News 28.11.2023

Need to Know

A smart minibar designed for living rooms, FUNQ’s superfruit syrup and why US consumers want to travel more despite financial barriers.

Meet Rocco, a smart minibar designed for the living room

Rocco, US

US – Unlike most appliances, Rocco’s Super Smart Fridge is not destined to be hidden away in the kitchen, but rather to take centre stage in living spaces, serving as a minibar-meets-bar cart hybrid.

Rocco was born as a response to the lack of modern beverage storage solutions. Conventional refrigerators are optimised for food storage, while wine fridges are built to hold bottles of identical shape and size. But given the booming speciality drinks market –think RTD cocktails, functional sodas and more – Rocco saw a gap in the market for an all-encompassing tipple storage solution.

The brand describes its cooling appliance as ‘the drink fridge for your living room’, merging performance with home décor. The fridge interior can cater for specific drink preferences thanks to modular racks, adjustable shelving and isolated temperature zones to accommodate various storage needs, from full-size champagne bottles to single-serve tins. The fridge can also monitor what’s left inside, allowing users to get a peak in their fridge while grocery shopping – a smart home addition sure to appeal to the growing numbers of homebody consumers.

Strategic opportunity

As eating and drinking habits have evolved post-pandemic, it is a prime time for businesses to re-evaluate how the needs of consumers are met. Sober-curiosity and the ever-growing functional drinks market create business opportunities, from venues like Sober Bars to Rocco’s alt-fridge

CarePods show the future of tech-centric medical care

CarePod by Forward Health, US CarePod by Forward Health, US
CarePod by Forward Health, US CarePod by Forward Health, US

US – Arian Aoun, CEO and co-founder of Forward Health, is continuing his mission to reshape healthcare through technology. The latest step on this journey is the introduction of CarePods, stand-alone medical stations encapsulating the technological prowess garnered from Forward Health’s tech-forward doctors’ offices.

CarePods represent a paradigm shift in healthcare accessibility. Positioned in malls and office buildings, these self-contained stations will offer a spectrum of clinical services, from blood tests to Covid-19 testing. The pods can offer full body scans, thyroid testing, blood pressure checks and more without the need for direct doctor or nurse involvement. Customised AI handles the diagnostics, swiftly followed by prescription generation by healthcare professionals.

With an initial release of 25 CarePods, Forward Health plans an ambitious scale-up, aiming to deploy 3,200 CarePods within a year, although an exact timeline has yet to be specified. This innovative approach consolidates Forward Health’s expertise, creating a scalable and comprehensive medical solution. CarePods usher in a new era in which healthcare meets convenience, showing how cutting-edge technology can help accelerate solutions in building Longevity Lifestyles.

Strategic opportunity

With CarePods set to become ubiquitous in big cities, Med-tech companies should consider how to install pods in more remote locations to offer rural patients equally advanced and convenient diagnosis and treatments

Funq’ begins superfruit syrup in conscious packaging

Funq’, Germany Funq’, Germany

Germany – Former Coca-Cola executives Michael Schwarz, Sebastian Kroth and Fabian Roschig are leading a soft drinks revolution in Germany with Funq’, the nation’s inaugural superfruit syrup, in a bid to transform beverage consumption to be tastier, healthier and more sustainable. Launched in May 2023 and retailing for £6.92 ($8.74, €7.99), Funq’ is made from real fruit, vitamins, minerals and plant extracts, boasts minimal sugar and calories, and is without sweeteners or preservatives.

The brand hopes to compete with soft drinks in plastic bottles by offering consumers the option to make their own flavoured low-calorie soft drinks at home with tap water. More than 20m German consumers already use water bubblers, and 11.3m use syrups at home, according to a study by GfK. Funq’ goes a step further by tailoring its product to conscious consumers who want to move away from soft drinks and syrups in plastic bottles.

Available in recyclable Tetra Paks, 82% of the syrup’s packaging is made from renewable raw materials – including a lid made of sugar cane. According to a study by the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research, the Tetra Pak has a 67% lower CO2 footprint than a PET bottle.

In Sustainability Packaged: Dieline Forum 2023, we previously explored similar alternatives in conscious packaging combatting plastic waste.

Strategic opportunity

Amid rising inflation, drink industry players should consider developing home-based beverage solutions. How can you enable consumers to create their own drinks using tap water, aligning with the rising preference for DIY healthier options?

Stat: Despite financial barriers, US consumers want to travel more

Adidas and Rimowa, Germany Adidas and Rimowa, Germany

US – As we move into the 2023 holiday season, meta-search travel platform VacationRenter conducted an online survey of 1,000 US consumers aged 25 and above on their end-of-year travel aspirations.

Following years of inflation, American consumers are feeling the pinch; 70% are adjusting their plans due to higher prices or economic pressures and 49% have reconsidered holiday arrangements due to a looming recession or potential layoffs.

Despite the cost of living crisis, however, travel remains a priority; 42% of participants say they have taken on debt to travel, 52% say they will travel by plane over the holiday period and 54% plan to travel more in 2024 than they did in 2023.

In our Skift Global Forum 2023 report, we identified how AI is transforming the travel industry to appeal to more consumers than ever, despite sustainability concerns.

Strategic opportunity

Whether it’s by championing virtual travel experiences or subsidising eco-friendly alternatives such as rail or coach, travel companies should consider how to offer affordable and sustainable travel solutions

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