposing overlooked ingredients and creating resilient food supply chains from by-products of large crops.

Strategic opportunity

Fast turnaround food trends create new supply challenges on a global scale, but also new opportunities. Businesses in the food and drink sector should explore overlooked ingredients to help reduce their environmental footprint

Space food could include protein shakes made from astronaut breath

US – As NASA prepares for longer exploratory trips to the Moon, and possibly Mars, the space agency has tasked innovators with the Deep Space Food Challenge to find ways to develop sustainable foods for future missions. All entrants had to show systems that could operate for three years and feed a crew of four on a prospective space quest.

Brooklyn-based Air Company is one of the finalists thanks to its invention that turns air, water, electricity and yeast into food. ‘It’s making food out of air,’ Stafford Sheehan, co-founder and chief technology officer of Air Company, told MIT Technology Review. The system uses the CO2 produced by astronauts and combines it with water and electricity to produce alcohol that can then be fed to yeast. The result is a protein similar to vegan meat substitute seitan, which astronauts can turn into a shake.

This kind of alternative protein hints at a wealth of opportunities for the food and drink industry. In Extraterrestrial Innovations Market, we previously looked at how brands already recognise the potential for space as a testbed for innovation, including new kinds of food production with limited resources.

Scenes From the Last Day on Planet Earth by Chris Maggio, US

Strategic opportunity

Players in the food and drink industry should consider how consumer goods of the future will face disrupted food supply chains due to unpredictable climate conditions. How can your R&D department rethink your current menu in a possible world where innovation will be essential?

Stat: Nearly all British and American children consider themselves gamers

Photography by Artem Podrez Photography by Artem Podrez

UK, US – Digital marketing company Super Awesome has released its Retail, Gaming & the Next Generation report. The research draws on interviews with 1,600 consumers from Gen Alpha and Gen Z, as well as 1,200 parents, and includes analysis by global consulting agency Bain & Co. The study found that an astounding 90% of children and teenagers in the UK and the US identify as gamers.

Retail, Gaming & the Next Generation emphasises how important it is for brands and businesses to understand gaming spaces. Young consumers spend about 12.5 hours per week in gaming worlds, more time than they spend on any other form of media. Furthermore, 51% of young consumers say seeing a brand in-game would motivate them to buy something from it in real life or visit a brand’s store.

Despite sometimes being treated as a niche hobby in the broader media landscape, Gen Z and Gen Alpha are re-affirming what we have observed in our Gamer Wellness Market analysis: gaming is an essential to many consumers. Brands that understand how to present themselves in gaming spaces can establish powerful connections with consumers.

Strategic opportunity

Consider collaborating with developers to create immersive in-game content for your brand. Think of intuitive ways to communicate your brand’s story and share its objectives in gaming worlds

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