6 standout innovations from the Mintel Big Conversation 2021

July 22, 2021
6 min read

Following this year’s informative first all-virtual Mintel Big Conversation, our Global Food & Drink Analyst Ophélie Buchet and Senior Innovation Analyst Rosalia Di Gesu highlight some of the standout disruptive innovative products featured at the event.

These food/drink and beauty innovations are rated ‘best in class’ by both Mintel clients and our analysts, and tap into three on-trend themes:

  • Mental Wellbeing – how brands are being guided by experts, and are focusing on rituals and customisation. 
  • Value – how ‘value’ can encompass more than just price/affordability, and is driving brands to be more focused on price transparency.
  • Sustainability – how brands are being more disruptive, more transparent and more reassuring around their product’s eco credentials.

Mental Wellbeing

PepsiCo launches Soul Boost for mental clarity and relaxation 

Mental wellbeing has been at the centre of the pandemic with people feeling more stressed and looking for products to help them relax. In the US, Pepsico looks beyond stress and relaxation benefits to provide drinks that are customised to its consumers’ own mental wellbeing challenges. Soulboost was launched in two versions, acknowledging that some consumers might struggle with mental clarity/concentration while others are finding it difficult to relax/unwind. 

With this launch, Pepsico communicates the importance of building customised rituals that boost people’s mood with products that comfort the senses as well as have proven functional ingredients to support mental health.

Source: Get Soul Boost

Selfmade offers physical and digital products/concepts

Beauty & Personal Care (BPC) brands are increasingly providing more than just physical/topical products in an effort to tap into mental wellbeing trends. A recent example is US skincare brand Selfmade.

The wellness-focused brand offers both physical products and digital services that are designed to work in tandem as an ‘ecosystem’ to support emotional wellbeing.

The physical products comprise a serum and an exfoliating scalp/body scrub; while the two-fold digital services are a CommonRoom app (to help users track/check in on their emotions) and a Community Zine website hub.

To generate trust in the brand/concept, Selfmade stresses its collaborative approach – and specifically how the brand was created with the support of mental health experts (eg psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, trauma professionals).

The brand also aligns with wellbeing trends by recognising that beauty rituals can provide consumers with a dedicated time and space to reflect and unwind. Indeed, during the COVID-19 pandemic especially, many consumers have been actively using beauty/grooming routines to help them reduce stress. Selfcare strongly promotes the notion that emotional wellbeing should be as much of a ritual as daily skincare routines.

Source: Be Selfmade


Daily Harvest promotes value with MYLK frozen triangles

As a result of the pandemic, consumers are spending more time cooking at home and are re-evaluating how they perceive value; for example products that justify their price by being easy-to-use across multiple occasions and with longer shelf lives. 

In the US, Daily Harvest is set to revolutionise ‘format’ in the plant-based milk category with its recent launch of its MYLK pre-portioned concentrated almond paste to be stocked in the freezer. The format is praised as highly versatile and bringing much-needed flexibility to a category that is gradually expanding usage beyond traditional occasions (eg breakfast).

Moreover, Daily Harvest MYLK’s value proposition is communicated in other ways. The MYLK format allows the company to avoid the usage of gums, preservatives and fillers, and can therefore be positioned as clean label. Because the product is in a dehydrated form (in a category that uses water as its main ingredient), MYLK also limits packaging and transport emissions.

Source: Daily Harvest

Degree Inc brings value with its inclusive and convenient approach

Linking value to convenience and accessibility, while also being inclusive, is Unilever’s disruptive Degree Inclusive deodorant for people with visual impairment or upper limb motor issues.

The innovation recognises that sometimes the ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach doesn’t always work. For example, twisting a standard deodorant cap, turning a deodorant stick, or pushing down on a deodorant aerosol can be a real challenge for those with limited arm mobility.

The product features a hooked design for one-handed usage; magnetic closures for easier removal and closure of the cap; enhanced grip placement for easier application; braille labelling; and a larger roll-on applicator to reach more surface area per swipe.

We expect more brands to bring value by either catering for specialised/specific needs or simply by being more inclusive-minded – so that BPC products are convenient/easy to use for all consumers.

Source : PR Newswire and Unilever


Rainforest Water brings aluminium bottles to the water category

Consumers in the water category are still worried by the overuse of single-use plastics, and actively looking for ways to reduce their plastic footprint. Although there are pros and cons to every pack format and material, aluminium bottles and cans are recycled at a rate of 70% – a claim any brand would be proud to promote on pack.

In the US, Rainforest Water not only touts its artesian Costa Rican water source, but its #kissplasticgoodbye campaign highlights the circularity and reduced carbon footprint made possible by the use of reusable and recyclable aluminium bottles vs single-use plastic. 

Beyond the pack, Rainforest Water rewards consumers with a Reforestation Rewards Device, which invests in conservation and reforestation of local forests in Costa Rica. The device also informs consumers of the progress and impact of their investment. On a more practical level, the key to purchase intent is the vivid graphics of wildlife species native to Costa Rica, set against the shimmering brushed-aluminium bottles.

Source: Rainforest Water

Eco-friendly SOAPBOTTLE disrupts with its soap-made container

Boldly standing out amid an increasing number of eco-minded BPC innovations is SOAPBOTTLE.

This creative, plastic-free and waste-minimising innovation reassesses the concept of ‘standard’ packaging, and is imaginatively inspired by the ice cream wafer. Indeed, the inventor perceived the ‘wafer’ component as essentially a consumable outer pack – and sought to replicate the concept in SOAPBOTTLE.

As the brand name suggests, SOAPBOTTLE comprises a solid ‘container’ made of hollowed-out soap, and filled with liquid soap. Once empty, the soap-based container can be repurposed as a traditional piece of soap – providing value for money as well as eco benefits.

Source: Kickstarter

Want to find out more?

Explore more innovative products presented at “Big Conversation 2021: Innovation Hub” by logging into clients.mintel.com. Not yet a client? Get in touch with us by sending an email to bigconvoemea@mintel.com and we will share the presentation with you. 

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