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04 : 11 : 22

Chocolate supplemented with functional wellness-boosting mushroom, Jamie Oliver ventures into pasta delivery, and hiring freezes in the retail sector.

Chocolate supplemented with functional wellness-boosting mushrooms

Alice Mushrooms, UK
Alice Mushrooms, UK
Alice Mushrooms, UK

US – Alice Mushrooms has launched decadent and indulgent chocolates, supplemented with functional mushrooms, adaptogens and nootropics for ‘delight and enlightenment’. Alice’s two initial products, Brainstorm and Nightcap, are chocolate bites with unique functional properties. Brainstorm aims to provide a burst of energy and clarity, while Nightcap is designed to support sleep and relaxation.

Created together with homeopathic doctors, formulators and generational chocolatiers, Alice’s treats are designed to enhance daily routines by delivering the benefits of functional mushrooms in a form that is tasty and delectable.

The brand was born out of a belief in the power of mushrooms paired with a frustration with the mushroom products already on the market. ‘We wanted to make health fun and enjoyable – not something that feels like a chore or a punishment. It should feel like a treat because it is a treat and a blessing to be able to take care of yourself,’ says Lindsay Goodstein, the brand’s creative director.

We’ve seen the rise of mushrooms in the beauty sector, and the functional and versatile super-ingredient is also cross-pollinating with the wellness and food industries to provide an added indulgent and hedonistic twist.

Strategic opportunity

Consumers are interested in functional and wellness-boosting ingredients, but products that are equally indulgent, fun and flavoursome will be the ones to stand out

Jamie Oliver launches pasta delivery brand

Pasta Dreams by Jamie Oliver, UK Pasta Dreams by Jamie Oliver, UK
Pasta Dreams by Jamie Oliver, UK Pasta Dreams by Jamie Oliver, UK

UK – Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver’s new brand, Pasta Dreams, offers a psychedelic take on traditional Italian cuisine. The result of a partnership between creative agency Otherway and food delivery company Taster, the brand presents a playful visual identity and a pasta range for home delivery.

The visuals comprise colourful pasta shapes twirling around a psychedelic backdrop, giving a nostalgic feel reminiscent of saturated design cues from the 1970s. The range includes pasta dishes such as Vodka Arrabbiata Casarecce, which is Jamie Oliver’s spin on the viral vodka pasta social media trend.

The rebranding is part of Jamie Oliver’s strategy to move away from his current demographic, which values an authentic take on Italian cuisine, instead appealing to a younger audience. With its eye-catching visuals, Pasta Dreams appeals to those who seek Instagram-friendly food options. The visuals tie in well with Pasta Dreams pop-ups, a sensory brand activation designed to attract a buzz on social media.

The design direction taken by the brand reflects many of the themes we picked up on in Frivolous Foods.

Strategic opportunity

Consumers are gravitating towards eye-catching branding that sparks a visual experience. In a market saturated with minimal design, consider opting for a more colourful approach

Shutterstock to sell AI-generated stock images

Global – Stock image provider Shutterstock is joining forces with OpenAI to launch content generated by DALL-E on the platform, along with a scheme to compensate contributing artists.

The move marks the first time a stock image bank will offer visuals created by text-to-image AI and will unlock new creative possibilities at lower cost to the platform. In parallel, Shutterstock is setting up a Contributor Fund to compensate creators – including artists, photographers and designers – when their work is used by the platform to develop and train generative AI models.

Shutterstock is also banning the sale of AI-generated visuals on its site that were not created using its proprietary DALL-E integration to protect artists and make sure their work isn’t used without their consent or without remuneration.

This significant move is the first major initiative by a platform holder to reimburse creators – but it also underlines the fraught legal and ethical questions surrounding this new technology, especially as AI-vertisements are multiplying and becoming common practice.

Shutterstock, US

Strategic opportunity

Businesses that want to use AI as a creative tool will need to review ethical considerations around copyright, and ensure AI-generated art is not undermining human-made work

Stat: Hiring freezes hit the retail sector

Shopify Retail Hardware, Canada
Shopify Retail Hardware, Canada

Independent British retailers are bracing themselves for the consequences of the cost of living crisis. According to a report by wholesale marketplace Ankorstore, 68% of independent British retailers are planning to implement hiring freezes in 2023 unless they receive more support from the government.

Women independent retailers are being the most careful, with an astounding 84% saying they don’t intend to recruit any new employees in 2023, compared to 58% of male shopkeepers. Three in five consumers in the UK are planning to cut back on their spending this year because of rising costs and 67% of Millennials say they will reduce purchases of luxuries as the crisis worsens.

The availability of employment opportunities is one of the key pillars of a healthy economy. To weather the impending economic storm, companies will have to pursue Retail-flation Responses to remain resilient during the downturn.

Strategic opportunity

How can independent retailers become spaces for community exchange during moments of crisis? Consider what services that shops can provide to help people in times of economic difficulty

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