News 09.01.2019

Need to Know

L’Oréal’s wearable pH sensor helps users improve skin health, simplifying transport for expectant mothers and Mexico’s disruptive new bank.

CES 2019: L’Oréal’s wearable patch measures skin pH

My Skin Track pH by La Roche-Posay, L'Oréal, US
My Skin Track pH by La Roche-Posay, L'Oréal, US
My Skin Track pH by La Roche-Posay, L'Oréal, US

Las Vegas – The beauty conglomerate has launched a new wearable that uses microfluidics technology to measure the pH level of the user’s skin.

My Skin Track pH comprises a patch sensor that is worn on the arm for up to 15 minutes and a supporting app that uses an algorithm to compute skin pH and rate of perspiration. From this data, the app will suggest skincare products to help alleviate complaints such as dryness and eczema. The patch was revealed earlier this week at CES 2019, where L’Oréal received the Innovation Award for the Wearable Technology Products category.

According to dermatologists, pH is an important indicator of skin health, with healthy skin falling in the slightly acidic range between 4.5 and 5.5. But inflammation and environmental factors can cause a pH imbalance, exacerbating many common skin concerns.

L’Oréal’s Technology Incubator has already developed a number of high-tech wearables, including My UV Patch. As explored in our At-home Analysis microtrend, brands in the beauty sector are creating diagnostic tools that inform consumers about their specific skincare needs.

CES 2019: Meat-free possibilities advance at Impossible Foods

Impossible Foods empanadas, US Impossible Foods empanadas, US
Impossible Foods, US Impossible Foods, US

Las Vegas – The brand has launched the Impossible Burger 2.0, a new iteration of its established meat-free patty, marking the first time that a food company has showcased a creation at CES.

The burger's new recipe has been created around three key pillars: taste, nutrition and versatility. It contains as much bio-available iron and protein as a comparable serving of ground beef, with significantly less fat and no cholesterol. Pat Brown, founder and CEO, explained that the Impossible Burger 2.0 is not merely the result of tweaking the old recipe but 'marks a paradigm shift'. The burger is now being manufactured from soy protein rather than wheat protein, making it gluten-free.

Available to chefs across the US as a ground beef alternative, the product is not constrained to burger patties but can be made into various dishes ranging from meatballs and empanadas to dumplings and even ‘steak’ tartare. It will be made directly available to consumers later in 2019. In adherence to Impossible Food’s commitment to the environment, Brown also pointed out that the new recipe has been designed with a more sustainable supply chain.

A new generation of meat-mimicking products from companies such as Impossible Foods and Novameat are heralding a more versatile future for the food industry, demonstrating that plant-based alternatives can truly rival their meat counterparts.

A free ride-hailing programme for expectant mothers

Columbus, Ohio – The US city plans to use on-demand ride-hailing technology to address the region’s high rate of infant mortality.

The pilot programme will run from June to November 2019 within the eight Columbus neighbourhoods with the highest infant mortality rates. The city will connect 500 pregnant women who are enrolled with Medicaid with free rides to medical appointments, grocery stores and pharmacies.

At present, Medicaid patients can schedule rides on paratransit shuttles to travel to hospital appointments, but users have reported that these services are unreliable. The new programme will be easier for patients to coordinate, with access to a ride-hailing app, text service and call centre. The pre-natal trip assistance pilot will be funded with part of Columbus’s £39m ($50m, €44m) Smart City Challenge grant.

Although Uber has previously worked with healthcare businesses to offer efficient rides for patients, city authorities are recognising their responsibility to provide such services in order to meet the unmet and often overlooked needs of pregnant women.

Mom On by Yoplait and 72andSunny, US

Fondeadora is a bank for Mexico’s unbanked

Fondeadora by Futura, Mexico
Fondeadora by Futura, Mexico
Fondeadora by Futura, Mexico

Mexico – Design studio Futura has created a rebellious brand identity for the country’s first digital challenger bank.

Fondeadora is an ethical banking system that aims to democratise the hierarchical power structures that exist in the finance industry. It takes its name from the Mexican crowdfunding platform that inspired its founders to create the bank. They state that 30% of the creators using Fondeadora to raise money for their projects did not have a personal bank account.

‘Imagine how broken the financial system is so that someone who makes a successful crowdfunding campaign does not have a bank account,’ says co-founder Norman Müller. Taking the founder’s disruptive attitude as inspiration, Futura branded Fondeadora with black and pink graphics that are in stark contrast to the corporate identity of traditional banks.

The move towards a cashless society and the rise of digital-only banks is inspiring a new visual language among financial brands. For more, read our Fluid Capital design direction.

Stat: Most of the world’s plastic has never been recycled

Announced on 18 December 2018, The Royal Statistical Society’s International Statistic of the Year is taken from a recent report on single-use plastic published by the UN. Estimates reveal that just over 90% of the 6.3bn metric tonnes of plastic produced in the past 60 years has either been incinerated (12%) or deposited in landfills, the ocean or elsewhere in the natural environment (79%).

‘It’s very concerning that such a large proportion of plastic waste has never been recycled,’ says Sir David Spiegelhalter, president of the RSS. ‘This statistic helps to show the scale of the challenge we all face.’

It was recently speculated that, if monetised, this amount of plastic waste could be worth up to £5.6 trillion ($7.2 trillion, €6.3 trillion). Turning the material into a form of currency was an idea championed by Plastic Bank, which encourages communities to collect plastic that has washed ashore in exchange for digital credits.

Thought-starter: Why it’s time to fix bread-making

Leo Campbell, the co-founder of Oxford-based Modern Baker, explains how the company is differentiating its healthy carb baking and how consumers can navigate confusing nutritional information.

Modern Baker is a bakery, positioned as a life sciences business. ‘Our position is that grains form the basis of 20% of the world’s carbohydrates, but if you just take the UK alone practically 90% of the baked goods that we eat in this country are not good for us. Of course, we need food to fill us up, but food’s job is to nourish us.’

The bread at Modern Bakery is made only with flour, water and salt. ‘You need nothing more than that to make fabulous bread commercially,’ says Campbell. ‘The reason that we have 20–25 ingredients in most commercial bread is because everybody wants to make it in 34 minutes rather than 35 hours.'

‘We have a pure ingredients list as a starting point,' Campbell continues. ‘And consumers get it – they take one look at it and say: ‘Thank God you fixed bread’.’

Read the full interview here.

Modern Baker. Photography by Laura Edwards
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