Joyce Lam
Joyce is a Senior Trends Analyst at Mintel, focusing on capturing consumer behaviour for the Asia Pacific market, as well as supporting the global Mintel Trends team to identify new consumer trends.

In September last year, Starbucks opened its first store in Asia built from recycled shipping containers.

Source: Starbucks.com

Located in Hualien City, Taiwan, the store is part of the ‘Starbucks Greener Stores’ initiative which will be the framework to design, build and operate sustainable stores around the world. This aligns with Mintel Trend ‘Hungry Planet’ which highlights how the world’s throwaway culture is becoming a contentious issue, encouraging consumers to look for ways to conserve the planet’s resources.

The design of the container store is inspired by the foliage of trees, combined with a traditional Chinese bucket arch. Famed Japanese architect Kengo Kuma used 29 recycled shipping containers to form the store’s structure, which he stacked to create a much taller space with natural sunlight.

In addition, the store offers the convenience of a Starbucks drive-through for on-the-go customers.

Rebirth of cities

Accommodation types in cities around the world are slowly changing as governments and consumers are adopting greener and more sustainable living solutions. For instance, a group of architects in the Netherlands transformed old cargo ships into modern eco-friendly villas, while Dunkin’ created a cabin powered by leftover coffee grounds in New York.

Such developments are also affecting retailers, foodservice brands and other companies that have physical facilities to adopt innovative construction types, especially as consumers constantly look for novel designs to take pictures of and share on social media.

In fact, brands like Starbucks that play a part in consumers’ everyday lives could help to make an impact by promoting more sustainable lifestyles, be it by using sustainable building materials, banning plastic utensils or donating to charities.

Across Asia, incomes have increased and many people have benefited from better living standards; however, this has also taken its toll on the environment. Governments across the region can no longer ignore these problems and are taking action to become more sustainable. Consumers are slowly learning about the importance of green living, which means that brands will also need to adopt such policies to stay in line with the values of their consumers.