Need to Know
26 : 03 : 18

26.03.2018 Technology : Food : Beauty

Nissan pioneers a new use for old batteries, consumers go cold on Amazon's in-home deliveries, Wild Earth creates fungi-based pet food.

1. Nissan demonstrates use for repurposed batteries

The Reborn Light by Nissan

Japan – Automaker Nissan and their affiliate 4R Energy Corporation have unveiled Reborn Light, a sustainable street light utilising reused lithium-ion batteries taken from their range of electric vehicles (EVs).

Once the storage capacity of lithium-ion batteries falls below a certain level, they’re no longer able to serve their purpose in EVs. Nissan's initiative illustrates how these can be repurposed to create new forms of infrastructure, independent from the energy grid. Solar panels mounted at the top of the LED-powered lights absorb energy during the day to charge the battery for use after dark.

The Reborn Light is being targeted at communities who don't have access to mains electricity or have been decimated by natural disaster. 'Seventeen percent of the world’s population live without electricity,' the brand said in a statement. 'Reused EV battery and lighting have the potential to change the lives of people in Japan and the world.' The automaker plans to install the light in Namie, Japan, a town devastated by the 2011 Tohoku tsunami.

Mobility brands like Nissan are exploring how battery technology can be used to create new energy networks that are more efficient and flexible than their forebears.

2. Wild Earth manufactures sustainable pet food

Wild Earth, US Wild Earth, US
Wild Earth, US Wild Earth, US
Wild Earth, US Wild Earth, US

US – Biotech company Wild Earth has developed a range of high-protein, meat-free pet food products made from human-grade Koji, an environmentally friendly and renewably sourced fungi. The brand has used the ingredient to create a dry kibble for dogs, with a wet, canned food also in development.

Co-founder Ryan Bethencourt, an investor in cellular agriculture firm Finless Foods, has also indicated that the brand is working on a cat food product made from cultured mouse cells.

Researchers at the University of California in Los Angeles and the University of Sydney, Australia, have found that the consumption of meat by dogs and cats in the US contributes to around 25-30% of the country’s environmental impact from animal production.

As consumers become increasingly concerned over the environmental impact of their own eating habits, this desire for food that better aligns with their ethical, environmental and societal concerns is being translated into the products they purchase for their pets.

3. A dye that minimises hair damage using graphene

US – Researchers at Northwestern University, Illinois, have pioneered a method of colouring hair that uses the carbon-based molecule graphene.

The team’s findings, published in the scientific journal Chem, show that unlike chemical hair dyes, which alter the composition of the hair and can cause allergic reactions in the user, this new non-toxic method coats the surface of the hair leaving it in its original state once it has washed out.

The graphene dye lasts for more than 30 washes, which is similar to conventional chemical dyes deemed to be ‘permanent’, and while it is currently limited to shades of black and brown, the researchers are looking to develop new hair colours in the future.

This is just one of a host of new scientific discoveries and advances in technology that are helping to revolutionise the haircare market.

Graphene-based hair dye Graphene-based hair dye

4. The PRISM app visualises the future of therapy

PRISM app, US PRISM app, US
PRISM app, US PRISM app, US

US – Created by Dr Rosenberg and Dr Fi-Frazier, specialists in young adult oncology at Seattle’s Children’s Hospital, the PRISM program (Promoting Resilience in Stress Management) is an emotional wellbeing app designed to help young patients build resilience and manage stress in the face of serious conditions.

The app helps cronically ill children develop skills in four areas: stress management and mindfulness, goal setting and problem solving, positive reappraisals, and finding meaning in adversity. PRISM allows patients to act as their own facilitator, prompting them to reflect on their experiences and engage in honest expressions of emotion with an openness that might not be forthcoming in conversation with a practitioner.

Brands are increasingly exploring the potential for app-based therapies to help consumers tackle mental health issues without the intervention of a medical professional.

5. Consumers wary of using Amazon's in-home delivery

The number of consumers willing to use Amazon’s in-home delivery service Amazon Key sits at just 31%, according to a recent survey conducted by InsuranceQuotes.

Available exclusively for Prime Members, the service grants delivery drivers access to your home with a one-time-use code. Homeowners can then monitor the courier's activities using a camera that comes as part of the Amazon Key kit. The same survey revealed that 23.4% of Amazon Prime members have had a delivery package stolen in the past, providing plenty of justification for adopting Amazon's new service. However, it seems this pain point isn't yet sufficient for most members to let third parties enter their homes without them being present.

As we explore in our recent Subconscious Commerce macro trend, brands are using IoT devices to gain greater access to consumers' private lives. Brands need to consider how this intimacy shift can make or break customer relationships. For more information on how to adapt to this trend, get in touch.

6. Thought-starter: Are incubators the future of food and drink?

The food and drink sector is drawing inspiration from Silicon Valley, with new incubators opening that foster collaboration and creativity for new product launches.

In Silicon Valley, the rise of co-working spaces and the culture they embody has been well documented. According to recently released data from GCUC’s co-working forecast, the number of co-working spaces is expected to grow from almost 14,500 in 2017 to more than 30,000 by 2022.

While these co-working spaces and their fostering of community and innovation have typically been reserved for Silicon Valley start-ups and the area’s technology-focused entrepreneurs, we are starting to see them move into other sectors, including food and drink.

One such example is Pilotworks, which offers co-working space, tailored mentorship programmes and workshops for all kinds of food industry businesses. What sets Pilotworks apart from traditional co-working setups is not only access to kitchen space, but the mentorship process.

For more, read our microtrend.

Crucible, London Crucible, London