Hotspots: 2022’s Top Trends Observations

December 28, 2022
14 min read

Hotspots: 2022’s Top Trends Observations

Hotspots brings you the Mintel Trends team’s top observations on product and service launches from around the world. This special edition brings our analyst’s top trends from the year in each region. From shampoo that contains popular skincare ingredients to a pet hotel, find out the most innovative global initiatives from this year.

Yogurt and Snack – China

Mengniu Chunzhen launched yogurt with popping candies, adding fun elements. The Yummy Yogurt contains 31% less sugar compared to the brand’s other products, and 35% more protein than the minimum amount required by national standards. There are also ingredients including almonds, popping candies, freeze-dried yogurt and dragon fruit dices. The packaging uses high-barrier material to keep the yogurt fresh and extend its shelf life.

Consumers’ expectations with regard to health are evolving. It’s no longer about calorie intake and getting rid of ‘undesirable’ ingredients like sugar. They crave products that are healthy, tasty and offer playful experiences. Targeting young consumers, Chunzhen makes use of ingredients like proteins and popping candies that contribute to health and playfulness. The brand also aims to expand its consumption scenario by blurring the boundaries of yogurt and snacks, supporting the high levels of usage of yogurts as a guilt-free snack. 

Brands can provide consumers with sources of positivity in daily life. Opportunities prevail to associate yogurt and yogurt drinks with mood enhancement. Brands could take advantage of unique and multi-layer textures such as smooth, crunchy or chewy that are consumers’ most desired comfort food textures, to better satisfy their emotionally engaging consumption demand. Beyond the indulgence offered by the tasty eating experience, the connection between gut health and emotional wellbeing can also strengthen the mood-boosting associations.

Victoria Li – Senior Analyst, Mintel Trends, China

Medicine for your skin – Japan

Skincare brand matsukiyo LAB released a new sunscreen cream containing the medical-grade skincare ingredient Heparinoid, commonly used to aid healing.The company also released a gel sunscreen, containing Heparinoids. Both products are SPF 50+ PA++++ and also contain Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, which helps soothe irritated or inflamed skin, and is said to improve texture and feel of the product. 

Japan is well known for its trustworthy drugstores and extensive cosmeceutical product lines. (matsukiyo LAB’s parent company is Japanese drugstore chain MatsukiyoCocokara & Co.) Adding medical ingredients into drugstore cosmetic products can excite consumers who are already well versed with drugstore products and want something more potent and effective. As sunscreen is already commonly seen as an essential daily-use product, innovating around suncare products could mean higher adoption rates as consumers can easily add it to their established routine. Using medical-grade ingredients also shows the amount of research and innovation that is put into the brand, and could make the brand more appealing to savvy consumers.

As markets start removing COVID-19 restrictions, there will be a renewed focus on skincare and cosmetic products as consumers increase their social activities. To capture consumer attention, beauty and personal care brands can think about including more innovative ingredients which have both beautifying and protective functions.

Victoria Li – Senior Analyst, Mintel Trends, China

Coffee Made for Plant-based Milks – Australia

Australian coffee brand Vittoria created a new coffee blend with a sweeter profile that will complement the bitterness of unsweetened plant-based milks. As the plant-based dairy industry continues to grow, the product is well suited to  appeal to Australia’s plant-based milk drinkers by creating a coffee product specifically for them. It diversifies product offerings, while staying true to its roots as a serious coffee company.

COVID-19 has made consumers increasingly aware of their health and the need to take care of it. The connection between the protection of the environment and continued human life has become increasingly apparent with rising global temperatures. The alternative foods industry replacing dairy and meat tackles both issues, and will only continue to flourish and be championed by consumers. Brands that hope to do well in this market need to find ways of ensuring their entire supply chain reflects this sustainable, healthy narrative and communicates it authentically to the consumer.

Joey Khong–  Analyst, Mintel Trends, Southeast Asia

Skincare Shampoo – Finland

Haircare brand XZ has launched a range of hair products using skincare ingredients. The new XZ Kaste range includes a shampoo, a conditioner and a hair serum, all of which include hyaluronic acid and betaine derived from Finnish sugar beet. These ingredients help to moisturise both hair and scalp, particularly in cold and dry winter conditions. 

Holistic approaches to health are influencing consumers to think differently about wellness, beauty and self-care, leading brands to add health-boosting and functional ingredients into products. Brands have added skincare ingredients such as collagen to food and drink, and probiotics and microbial extracts to skincare products. This appeals to consumers who recognise that taking care of their bodies and minds isn’t down to one act, but is impacted by a range of factors. 

Personalisation plays an increasingly important role in the future of wellness, as consumers seek solutions tailored specifically to their individual needs. Brands find more opportunities in personalised beauty and personal care products, and will create spaces for consumers to mix their own. These tailored products will allow consumers to more accurately meet their needs, but will require solutions that help them understand their own bodies.

Daniel Takacs– Associate Analyst, Mintel Trends, Europe

No to Anti-ageing – UK

The Body Shop announced it will no longer discuss and promote anti-ageing in its marketing. The Drops of Youth line was  rebranded with Edelweiss as an active ingredient, in an effort to alter the narrative from promoting anti-ageing to finding strength in age.

Brands in the beauty industry have a crucial responsibility to offer tailored solutions that empower consumers  to find the best ways to nurture and appreciate their bodies . As themes around self-love, acceptance and freedom of self-expression grow, consumers will become increasingly scrutinous of brands that are not in alignment with this narrative, and will be calling on them to deliver products that mirror their claims.

Consumers want products, services and experiences that allow them to feel empowered, confident and strong. There is an increased demand for authenticity and high-quality beauty products with ingredients that do products justice. Moving forward, brands will need to research the effectiveness, quality and compatibility of various skincare products to ensure they deliver on claims being made. 

Daniel Takacs– Associate Analyst, Mintel Trends, Europe

Coffee Ball – Switzerland

Swiss coffee company Delica, a subsidiary of Swiss supermarket chain Migros, has launched a capsule-free coffee pod brand called CoffeeB. The innovative concept consists of marble-sized balls of pressed coffee, and a coffee machine designed especially for the balls. Unlike regular coffee pods that come in an aluminium or plastic capsule, the CoffeeB balls are encased in a transparent, home-compostable protective layer. 

Protecting the environment is a priority for a growing number of consumers. In response, coffee pod brands have been developing more sustainable coffee capsules. Some brands have managed to eliminate aluminium and plastic waste by encasing their coffee in compostable capsules – however, these capsules are only compostable under industrial conditions. CoffeeB’s innovation eliminates waste almost entirely.

Many consumers enjoy the convenience of using coffee pods at home and protect the environment by reducing the amount of waste they produce.

Daniel Takacs– Associate Analyst, Mintel Trends, Europe

Digital Scent- Brazil

O Boticário has developed a solution that transmits the fragrances of its products through a digital tablet. In practice, instead of allowing consumers to test scents via the pages of paper catalogs, sellers will be able to present fragrances to Brazilian consumers as part of an innovative ‘phygital’ experience. The perfumed catalog presents images of the available products on a screen and, with just one click, transmits the scent selected by the consumer.

One of the main impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic in the beauty category was an increased interest in experimentation with products that are sensory, like perfume products. Despite economic difficulties, applying perfume has maintained its position as a key part of the routines of many Brazilian consumers. As is the case with Boticário, many beauty brands in Brazil sell their products through catalogs. Now, sales consultants have the opportunity to carry a tablet with them, inviting their clients to make use of this digital innovation to test new scents which will reinforce in-person sales and bolster the personal bonding aspect of sales consultancy.

Beatriz Monteiro- Senior Analyst, Mintel Trend, Latin America

Five Paw Hotel – Mexico

MUMBii is a hotel for dogs, cats and exotic animals, with all the necessary facilities for a pleasant stay. The hotel includes a hospital, grooming area, coffee shop and a shop offering customizable items and merchandise. There is also an area reserved only for kittens, designed using the temperatures and light levels recommended by an ethologist. The same level of expert advice is applied in the space dedicated to exotic animals.

The long periods of time spent at home during the pandemic made the bond between pets and owners stronger than ever. With consumers looking to travel, the hospitality industry is expanding and adjusting to welcome post-COVID families, including pets. Pet owners today consider themselves  pet parents, willing to invest what is necessary to avoid separation anxiety. There are merging hotels that create amenities specially designed for pets, as well as luxury proposals for those pets left in the care of experts at home. 

With pets being just as important as people in contemporary families, the offer of experiences that provide enjoyment and connection between families and pets will be greatly appreciated among consumers. Brands can create communities of pet-loving customers through membership schemes that reward loyalty. Other proposals may include applications that connect neighbors with pets so that they can meet up and forge a bond and, in the future, provide care to each other’s pets if any of the group members must travel.

Beatriz Monteiro- Senior Analyst, Mintel Trend, Latin America

In-store Vertical Farm – Chile

Implemented by Walmart’s Líder supermarket, this Urban Farm relies on vertical hydroponics to grow produce. The farm is located inside a container that can be found in the parking lot of one of Líder’s branches. The company grows and harvests produce such as lettuce and basil year-round. The farm was developed in partnership with local start-up Urbana Grow, which has created an automated farming system powered by solar energy. Production is organized around the needs of the store, avoiding overproduction and reducing food waste.

Walmart has responded innovatively and proactively to changing consumer behaviors and preoccupations through automated checkout machines and new sustainability initiatives. The brand’s new urban garden is an activation that hints at the challenges that retail businesses currently face with balancing sustainability with convenience. Competition with online platforms is raising the stakes when it comes to convenience and speed, prompting companies to update their infrastructure in a bid to stay in the commerce loop. As more virtual players enter the market, traditional brick-and-mortar stores should keep an eye on every sales channel. Operating as a multichannel organization is becoming the norm in these fast-paced times.

There’s potential to use formats like urban farms as experiential enhancers in the case of supermarkets and retailers that are seeing a drop in footfall. Consumers will increasingly seek interesting experiences that remind them of the benefits of offline life. Tangible experiences like urban farms that allow shoppers to get in touch with the physical processes behind their veggies can help brands enhance their proposals while reducing their environmental footprints.

Beatriz Monteiro- Senior Analyst, Mintel Trend, Latin America

NFT Restaurant – US

Members-only restaurant Fly Fish Club is launching an NFT membership model in New York. Entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk and his hospitality company VCR Group have announced that they will open the world’s first NFT restaurant. Membership to the exclusive restaurant will only be available to holders of limited edition non-fungible tokens (NFTs) that are purchased using cryptocurrency.These NFTs function as a membership card, and provide entrance to the cocktail lounge and high-end seafood restaurant that will employ a sushi chef serving fish flown in daily from Japan. The meals are not included in the membership fee, and need to be paid for in non-crypto currency (US dollars).

NFTs are entering all industries, including the hospitality sector. Consumers see owning an NFT as prestigious due to their scarcity. Since Fly Fish Club only offers a limited number of memberships, consumers will need to look to buy or trade in order to secure access to the restaurant once all the NFTs are sold. With this model of membership, consumers can see the NFT as an asset because token holders have the option to lease their token to a non-token holder on a monthly basis. Combining NFTs with upscale dining adds to this atmosphere of exclusivity, making them an attractive option for wealthy consumers who would enjoy the gamification of membership.

As NFTs become more popular and widely adopted by major brands, consumers are trusting that owning an NFT will be profitable in the future. For brands to have lasting success with their NFT collections, consumers will need to have a clear understanding of how owning these tokens will provide them with utility. Tying NFT ownership with a redeemable experience or product provides consumers with more confidence in purchasing a premium product in the form of an NFT.

Kimberly Hernandez – Associate Analyst, Mintel Trends, North America

AI Already Noted It Down – US

Notion AI will add auto-fill capabilities to the note-taking app Notion. This feature will learn from users and automatically generate content. Users will just need to tell the app what they want to write (eg blog post, email template) to make the writing process easier. The app is designed to provide automated first drafts, giving users a starting point to make their own edits and additions.

AI is rapidly advancing due to improved datasets and innovation in machine learning. Since AI cannot exist as a standalone product, brands are integrating this technology into their own systems, providing consumers with added convenience. Saving time is at the core of why consumers embrace new technologies. For consumers, this can help both automate tedious tasks and improve their ability to focus on more creative endeavors.

Consumers’ growing use of technology has contributed to feelings of fatigue and exhaustion. Consumers’ screen time may be a source of stress in their lives, driving them toward solutions that can help them cut down on the time they spend on their devices. With this, AI may prove to be a problem-solving technology that can automate and streamline time-consuming tasks by learning from consumers’ behaviors and habits. This convenience factor may convince consumers to give up their personal data in exchange for a time-saving service.

Kimberly Hernandez – Associate Analyst, Mintel Trends, North America

The Almond Project-  US

Simple Mills, Daily Harvest and Cappello’s are all coming together to work with the growers at Treehouse California Almonds. The goal of the program is to bring together farmers, scientists and food brands to implement and evaluate regenerative farming practices for almonds. According to The Almond Project website, California supplies 80% of the world’s almonds, and the impact of climate change is driving an immediate need to reimagine current farming practices. This program is designed to test new standards for regenerative agriculture, and serve as a resource to empower broader sustainable farming habits across industries.

Almonds have become a key ingredient for diet alternative foods, from gluten-free to dairy-free products. However, the significant amount of water that is required for almond production has made consumers question the environmental impact of almond-based food and drink. As consumers increasingly merge the health of the planet with their own personal wellbeing decisions, plant-based products face the same environmental questions and scrutiny of traditional animal-based food production practices.

Climate change requires cross-sector collaboration, which requires brands to take a more holistic look at their supply chain. Brands are the go-between for farmers and consumers, and it falls on them to support both ends of the food chain. Looking forward, the private sector will not only be held accountable for more sustainable products, but also their efforts in serving as a resource for education and guidance.

Kimberly Hernandez – Associate Analyst, Mintel Trends, North America

If you would like to learn more, check out other hotspots our analysts have identified in markets around the globe recently: April | May| June| July|  August |September | October| November

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