22 Feb

Trendswatch | New Business Insight From The Past Week

Last week we celebrated pancake day and we also found out that side parts and the laughing emoji are no longer in fashion, leaving many of us feeling very old and uncool.

This week’s trend report is a busy one! I shall be delving into dating- apps, 3D meat, brands getting social and the revival of the high street.

Dating-apps

Dating in lockdown is well…interesting. To quote Helena Bonham Carter in Bumble’s latest advert “how are you supposed to get out there when you’ve been made to stay in?”

However, every cloud has a silver lining and here it is dating apps! One dating app that is smashing it at the moment is Bumble. Founded by Whitney Wolfe Herd in 2014, Bumble is the first app to bring dating, friend-finding, and career-building into a single social networking platform. On Thursday the brand was valued at at $8.2bn as investors snapped up the shares.

Online dating is now the norm, and throughout the ongoing pandemic, it has been a big relief for some. There are several dating services that are present in the UK alongside Bumble to be keeping an eye on. Beyond Tinder and Hinge, I’d also keep an eye on Badoo, Wamba, Trueview and Blueheart.

3D-Printed Meat

Yep, that’s right 3D-printed meat, or Alt-Meat if you want to sound really cool, is now a thing. Plant-based innovator Redefine Meat has raised £20.8m from a group of investors to bring its 3D-printed meat substitutes to a wider commercial market.

In July 2020, the business showcased its first plant-based steak products using industrial-scale 3D printing, which it claimed offered the taste, texture and appearance of beef steak. The brand also recently conducted a blind tasting of its alternative meat, with more than 90% of the 600 participants finding the meat substitute “indistinguishable” from animal meat.

Brands Get Social

The whole brands commenting on other brands social media posts is nothing new. Take for example the Twitter war between Taco Bell and Old Spice. Last week it was Weetabix that was in the firing line after tweeting a rather ghastly picture of beans on top of the breakfast cereal. The tweet racked up over one billion views, becoming the number one trending topic on Twitter, and sparking headlines in national newspapers. Many other big food and drink brands joined the fray on Twitter, including Nando’s, which asked “you okay hun?”

Weetabix sales surged thanks to a viral post, highlighting how important a brand’s presence on twitter is. Being on twitter gives the impression that a brand is ‘cool’ and intertwined with the culture, creating an almost cult-like feel –BrewDog is a prime example of this. In fact, there is a whole section on twitter’s website that dissects the Brands + Culture + Twitter= Impact formula. I’d say definitely worth checking out!

The Revival Of The High Street

It is said that non-essential shops may be opening in the next couple of months. However, once the initial rush of shoppers has passed, the high street will need to be seriously revived now that we have all got used to online shopping.

Westminster City Council has taken note of this, and has unveiled plans to build a 25-metre tall climbable hill overlooking Marble Arch in a bid to lure shoppers back to Oxford Street once lockdown ends. Called ‘Marble Arch Hill’, the structure is set to be decorated with grass and trees and will overlook Hyde Park and the western entrance to the mile-long shopping street.

Alongside Marble Arch Hill, the Council yesterday unveiled a swathe of other planned works designed to lure shoppers back to the surrounding area. These include more pedestrian space, pop-up parks, open-air theatres, and other playful cultural and leisure activities.

Revitalising the high street will require consideration of the entire area and a holistic approach to regeneration. Creating green, attractive and welcoming open spaces is essential to a renewed high street – both for customers and businesses, for whom location is everything.

Check-in next week for more trends! 😊