Need to Know
14 : 10 : 22

An energy-saving device for pasta-lovers, cheap genome sequencing could transform healthcare, and British Gen Z break away from drinking culture.

Barilla launches an energy-saving product for pasta-lovers

Barilla Passive Cooker, Italy

Italy – Pasta company Barilla has released a new Passive Cooking campaign and Passive Cooker product that will help customers save on energy.

It revolves around an ancient technique to cook pasta off the heat. Instead of boiling it for 10 minutes, keeping the lid on allows the cooking to happen using only the residual heat. The new device allows users to measure the optimal cooking time and alerts them when the pasta is ready to serve. While this is a small way of reducing energy, it will encourage people to implement minor changes – and with more than 400m portions of pasta served every day it has the potential to make a difference.

The magazine ToiletPaper coordinated the art direction for the project, producing a range of saturated visuals that align with Barilla’s Italian heritage.

Barilla will also offer a WhatsApp service offering support for any passive cooking-related queries. The project invites people to embrace simple changes that could help with the cost of living and contribute to helping the environment.

Strategic opportunities

Extend your services to offer solutions for consumers through difficult times. This could be in the form of a device or a service, encouraging consumers to make small changes that will help them adapt to the changing landscape

Illumina wants to revolutionise genome sequencing

Illumina NovaSeq X Series, US Illumina NovaSeq X Series, US
Illumina NovaSeq X Series, US Illumina NovaSeq X Series, US

US – Health technology company Illumina is aiming to revolutionise genome sequencing. At an industry event in San Diego, the company revealed its new NovaSeq X technology, which promises to usher in a new era of inexpensive and effective genome sequencing.

The company, which already controls about 80% of the global market for DNA sequencing, predicts that this new technology could reduce the price of the procedure to about £176 ($200, €204) while doubling the reading speed. With this development, the company will be able to sequence about 20,000 genomes a year – far more than the 7,500 genomes it can process at present.

The company is aiming to ship the new machines in early 2023. ‘As we look to the next decade, we believe we’re entering the era of genomic medicine going mainstream. To do that requires the next generation of sequencers,’ explains Francis deSouza, CEO of Illumina.

Genome sequencing can help detect cancer early, develop genetically targeted drugs and help diagnose people with rare diseases. The NovaSeq X machine could be a huge leap forward for preventative care and and At-home Epigenetics.

Strategic opportunity

With rapid genome sequencing on the horizon, healthcare companies must prepare for the age of personalised products. How can your company use this new technology to develop products that cater for hyper-specific consumer conditions?

A beer containing fermented wasp yeast

UK – The Wild Beer Co has released a new beer collection, which includes Enso, an ale made with the help of wasps, as part of its tenth birthday celebrations. The beer uses a unique yeast strain found in abandoned wasp nests that delivers a sweet aroma that’s impossible to replicate in lab-grown varieties.

For this project, the brand worked alongside university research teams, combining their expertise with its own in-house methods. Irene Stefanini, a researcher at the University of Turin, found that the yeast develops in the guts of hibernating wasps, creating a distinct natural flavour which The Wild Beer Co has used to produce its new beer.

The wild fermentation process creates unusual flavours and a novel experience. With ongoing changes to the environment and supply chains pushed to their limits, companies will have to be clever with sourcing for products.

Enso by The Wild Beer Co, UK

Strategic opportunity

Strained supply chains will call for innovative techniques that require more sustainable sourcing methods

Stat: British Gen Z are breaking away from drinking culture

Poytonic branded by KR8 Bureau, Austria Poytonic branded by KR8 Bureau, Austria

UK – Fewer Gen Z are engaging with the UK’s notoriously heavy drinking culture, according to a recent report. Student marketing agency Raptor surveyed over 2,500 Britons aged 18–30 to get a snapshot of this group’s post-pandemic drinking attitudes and preferences.

The State of the Nation Report revealed that the two main factors behind young people’s drinking habits are image and control. Some 49% claim that their online image is always at the back of their mind, and 76% feel it is important to always be in control of all aspects of their life. In addition, 70% of Gen Z consider binge drinking as a very risky activity, and 41% associate alcohol with vulnerability, anxiety and abuse.

Consequently, Gen Z prefer to drink moderately, favouring small and relaxed gatherings. When it comes to choosing what to drink, younger generations worry about the calorie content but like to try new flavours, making them the primary market for pre-mixed and single-serve beverages.

Gen Z’s mindful alcohol consumption is starting to make waves in the drinks industry, and will continue to present opportunities for low- or non-alcohol categories such as kombucha or nootropic functional drinks.

Strategic opportunity

Keep in mind Gen Z’s approach to socialising and drinking when developing new products or venue concepts. A strategy of catering for moderate or occasional drinkers will pay off in the long run

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