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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 palate-training kit that helps consumers get the full experience of yogurt products to a social e-commerce platform that allows microbrands to sell their products, find out the most innovative global initiatives happening this month.

US – Curating a Yogurt Palate

Siggi’s has released a limited supply of palate-training kits in order to help consumers fully experience its yogurt products. The kit includes a 30-day supply of its 0% yogurts offered in various flavors, along with a spoon, timer, eye mask, pen and journal. Since Siggi’s 0% yogurt doesn’t feature the same sweetness that consumers are used to from yogurt, the goal of this initiative is to refine consumers’ palates and become more mindful of how sugar can impact taste. The kit costs $30 and is available while supplies last.

Several categories in the food and drink space have prioritized palate lessons, with wine, coffee and beer being the most notable. Siggi’s focus on yogurt is connected to not only enabling a unique sensory experience but also wellbeing efforts as consumers aim to reduce their sugar intake. The reason wine, beer, and even coffee often have palate trainings is because they are also associated with the phrase “acquired tastes” and as the products gradually get less sweet, consumers have to adapt their palates to experience the broader flavors. Siggi’s is aiming to use that mindset to help consumers adapt their taste buds to enjoy yogurt products without the added sugar.

– Diana Kelter – Senior Trends Analyst, US

Malaysia – Microbrand Marketplace

Poptron is a social e-commerce platform that allows microbrands to sell their products. The company scouts for local lifestyle brands to be listed on its platform by looking for them on social media or at local bazaars. At present, over 100 microbrands have joined the platform, selling items such as personal care, fashion, arts and crafts, pet care and home and living products. The Malaysia-based firm has raised US $1 million of funding from a NASDAQ-listed company, which will be used to scale its operations and technology.

Malaysian consumers often discover new local brands and products at popular local arts bazaars. However, the pandemic has caused these bazaars to come to a halt, pushing local sellers to depend on online sales. Poptron’s platform can help both sellers and consumers overcome several pain points – for the seller, Poptron can help with customer acquisition, brand visibility, as well as logistics, and for the consumer, the overall shopping experience is enhanced as the discovery and shopping of local products are now easier because they have access to all these brands on a single platform. With increased consumer interest in local products and supporting small businesses, Poptron is poised to make a strong name for itself in the Malaysian market.

– Melanie Nambiar – Trends Analyst, Southeast Asia

UK – Pringle Zombie

Pringles and games publisher Raw Fury are giving gamers a fright with a zombie that escapes from a game, enters the real world and then returns to the game two weeks later. The campaign sees ‘Frank’, a zombie, leave the game West of Dead and enter the real world where he takes over Pringles and Raw Fury’s Twitter accounts to interact with gamers across Europe to learn how to be more social. After two weeks he goes back inside the game where he can interact with gamers using his new personality. Gaming influencer Leah Viathan premiered the campaign with a livestream on Twitch where Frank entered her room through her screen, soon realising he was only after her Pringles. A series of films following Frank also accompany the campaign.

The pandemic has seen the popularity of gaming increase, giving brands a new channel to engage with and entertain consumers. Whether in-game or in real life, brands are using consumers’ desire for fun and adventure to create a new element of experience around a product, new launch or specific venue. We’re seeing brands ranging from fashion to food find ways to link their products to gaming through themed events and brand partnerships, as well as create their own games. Brands that can create ways to incorporate in-game experiences with real-life ones demonstrate the future of consumer engagement.

Source: AdAge

– Helen Fricker – Trends Manager, EMEA

Mexico – Chapultepec Rebirth

Aztlán will be Mexico City’s new amusement park based on a design that promises to honor both Mexican culture and sustainability. Aztlán will replace the Chapultepec Fair, with building to start in 2021. The park is committed to honor Mexican culture, having the stamp of Mexico in every corner and will be based on six main guiding axes: sustainability, entertainment for all ages, diffusion of Mexico City, promotion of sports, dissemination of values, and safety.

As cities around the world emerge from COVID-19 confinement, administrations are starting to re-imagine cities for dwellers by modifying green public spaces as a top priority. Indeed, urban centers have been the epicenter of the pandemic, showing how damaging congestion, pollution and the lack of green spaces can be. In order to help recover from its aftermath, cities are conceiving a new landscape of public space and livability in which local flora and fauna must be preserved and celebrated more than ever. As we build our next normal, we are seeing urban projects looming around the world ensuring that the changes that persist are those that make our cities greener, healthier and inclusive, in which community ties will be more appreciated than ever.

– Gabrielle Lieberman – Director of Trends and Social Media Research, Americas

China – Pretty Virtual Red Packet

WeChat partnered with different brands to launch a social media campaign distributing well-designed virtual red pocket covers. WeChat users can collect free virtual packet covers released by brands and celebrities by searching brand names in WeChat ‘search’ function, sharing invitations with WeChat friends, or interacting with WeChat public accounts of brands. More than 60 brands and games released their virtual red packet covers, with limited time and in a limited number. Brands can add up to 10 pages and a one-minute video in each red packet cover. By scrolling down the cover, users can check the ‘cover story’ as well. As a result, the WeChat search index of ‘virtual red packet cover’ spiked, with a search volume of over 100 million on 1 February.

Distributing red packets with cash inside is a tradition during Chinese New Year. The virtual red packet, a digital form of the traditional cash-filled red envelopes, makes mobile social gifting the new norm for Chinese consumers. The function of virtual red packets goes beyond a tradition and has been successfully turned more into a touchless entertaining social game among families and friends. Brands integrate their campaign with virtual red packet covers, with attention to consumers’ needs of fun and fresh experiences rather than the same tired pattern. Free products with limited supply offer consumers incentives to actively engage with brands in order to get their favourite red packet covers. Later, consumers can use WeChat Pay to fill the red packets with money and distribute them in a convenient way; during the process, brands can spread the information they put in covers to a larger audience.

– Victoria Li – Trends Analyst, APAC