News 01.05.2019

Need to Know

Nooro offers CBD snacks for healthy consumers, Uber gives Londoners public transport information, and a lack of confidence is stifling women’s wealth.

A food court to slow down lunchtime routines

Green Option Food Court by Studio Ramoprimo, Beijing
Green Option Food Court by Studio Ramoprimo, Beijing
Green Option Food Court by Studio Ramoprimo, Beijing

Beijing – Green Option, an online brand for salads and healthy food, has opened the food court as part of a wellness complex.

With bright interiors designed by Ramoprimo, The Green Option Food Court comprises a café, restaurant, cocktail bar and patio all served by a central kitchen and bakery. The dining space is located in a multifunctional building that acts as a wellness complex, with a spa, yoga centre, clubhouse and office.

Located in bustling Beijing, the food court aims to be a meditative environment for citizens to detach from the urban noise of the city streets. Its cushioned seating and pared back surrounds are designed to decelerate the pace of lunch, encouraging customers to and enjoy their break with colleagues, friends or solo.

While rushed, at-desk dining experiences are common around the world, new restaurant concepts such as Green Option are reintroducing focus to the lunch hour.

This snack bar makes CBD convenient

Nooro, UK Nooro, UK
Nooro Nooro

UK – Nooro has launched with a snack bar containing 25mg of cannabidiol (CBD) – a convenient way to consume the cannabis-derived compound on the go.

The raw bar claims to be the first of its kind in the UK and aims to make the benefits of CBD both accessible and tasty. Positioned as ‘mind fuel’, the product contains plant-based nootropics gingko and maca root to boost brain function, as well as peanut butter, cacao nibs and oats for energy.

‘Consumption of CBD in its various forms is steadily on the rise, and we’re incredibly excited to be the first to market,’ says a brand statement. ‘Our team of experts have years of experience in this field, and developed this product to demonstrate that the benefits of cannabidiol can work for everyone. CBD is not a fad, it really is the next store cupboard essential.’

In a similar vein, new DTC wellness start-up Feals aims to demystify CBD and deliver easy-to-understand information about its products.

Uber adds London’s public transport to its app

London – Uber is relaunching its London app to include public transport information for the city.

As part of the ride-sharing company’s wider efforts to become a one-stop transport hub, the update will include schedules and directions, as well as time and cost comparisons, for both ride-hail options and London’s public transport network. When users search a destination on the app, they will now receive the fastest public transit routes and walking directions across Greater London.

London is the second city to receive the feature, following Uber’s introduction of in-app public transportation pricing, schedules and directions in Denver, Colorado. ‘This is central to Uber's efforts to reduce private car ownership, clean up London's air and make the city a healthier place to live,’ the company said in a press release.

For more on the future of urban mobility, explore our dedicated Far Futures vertical.

Public transport on Uber, UK

The Difference is an Alexa skill for on-demand therapy

US – The service uses Amazon’s Alexa to make on-demand therapy more accessible for all.

Users who subscribe to The Difference, which starts at $50 (£38, €45) for a 30-minute session and goes up to $200 (£154, €178) a month for three hours with a dedicated therapist, can request a therapy session through their Alexa device.

After registering and receiving a PIN code, users simply state, 'Alexa, open The Difference,'. After sharing their pin, they are connected with a therapist in under 30 minutes, who will call them on their mobile phone. While customers wait to be connected, they can listen to a guided meditation. The Difference aims to merge psychology with technology, creating a more accessible way to receive therapy on-demand when it’s needed most.

As the number of people diagnosed with depression and anxiety rises, there is an opportunity for brands to think laterally about how to provide people with access to the support they need and rethink the therapy experience for the next generation.

Stat: The finance sector needs to nurture female wealth

Confidence remains a barrier to women engaging more with the finance sector, according to a new report from the WealthiHer Network. With as much as 70% of respondents citing average or below average self-esteem, the findings show there is a need for the industry to better cater to female clients and the diversity of women’s wealth.

Of those surveyed, 36% noted a lack of knowledge as the reason they don’t engage and the same percentage feel patronised through their experiences. Factors contributing to this lack of confidence also include the use of excessive jargon, which was repeatedly cited as a barrier and cause of frustration.

As women become more prominent wealth-holders, the sector needs to evolve to better nurture and improve their finances. For more, read our two-part Women’s Wealth Market.

Thought-starter: Could the growth of AI be bad for fashion?

For an industry that thrives on change, the use of AI might mean homogenisation over innovation, says trends analyst Sabrina Faramarzi.

It's usually science fiction that predicts future technologies, but it was actually 1995's cult teen film Clueless that showcased to mainstream audiences the possibility of an automated, digital wardrobe driven by a form of artificial intelligence (AI).

The accelerated use of AI in fashion has changed the consumer landscape. No other industry has access to the kind of dataset that fashion does, and digital wardrobe management services are making ripe use of it. Digital wardrobes – personal inventory systems that do everything from automatically match outfits for you to getting your dry cleaning organised – are infiltrating the consumer market, and these AI-powered systems are beginning to offer the promise of a highly individual, streamlined and personal clothing and fashion ecosystem for everybody.

But could these digital wardrobes, which function by promoting convenience, sustainability and buying advice, crunch their data so successfully that they end up standardising the fast fashion industry to one that simply recreates what it already circulates?

Read the full Opinion piece here.

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