At Mintel we are proud and boastful of our 80-plus trends, our team of trend spotters across 20 countries and the 70 odd amazing stories they bring to us every week. But trends don’t just play out on the page, steam on our screens, or come out of our analyst’s mouths. In fact – something we trade in at Mintel – Trends are happening right now in our streets, as insights and dreams turned in to real bricks-and-mortar businesses by brave pioneers and entrepreneurs.

In this new 5-part series, we bring you the very best of trends-in-action from all corners of London. We look into how each business is targeting wider trends and the social, demographic and cultural drivers behind it… Enjoy!

The Clink

Clink 1

Londoners can now visit Her Majesty’s Prison Brixton for a bite to eat in a restaurant staffed by prisoners. This scheme, set up by the Clink Charity, teaches prisoners catering and service skills to increase their likelihood of securing gainful employment after being released.

This venture embodies Mintel’s Non-Standard Society trend, where we increasingly see those outside of the mainstream being given a greater voice, by progressive governments, businesses and advertisers.

The Clink concept aims to reduce reoffending rates by offering training and employment opportunities in the form of nationally recognised NVQ City & Guilds food preparation, food service and cleaning qualifications. In 2015 it will be adding a restaurant at HMP Styal to join existing eateries at High Down, Cardiff and Brixton.

This marks a much more progressive, practical take on prison schemes we’ve seen in other parts of the world, which reached something of a nadir when inmates in Brazil’s Santa Rita do Sapucaí prison were granted reduced sentences, according to the hours they put in on exercise bikes that generated electricity for the city’s street lamps.

44% of shoppers say that ethical treatment of workers influences their shopping practices

Our Non-Standard Society trend meanwhile is all about respect and the need for companies to recognise the needs and values of an increasingly multicultural, minority-rich society, where the more progressive attitudes of Millennials are demanding new standards. This encompasses everything from mainstream brands like Marriott championing transgender models, to starts ups like Signs – a Toronto restaurant that employs 50 deaf servers and guides customers to order in sign language.

These ethical approaches can resonate with a strong, progressive, growing minority of consumers. Mintel’s data shows that 44% of shoppers say that ethical treatment of workers influences their shopping practices and 33% say the same about a brand’s environmental policies.

Our message here is that it’s critical for companies to begin building a more inclusive marketing strategy right now and to weigh up what they can do through public-private partnerships, or whether they need to look at the commercial opportunities of expanding in to concepts like Halal make-up. This is where we see companies challenge clichés, prejudices and discrimination in a bid to lead by example and find favour – and custom – with the next generation of consumers.

To find out more about The Clink restaurant, click here

With over a decade of experience in market research, Richard works as a Trends Analyst, helping clients understand how global consumer trends impact their business. As a globally recognised leading trends commentator, he is regularly called on by media worldwide to provide insight and analysis into consumer trends, with recent highlights including the Guardian and BBC Radio 2.

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