For the latest in consumer and industry news, top trends and market perspectives, stay tuned to Mintel News featuring commentary from Mintel's team of global category analysts.

Earlier this month, we unveiled the four key consumer trends which will impact European markets in 2018.

In this special edition of Hotspots, Mintel’s European Trends Team takes a look at how brands and organisations are already tapping into the trends through products, innovations and initiatives throughout the region.

Sea Change

Ocean plastic fashion and recycled packaging launches, ingredient bans and activism are focusing consumer and government attention on maritime conservation.


London’s Borough Market is phasing out sales of plastic bottled water and introducing water fountains in a bid to become the UK’s largest food market that’s completely free of plastic.

“Consumers are making the link between bottled water and the impact it can have on the environment. Borough Market’s announcement shows how this movement is gaining traction and also how it can be used as a badge of honour, which can in turn create a point of differentiation that will help it stand out from the crowd.



Teens are increasingly defined by anxieties around image, health and work, and are looking for brands to alleviate the pressure and help them build both their confidence and prospects.


A bill has been unanimously passed in Italy to combat online harassment of young people. The bill has now made it illegal to publish defamatory messages and insults addressed to a minor, blackmail them or steal their identity. Moreover, each school in Italy will have a reference teacher in charge of addressing cyber harassment.

“Over the past few years, we’ve seen a growing concern about the unregulated side of social media as cyberbullying, trolling and online abuse became rampant. This bill in Italy has been created to give people back some control over comments and content that they find personally offensive. As this issue comes to a head, we’re likely to see digital platforms forced to take a more active role in policing the content on their sites. Those that can do this before it becomes required by law will appeal to users who want to digitally engage in an assuredly safe space.”



In a world of post-truth politics and unsubstantiated media, consumers are looking for brands to court them with transparency, simplicity and evidence.


French supermarket chain U’s new campaign uses Snapchat Stories to demonstrate just how fresh its fish are. Snapcodes printed onto the ‘origin’ labels of its fish relate to a Snapchat Story that chronicles from fishing boat through to fish counter. Snapchat Stories’ 24-hour lifespan confirms that the journey takes less than a day, proving to U’s customers that the fish is indeed fresh.

“The direct connection messaging apps provide is beneficial to both brands and consumers, with U’s use of Snapchat leaving customers satisfied their fish are fresh, whilst allowing the supermarket chain to nurture a closer and more private relationship with individual consumers. When operating in this space, brands would do well to ensure that their strategies are in line with how consumers use these apps: informality and a conversational tone are key, with content that is inherently shareable the most likely to create a contemporary, modern image for a brand.”



Hacks and data disclosure legislation form a new breed of consumers who will hold on tight to their data and demand something in return before sharing it.


Dutch graphic designer Leanne Wijnsma has created a device which makes it possible to smell online data breaches. ‘Smell of Data’, an hexagonal device that connects to the computer over Wi-Fi, emits a smell from a built-in perfume reservoir when it notices a possible data leak

“As people are being watched, tracked and analysed more than ever before, online security has become an issue of paramount importance. With smell one of the most powerful senses – able to enhance dining experiences and evoke vivid memories and emotions – Wijnsma’s use of scent can help boost consumers’ awareness of online security and give them an extra push to keep themselves protected. Appealing to people’s senses is an effective way of impacting them on a deeper level, and brands would do well to focus on touch, taste and smell to deliver more memorable products, services or awareness-raising campaigns.”

Smell of data

Mintel’s European Consumer Trends are available for readers to download via this link.