Need to Know
18 : 01 : 19

A range of edible teas that double as a snack, the UK leads the way for new vegan food launches and how Ukraine’s youth are reclaiming their identity.

Nike’s new connected shoe adapts to athletes’ feet

Nike Adapt BB Nike Adapt BB
Nike Adapt BB Nike Adapt BB
Nike Adapt BB Nike Adapt BB

US – The sportswear brand has developed a connected shoe that continually tightens and loosens its fit based on specific movements and duration of wear.

The Nike Adapt BB is a high-tech basketball shoe with self-tightening laces, and is the brand’s most advanced, connected shoe to date. Responding to the changing needs of the foot throughout the course of a game, the custom fit technology allows the shoe to adapt its shape by using an advanced power-lacing system, a corresponding app and continually updated firmware. Either through touch or by using the Nike Adapt app, wearers can also input different settings manually.

According to Nike, the foot can expand almost half a size during a basketball game. When a player steps into the Nike Adapt BB, the shoe senses the tension needed by the foot and adjusts accordingly. Although the shoe has been developed specifically for basketball, it has implications for the future of footwear and sports apparel. In our Protective Performance Apparel microtrend, we track how advances in material science are driving a new wave of performance wear that protects and supports the body during physical activity.

Nim’s launches the first edible fruit teas

Nim's edible teas Nim's edible teas
Nim's edible teas Nim's edible teas

UK – The fruit crisps manufacturer has launched the UK’s first range of edible teas, creating a hybrid product that serves as both a snack and a natural infusion for hot drinks.

The teas, which are made with air-dried fresh produce, are available in three combinations: beetroot and parsnip; pineapple and kiwi; and pineapple, beetroot and parsnip. Designed to double as a snack and a healthy alternative to caffeinated teas, the company says the product also caters to brands in terms of convenience.

‘They remove the need for fresh fruit, reducing waste and prep times in bars, restaurants, travel and the leisure industry,’ says Nim’s founder Nimisha Raja, noting how Nim’s air dried fruits and vegetables can benefit businesses. For consumers, she adds: ‘They taste great (eaten or drunk), they are high in fibre and vitamin C, and they can make up one of your five a day.’

For more on how brands are reconsidering traditional tea offerings, read our Tea Market.

Scientists in Brazil are gene-editing spicy tomatoes

Brazil – The team is combining the mass-growing properties of tomatoes and nutrient benefits of chili peppers to create a new breed of superfood.

According to the scientists, tomatoes and chili peppers were once relatives, and still share much of the same DNA after splitting from their common ancestor 19 million years ago. Now, the team is using gene-editing techniques to merge the two.

Rather than simply creating a new food fad, the research is designed to help people eat more capsaicinoids, the spicy molecules found in chili peppers. These molecules can reduce insulin spikes and inflammation, increase metabolism and reduce the development of tumours. While capsaicinoids have been difficult to commercially produce in the past, the tomato form offers the ability for mass production.

While fruit and vegetables were traditionally cultivated for hardiness, innovators are experimenting with gene-editing to grow foods for their flavour and health benefits.

Tomato cocktail by Duck & Waffle, London Tomato cocktail by Duck & Waffle, London

Friends With Secrets is a digital exercise in vulnerability

Friends With Secrets

US – A group of friends are publishing their text therapy transcripts online in the hope that it will also offer solace to their readers.

The newly launched digital platform is populated with episodic text conversations between three friends – Akliah, Robyn and Timothy – and their therapists, in a style that mimics popular Chat Fiction apps. In 2018, the friends decided to try out text therapy, a convenient, more cost-effective alternative to in-person sessions, and publish their experiences as a media project.

In what they call ‘an exercise in radical vulnerability’, Friends With Secrets does not censor conversations or shy away from naming names, but showcases the ugly truths of human relationships without asking for sympathy or empathy. ‘By processing and sharing these traumas, it helps me and can help you,’ says co-founder Timothy Goodman. ‘The greatest stories are the ones that kind of act as activism.’

Friends With Secrets demonstrates how young people are finding ways to reflect on their anxieties rather than indulge in them. For more, read our macrotrend Anxiety Rebellion.

Stat: The UK is the world leader for vegan food launches

The UK is the world leader for vegan food launches, according to a new report by Mintel. Until recently, Germany was leading the way, with reports showing that one in 10 new products in the country feature a vegan label.

The new figures show that initiatives like Veganuary have contributed to the UK’s adoption of veganism – in the last six months, 34% of British meat eaters reduced their meat consumption. ‘Consumers are becoming more willing than ever to expand their comfort zones, push themselves to the limit with new experiences and use social media to compete with and offer inspiration to their peers,’ says Edward Bergen, global food and drinks analyst at Mintel.

One of the more unusual vegan trends of 2018 was driven by frozen food retailers, who capitalised on greater consumer awareness of plant-based diets created for more health-conscious consumers.

Thought-starter: Are Ukraine’s youth reclaiming their identity?

Ukraine’s youth are using fashion, music and culture as tools to create a new vision of their national identity that can compete on a global scale.

The vast amount of information and connections that the internet offers young Ukrainians has fuelled a desire to become part of a democratic EU. Yet, with little progressing politically post-Euromaidan, a new community is coming together to build its own future vision of Ukraine that goes beyond the East-West divide.

Following the Euromaidan demonstrations of 2013, young people in Ukraine feel increasingly proud of their identity. ‘After the revolution, youth felt connected to each other,’ Jana Antonissen, founder of Kak Dela Kyiv, a project tracing the identity of a modern Ukrainian youth culture, tells LS:N Global. ‘They had shared goals and values.’ It is a cultural optimism that has been compared with the feeling following the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Creatives in Ukraine are also keen to move away from a condescending post-Soviet label. ‘We stand for originality and it’s nothing to do with Soviet or post-Soviet references,’ says fashion photography collective Join The Cool. For example, artist and designer Vova Vorotniov re-affirmed his national heritage in a positive fashion with his recent capsule collection, Ukrainian Avant-Garde.

Read the full Emerging Youth: Ukraine Market here.

Naza Furyk Naza Furyk