Sustain Weekly — Introducing ‘M’ — The Urban Superfood Shopper.
“Don’t count the days, make the days count” — Muhammad Ali
Which water did you look into further?
- Detox Water
- Birch Water
- Maple Water
- Cactus Water
- Artichoke Water
Artichoke? Birch? — No? Why? Are you not feeling hipster enough?Last week, I wrote about the emerging varieties of water and plant and tree based beverages. Then, during the week, I researched further into the emerging trends in the beverage markets and how some of them are designed and packaged into selling into a specific demographic (20s to 40s). New food and beverages that are lining up at the supermarkets today are different from what you saw 10 years back. We have a new category: ‘superfoods’. I’ll name a few and you tell me when you first heard of it — Greek Yogurt, Quinoa, Kale, Chia, Kefir etc.
But before that, back to tree-based water
The most popular today is still coconut water here. Vastly popular in South Asian countries that it is not even promoted as a health drink. But, it ranks way above than other tree waters in our regions — maybe because we don’t have birch or maple trees growing in our part of the world!
The water from the sap of the birch tree is not new. It is nutrient rich and locals have been extracting it for centuries. Similarly, maple tree water has been in use for a long time. But all these tree waters are hitting the store shelves today because there is a small, significant and growing urban audience for superfoods today.Let’s call the dominant persona of this segment as ‘M’. ‘M’ has an elastic perspective of pricing unlike the generation before. So, ‘M’ buys a $700 phone and assumes that he won a great deal and ticked off all of ‘Fast, Good, and Cheap”. Only thing is $700 is not cheap by any standard. Similarly, for tree waters, the price for a pack of 12 bottles: Birch tree water: $42; Maple Water: $35; Cactus Water: $40; Coconut Water: $25; Detox water: $20 is not cheap.
The elasticity in the perception of what is cheap and what is not has led ‘M’ to buy expensive super foods because he perceives them to be quick and effective, and worth the price. This is the same way he sees Quinoa, Kale, and anything that is promoted as an alternative lifestyle in terms of food. Companies love ‘M’ as the cost to market products to him is easier. M if the kind of person who buys Almond Milk instead of Cow Milk, even when it has no protein.
But, if you’re a shopper, but unlike M, who shops more for necessities and less for what all is on shelves, it will become increasingly difficult to dodge product placements and promotions.
Retail stores will start to change based on what is hip and trendy. To escape this marketing push, you have to start learning to dodge unnecessary products like how Ali dodged Dokes’s 21 punches in a corner. Pick what you need and dodge what you don’t. But, without ‘M’ as a trendy and hipster consumer, there is less food and retail shelf innovation. So, he’s a necessary evil. We’ll discuss more about this evolution of food as it applies to this generation in future weeklies. Till then, float like a butterfly — sting like a bee.
Some other things I found interesting from last week.
- Here is a profile of my favorite robotics hobbyist — Simone Giertz — the queen of shitty robots.
- US banned ivory trade. The country is the second largest market for ivory. The reduction in demand will reduce poaching in Africa.
- Uber funded with $3.5 billion from Saudi Arabia. Where is Lyft, Ola going to get that money from? Other gulf oil countries? We’ll know soon.
- The majority of corals in Great Barrier Reef corals are soon to be dead. Global warming leading to bleaching of these corals.
- L’oreal is using its wearable skin patch as a color changing patch that can detect skin cancer. I covered skin patches in an earlier newsletter. Check it out here.
- The Indus Valley Civilization is not the oldest civilization. They found one that is 2500 years older, right in our backyard in Sivaganga district in Tamil Nadu, India.
- Timberland is making shoes and bags from recycled plastic bottles. In partnership with a Pittsburgh based company called Thread that manufacturers sustainable fabrics.
- 33 tigers were seized from the controversial Buddhist temple in Thailand. They also found 40 dead tiger cubs in the freezer. Animals and Humans need separate habitats to thrive.
- A research study claims that a busy coffee shop is a great place to spark creativity. Basically, ambient noise (~70 dbs) stimulated the creative areas in the brain. Don’t close down your laptop and head to a joint yet. Just play the background sound from a YouTube link (I liked this one).
Also, you should consider watching
- How the art business has become a multi-billion dollar industry?
- Mary Meeker’s internet Trends. The internet based industry is changing as we know it.
- A sample of how things might look in the future of retail when hyper reality kicks in. You might want to stay in the present.
- Microsculpture: The insect photography of Levon Bliss. Incredible images of insects in striking high resolution detail. On display at Oxford University Museum of Natural History: 27 May to Oct 2016. If you live in England, don’t miss.
Arcluster announces the early launch of its market tracker for milk alternatives and trends from around the world. Market trackers provide a more seamless and continuous coverage of trends, market size, pricing, shipments, bids, vendor shares for the markets we cover. The tracker is available for pre-booking as well with exclusive rights. Watch the news space to see the launch of these studies. For the latest news from the company, follow us on Twitter here, LinkedIn here and Like us on Facebook here.
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I manage market research and consulting at Arcluster, an innovation design and market consulting company that does research and consulting on micro emerging markets and sustainable solutions. You can reach me on twitter at @anirmal or via email firstname.lastname@example.org