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The UK gears up for autonomous electric transport, Californian retailers to adopt gender-neutral displays and China’s Gen Z women plan to skip marriage.

A Korean pop-up elevating plant-based dining

Pioneers Club by Just Egg in collaboration with MediaMonks
Pioneers Club by Just Egg in collaboration with MediaMonks
Pioneers Club by Just Egg in collaboration with MediaMonks

Seoul – American plant venture Just Egg has teamed up with production company MediaMonks to elevate South Korea’s burgeoning plant-based market through a fine dining experience. The pop-up restaurant, located in Seoul’s Yongsan district, prepares a personalised menu for every guest, incorporating the company’s egg alternative into each dish.

Diners at the pop-up, known as Pioneers Club, are treated to vegan dishes tailored to their dietary requirements and taste preferences, served by celebrated Korean chefs such as Jason Oh, a former sous chef at a Michelin-starred restaurant, and Joon Woo Park, the first runner-up on MasterChef Korea. In keeping with the growing plant-based movement in Korea, the restaurant is decorated with lush greenery that creates a verdant atmosphere.

Growing global awareness about the health and environmental benefits of plant-based eating has led many meat-dominant cultures to consider wider forms of protein. Just Egg is aiming to enter Asia’s Alternative Protein Market by creating a memorable and bespoke dining experience that appeals to people’s culinary curiosity.

Strategic Opportunity

To introduce an ingredient to a new market, consider hosting an ephemeral culinary event to show locals the use and versatility of the product

These electric pods are automating urban mobility

Floc by Urban.Mass, UK Floc by Urban.Mass, UK
Floc by Urban.Mass, UK Floc by Urban.Mass, UK

UK – Technology start-up Urban.MASS has unveiled plans for Floc, an autonomous mass transit system that will improve urban mobility and drastically reduce carbon emissions. Comprising electronic pods, Floc vehicles can travel on both roads and elevated rail platforms. They can be booked via an app for on-demand travel, as well as through a hop-on system that uses conventional travel cards.

Initially launching at the Locomotion railway museum in Shildon, England, the technology is set to be rolled out across at least 10 global cities by 2030. Such initiatives show how urban mobility is being upgraded with a focus on wellness and sustainability. Cities are changing like never before – populations are exploding but the way we move people around hasn’t changed in over a century,’ says Kevin O’Grady, CEO of Urban.MASS. ‘With massive demand from cities right across the world, it’s clear that people everywhere recognise the need for a new technology to dramatically change our transport systems for the next 200 years.

As cities come under rising pressure to meet environmental demands, this innovation demonstrates how transport solutions can simultaneously improve urban health and meet the convenience needs of city-dwellers.

Strategic Opportunity

Urban planners should take cues from this innovation and develop infrastructures that enable more equitable, connected and environmentally friendly cities. Ensure services are affordable and accessible to encourage greater adoption

California bans gendered retail displays

California – A bill signed into law by Governor Gavin Newson makes California the first American state to require large retailers to display childcare items in gender-neutral displays from 1 January 2024.

The law applies to stores with multiple chains that have more than 500 employees across all locations in the state, with fines of £181 ($250, €215) to £362 ($500, €430) issued to retailers who fail to adhere to the standard. The bill categorises childcare products as any item that facilitates ‘sleep, relaxation or the feeding of children or to help children with sucking or teething’. As a result, personal care items such as toothbrushes will have to be exhibited in gender-neutral spaces, while clothing can continue to be displayed in gender designated retail areas.

Although global retailers have been introducing gender-neutral displays for some time, this move marks the first time that a government has enforced them in law. By removing rigid gender stereotypes from personal items like toys, the Californian bill is adopting the tenets of Neutral Culture, which champions a more expansive understanding of identity.

The Squirrels programme by Scouts, UK

Strategic Opportunity

Although the Californian bill does not cover how retailers merchandise clothing, companies looking to appeal to future generations – and their parents – can consider the potential benefits of gender-neutral displays

Stat: China’s Gen Z women plan to forego marriage

Ms MIN, China Ms MIN, China

In China, an increasing number of young, urban women are planning to forego the traditional life stage of getting married. According to a study by China’s Communist Youth League, many consider that it doesn’t fit in with their lifestyles.

Almost half (44%) of city-dwelling Generation Z women in China said that they plan to never get married, compared with 25% of men. As for their reasons, 34.5% of those surveyed cited feeling they had no time and energy to get married. Meanwhile, 60.8% of Chinese Gen Z in the study said it was difficult to find the right person. In the same survey, nearly a third (30%) of those interviewed said they have never been in love.

These figures are misaligned with China’s aims to bolster its birth rate through its recently announced three-child policy. Indeed, despite the nation’s economic and social ambitions, these findings suggest an ongoing shift towards Uncoupled Living.

Strategic Opportunity

Brands targeting China’s Generation Z should prioritise products and services that support people living single lifestyles. Think about how home products, leisure and hospitality experiences could be reframed to suit individuals

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