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Hotspots brings you the Mintel Trends team’s top observations on product and service launches from around the world. From a hotel donating surplus food to charity to new technology enabling online shoppers to experience products through the senses, find out the most innovative global initiatives happening this month.

Reducing Bali’s food waste – Indonesia

W Bali hotel has partnered with Scholars of Sustenance (SOS), an innovative charity in Bali which collects and distributes surplus food from the hotel to children in need, while also reducing food wastage. W Bali’s culinary team will help prepare excess food items including meat, fruit, vegetables and bread, and pack them in appropriate food-grade containers. SOS’ in-house food hygienists will inspect the food on arrival and prepare nutritional meals for the children.

Indonesia is the world’s second largest contributor of food waste, binning almost 300kg of food per person each year. The food waste problem is slowly becoming increasingly prominent for the hospitality sector. Collaborating with organisations as a first step to reducing food waste is an important step to take, as the overproduction and wasting of food can cause serious environmental and economic problems. Cream brand Elmlea hosted a pop-up café in London giving away free lunches made from the top 20 most thrown away foods, educating people on what they can do with their unwanted food. While the Philippines government has created a Mango Festival to show people ways to cook with mangoes after ideal weather conditions left the country with a huge surplus of fruit.


Melanie Nambiar, Southeast Asia Trends Analyst

Creative for Climate – UK

A group of advertising agencies have pledged not to work on any fossil fuel briefs as a way to support climate change. The industry-wide #CreativesForClimate pledge was inspired by the Extinction Rebellion movement. Numerous marketing, advertising and communication agencies have signed up, aiming to use their power for good.

Consumers buy what they see advertised but often don’t know the details of many brands’ environmental impact. Even brands that appear to be ethical, sustainable and eco-friendly may not be as clean as they portray. As consumers are becoming more environmentally conscious, they are seeking brands that meet these values. By withdrawing from offering advertising to brands that are negatively impacting the planet, the creative agencies are making it less likely consumers will be exposed to such brands. As the race to tackle climate change continues, we will see more movements and initiatives launched to help address this. It is likely that brands that provide services, products or equipment that are environmentally damaging will be forced by governments to reverse the damage they are creating.

Helen Fricker – Trends Manager, EMEA

Multi-sensory Online Shopping – China

Alibaba has launched Refinity, a new technology that will bring a multi-sensory experience to online shopping. Users can begin using Refinity by pointing to a product on the screen to bring it forward and examine it. For instance, they can experience the sensations of water flowing out of a shower head, simulating touch and thermal feedback. They can also simulate different water settings from raindrops to airy, as well as interact with the water as though they were in the shower. Alongside a scent generator, Refinery plays sounds that mimic the soothing rhythm and fresh scent of water drops.

Online shopping has been a major pastime for most Chinese consumers over the past decade, attracting more competition into the space. This puts pressure on e-commerce platforms to differentiate and create their own unique selling points in order to stay in the lead. With the advent of more immersive and interactive technologies, consumers are also expecting their interaction with brands to be more imaginative and stimulating to create an overall delightful shopping experience, in the form of sight, smell and sound, among others.


Joyce Lam – Trends Analyst, Asia Pacific

Recycling Is For Girls – USA

New research published in the journal Sex Roles suggests that ‘toxic masculinity’ may be hindering progress in sustainability. Led by Pennsylvania State University, the research suggests that looking after the planet is seen as a typically ‘feminine’ thing to do, leading people to avoid certain eco-friendly behaviours that don’t suit their perceived gender stereotypes. It’s important to note that the research does not suggest that men are ignorant of eco-friendly behaviors and their perceived positive consequences. Rather, there are external, societal forces that are compelling people to act within designated gender and sexuality stereotypes, whether or not those align with an individual’s feelings toward environmentally friendly lifestyles and issues of climate change.

When hosting and participating in conversations surrounding eco-friendly initiatives, actions, etc, it’s important to understand the varied contexts and identities that are involved in the consumption and application of that information. Stereotypes can be exacerbated and perpetuated through brand messaging, so companies need to take responsibility for their role in social norms and how they may be working in contradiction with their values, goals, and more.

Alex Milinazzo, Trends Analyst, North America

iFood Expansion – Brazil

The leading food delivery company iFood has installed branded lockers in commercial and residential buildings in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Campinas, allowing supermarkets to deliver goods without the need for contact between delivery people and their customers. Lockers are insulated to keep meals at the right temperature, and can be unlocked via a QR code. Customers will have to spend at least R$15 on groceries to be eligible to use the iFood service as there’s no delivery fee. Participating stores will only deliver hygiene, cleaning, frozen, vegetables, meat and beverage items.

In this digital era, brands need to connect to consumers through their phones. Delivery apps like iFood have leveraged technology to create platforms through which users have total control and traceability of their order from the time it is placed to when it is delivered. However, one of the biggest challenges delivery apps will need to face is consumer backlash for the alleged poor working conditions and safety for their couriers. Some delivery players are already fighting boycotts with plans to improve things for couriers. Rappi became a unicorn in 2018 and claimed they will use part of the funding to build centers where couriers can rest, go to the bathroom and charge their phones.

Credit: iFood

Graciana Méndez – Trends Analyst, Latin America