Food & Drink

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

Need to Know
04 : 09 : 23

Baker & Cook and Brewerkz merge beer and bread for the planet, AI revolutionising digital payments in India and why recreational drug use is soaring in the US.

Baker & Cook and Brewerkz make bread and beer regenerative

Brewerkz and Baker & Cook collaboration, Singapore
Brewerkz and Baker & Cook collaboration, Singapore

Singapore – The Baker & Cook bakery has teamed up with Brewerkz brewery to launch NEWGrain+ Sourdough and Earthbrew Sourdough Pale Ale. This collaboration aims to combat food waste and climate change through a circular food production system. Baker & Cook uses spent grains from Brewerkz to bake its sourdough, while Brewerkz repurposes surplus bread from Baker & Cook for its craft beer.

By fusing baking and brewing expertise, Baker & Cook and Brewerkz not only create delectable products but also offer a scalable blueprint for combatting food waste and climate change.

‘This collaboration is a celebration of baking and culinary artistry, sustainability and the remarkable possibilities that emerge when like-minded artisans join forces,’ said Anders Boye, CEO and co-founder of Baker & Cook, in a press release.

United by values of empathy and sustainability, these companies serve as examples of how collaboration can decentralise industries and redistribute power for the greater good, as detailed in our Neo-collectivism report.

Strategic opportunity

Audit circularity within your business. Consider whether you could implement regenerative practices through brand collaborations, combining ethical responsibility with Neo-collectivist problem-solving for a greener future

AI could revolutionise digital payments in Indian rural areas

Junio, India Junio, India

India – Although digital payments via the nationwide Universal Payments Interface (UPI) have soared since its launch in 2016, with about 350m users conducting transactions, and a total of more than 10bn transactions in July 2023, rural adoption has been limited due to sparse internet access and lower literacy rates in India.

To bridge this gap, the Reserve Bank of India announced the introduction of ‘conversational’ payments in August 2023. Users will soon be able to make voice-activated mobile payments powered by AI-based speech recognition. The service will use open-source AI language tools developed by the Indian Institute of Technology Madras, and will at first be available in English and Hindi before expanding to include other languages.

Owing to sparse internet access outside urban areas, UPI users will make transactions offline using near field communication technology, ensuring digital payments are accessible even without reliable internet connectivity.

UPI’s innovations are poised to bridge the digital divide, fostering financial inclusion and opportunity thanks to new systems powered by artificial intelligence – one of the many scenarios we have explored in our AI Optimism market report.

Strategic opportunity

Retailers and e-tailers planning an expansion into the Indian market should consider how to reach populous rural areas with products and services that can be paid for using UPI’s offline capabilities and improve their internal processes to be inclusive of consumers who aren’t digitally savvy

Stat: Recreational drug use is soaring in the US

Houseplant by Seth Rogen rebranded by MA-MA and Pràctica, US Houseplant by Seth Rogen rebranded by MA-MA and Pràctica, US

US – American adults are fond of recreational drugs – new data reveals that in 2022, drug use hit an all-time high in the US.

The milestone was revealed in the annual Monitoring the Future study from the University of Michigan and the National Institutes of Health, which examined substance use among American adults since 1976. The research further notes that 44% of young adults aged 19–30 and 28% of adults aged 35–50 have reportedly used marijuana in the past 12 months, a record high for each age group. Besides the number of users, the frequency of drug use is also on the rise – more than 11% of young adults said they used cannabis on at least 20 of the previous 30 days, double the figure from a decade ago.

The report suggests that several factors are driving this surge, including more relaxed laws, changing public opinion and more consumers self-medicating for mental health concerns.

At LS:N Global, we are tracking how, despite a lack of regulatory controls, the much-hyped cannabis-derived food and beverage market continues to grow and diversify, creating business opportunities for businesses to tap into.

Strategic opportunity

Young people are drinking less, but drug use is hitting an all-time high. Businesses in the hospitality, health and wellness sectors should prepare for this shift and anticipate how best to cater for these evolving consumer preferences

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