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Hotspots brings you the Mintel Trends team’s top observations on product and service launches from around the world. From boozy wellness retreats to female-friendly football grounds, find out the most innovative global initiatives happening this month.

Smells like Artificial Intelligence – Brazil

Fragrance company Symrise, beauty brand O Boticário and IBM collaborated to develop Philyra, an artificial intelligence-based (AI) system which uses machine learning algorithms to sift through thousands of fragrance formulas and raw materials, helping identify patterns and new scent combinations. The initial formulas suggested by the system were tweaked by a master perfumer to emphasise a certain note and improve how long it lasted on the skin.

Automation has traditionally been associated with more mechanical tasks to free up time for people so they can focus on other activities. However, this perception is being challenged as more AI tools are doing tasks that have a human nature as they require more sophisticated skills like creativity and invention. Brands not only need to prepare for this reality, but they can also take advantage of these new minds which can process tons of information and learn new things faster than ever before.

Credit: Symrise

Graciana Méndez – Trends Analyst, Latin America

Glue & Gulp – Denmark

Carlsberg is launching a ‘Snap Pack’ for its six-pack of canned beers which uses glue instead of plastic rings to hold the cans together. The new technology is supported by World Wildlife Fund (WWF), which considers it a “big step” in efforts to tackle plastic pollution. This action is part of Carlsberg’s “Together Towards ZERO” sustainability programme, in which the brand is aiming for zero water waste and a zero carbon footprint. Carlsberg also plans to change the ink on its bottle labels to make them more recyclable and alter the coating to make refillable bottles more durable.

Beer manufacturers are currently focusing on carbon impact, but examples from the soft and hot drinks industries such as edible or biodegradable packaging could be considered too. Beer companies could also suggest ways to reuse beer cans or glass bottles. They could provide a cork to refill bottles with water, or design easily removable labels with suggestions included on how to use it as a flower or pencil pot. Pubs could develop themed activities to teach consumers new skills, for instance how to reuse glass bottles to create candles or lamps.

Credit: Carlsberg

Julie Gable – Trends Analyst, EMEA

Boozy Wellness – US, Mexico, Canada

In the last few years, there has been a surge in wellness retreats with a twist. Wanderlust, with locations in the US, Canada and Mexico, pair yoga and Pilates with nightly parties and wine tastings, giving attendees the option to release stress and tension in all the ways they like to. Outessa is a series of outdoor retreats designed for women which include exercise classes, outdoors activities, workshops, talks, and food and drink , while Roam Bike Fest is the only women’s mountain bike festival in the world – finishing with an 80s themed dance party.

The driving mindset for all of these activities is for the participants to find the combination of health and wellness that is enjoyable for them, even and especially if that’s yoga in the morning and a bar at night. The festivals focus on group-oriented wellness activities to keep morale and accountability high and the idea of balance—not too much grueling exercise and not too much drinking, either. These events can bode well with the 22% of US consumers aged 25-34 saying that one of the biggest obstacles to maintaining a healthy lifestyle is having to make too many sacrifices, according to Mintel research.

Alex Milinazzo, Trends Analyst, North America

Hungry Pets – China

Tmall is partnering with Ele.me to deliver pet food in Shanghai. The pet food delivery can arrive 30 minutes after the pet owner has placed the order via Ele.me’s app. For now, customers can only order cat food, but Tmall has plans to extend the service to deliver everything pet-related that is within 3km of the customer.

Pet ownership is rising rapidly in China. Similar to everything else, convenience is key when it comes to urban life, and this also applies to purchasing pet-related products. With more and more consumers choosing to stay single for longer, the potential of the pet sector in China is immense. Pet owners are also interested in activities that they can experience together with their furry friends. In the UK, Candy Rooms is a beauty salon that offers treatments for both people and pooches, while in Mexico, tourist bus operator Turibus has launched a city tour in Mexico City that is designed for dogs.

Joyce Lam – Trends Analyst, Asia Pacific

Plastic Bus Pass – Indonesia

Bus passengers in Surabaya, Indonesia’s second largest city, can now travel for up to two hours free of charge from selected stops if they trade their used plastic bottles for recycling. Indonesia ranks second only to China as the world’s largest contributor of plastic waste, generating 3.22 million tonnes per year, according to the University of Georgia. Promoting the benefits of public transport also strives to combat air pollution caused by traffic congestion, which is choking Indonesian cities.

Providing a prize is a time-honoured tactic for convincing consumers that positive behaviour changes can prove healthier and more rewarding. This approach is proving highly durable among brands and governments seeking to drive sustainable initiatives. A Dutch minister has proposed paying people to cycle to work as part of efforts to reduce road congestion and pollution, while borrowers in Wales will be able to take out a bigger mortgage when buying energy-efficient properties.

Credit: sportourism.id

Delon Wang – Manager of Trends, APAC

Bloody Marie – UK

Three female Celtic fans have broken the taboo around periods by campaigning for free sanitary products to be available at football grounds. The ‘On The Ball’ campaign was prompted by frustration about inadequate facilities for women at football events. As a result, 45 clubs have followed in Celtic’s footsteps and are now offering free sanitary protection.

Football is a sport that inspires millions of people around the world. While Mintel research on the football industry shows that UK women are generally less likely to watch football, our data also shows that almost the same amount of men and women watched the World Cup in July 2018 – highlighting an opportunity to engage the female population with the sport all year long. Campaigns like On The Ball may help drive the message that football grounds are female-friendly, while encouraging consumers to talk more openly about ‘taboos’.

Helen Fricker – Trends Manager, EMEA