TREND : Free information & Stylist magazine

It’s new, it’s free, and it’s really really good.  Stylist is a quality women’s weekly which comes out every Wednesday and can be found at tube stations around London as well as in other locations around the country.  It’s not about the daily news, more about everything else us women might be interested in – put across with upbeat and interesting editorial, stylish art direction and great fashion and beauty content.  There’s no obvious celeb factor but even so, publications like Grazia must be shaking in their knee-high boots. 

It’s interesting to see how much free stuff there is now for consumers.  Even the Evening Standard announced it would become free –  and that carries a glossy magazine on a friday too.  

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BEAUTY : EASY BEAUTY – Nude

Easy Beauty

PRODUCT WATCH : Update : Neuro Drinks

In my Product Watch from LA I blogged about an interesting functional drink range called Neuro.  When I went into Selfridges at the weekend I couldn’t help but notice that they’ve now entered the UK market…just check out the colourful display.

One thing I didn’t mention in my initial post is that they offer junior versions of their drinks – ‘neuro junior’ – I haven’t seen this in a drinks range before. 

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Neuro drinks stand at Selfridges, London

PACKAGING : vida e caffe Recyclable Cups and Funky Moustache

The majority of takeout coffee cups are not recyclable which is really disappointing.  Even though I’m an exemplary recycler and eco-minded person I hate to think about the landfill caused by my Starbucks habit.  I was really pleased then to read about caffe e vida’s new recyclable cups which are made out of potato skins and the lids are made out of corn.  It feels kind of cool drinking from vegetable containers. 

In fact vide e caffe wins my vote in the cool stakes in many ways – I sung their praise in my Cape Town report earlier in the year.  I love their funky moustache campaign seen on cups and stirring sticks – enough to put a smile on your day.  I can’t wait until there is a store nearer me!

vidamoustache

Recyclable cups and moustache campaign

EYE : Ben’s Cookies – Great Use of Tiny Space

The new Ben’s Cookies store on Oxford Street is cute yet chic.  It’s a great use of teeny-tiny space too. 

Ben's Cookies

Ben's Cookies, Oxford Street. Apologies for the terrible picture which doesn't really highlight how cute or well executed this is..

 

PRODUCT WATCH : LA : Beverages

What’s happening in LA? : Beverages @ Wholefoods / grocery stores

1. Ayala’s Herbal Water The herbs in this beverage serve as flavouring rather than a health benefit which is a shame.  

2. Quinoa Gold Quinoa is only just starting to be recognized as a healthy food in the UK – although I’m not sure if many Brits could tell you exactly what it is and how you cook with it.  I’m only familiar with this grain as a baking / salad ingredient so I was interested to see it being used in a beverage (the new rice milk?). Claims to be the only beverage made with Quinoa.  The grain is high protein, antioxidant and contains “all 9 essential amino acids for life”.

3. Grainiassance Amazake Rice Shake Rice drinks go more decadent and almost meal replacements with tempting flavours such as Cool Cocunut with Almonds, Vanilla Gorilla and Tiger Chai. Made from organic whole grain brown rice. 

4. GT Kombucha & Synergy Teas made from a superfood kind of fungus.  Contain probiotics (as well as a host of other healthful ingredients).  Liked the packaging.

5. FloraVita 2000 An infusion of fruits and berries with flower of the black elder tree.  Claims to have anti-viral properties. 

6. Goodbelly Probiotic Fruit Drinks Dairy-free probiotic drinks with added multivitamin – carton sized as well as grab and go-s.  Nice identity. 

7. So Delicious Coconut Milk Move over soy – there’s a new product in the milk aisle! Loving the idea of coconut milk as a milk substitute…I wonder if it’s too sickly to make a latte out of? I also saw ice cream and yoghurt made out of coconut milk (Turtle Mountain range and Larry and Luna’s Organic Coconut Bliss)

8. Neuro Drinks A range of functional drinks with an eye catching if not slightly showergel kind of bottle design.  There are 7 different variants each with their own benefit – these range from weightloss and hydration to mental alertness and improved libido.  The Neuro Bliss variant which “promotes relaxation and improves mood” contains one of my all time favourite and under used supplements, Rhodiola Rosea.

Trends for the UK?

Of the trends and concepts above I think probiotic drinks and functional drinks (especially for cognitive enhancement) will go mainstream here.  I’m also thinking that the terms ‘anti-viral’ / anti-bacterial’ may become more commonly used (desired) when describing health benefits.

LA drinks

Ayala's Herbal Water, Quinoa Gold, Amazake Rice Shake, GT Kombucha

La Drinks 2

GT Synergy, Floravita2000, Goodbelly Probiotic Fruit Drink, So Delicious Coconut Milk, Neuro Sport

PRODUCT WATCH : LA : Crisps /snacking

What’s happening in LA? : Crisps/ snacks @ Wholefoods

1. Falafel chips – made with chickpeas, an apparently healthy crisp which is high in protein and Middle Eastern flavour. 

2. Hippie Chips with hemp (seed)- another healthy crisp option which claims to have 50% less fat than regular crisps.  I love the fun hippy name – very en vogue – but it’s a shame that they don’t offer some kind of omega benefit which hemp is known for. 

3. Glenny’s Soy Crisps – think these have been around for a while…low fat (s0me as low as 1g of fat per bag) and healthier than ‘regular’ crisps.

4. Dried Mulberries– look a bit like anaemic raspberries, apparently high in antioxidants including the resveratrol.

5. Terramazon Sachi Inchi – seeds from the fruit of a herbaceous vine native to the Amazon rainforest.  Rich in omega 3,6 and 9. 

6. Terramazon Yacon slices – melon tasting semi dried slices taken from the root of the Yacon plant.  Amongst other benefits these are prebiotic.

Snacks LAFalafel Chips, Hippie Chips with hemp, Glenny’s Soy Crisps, Terramazon Yacon slices

Fro-yo

Frozen yoghurt is big business in the US – particularly in SoCal where a mild weather lifestyle meets a health conscious consumer.  Despite issues with market saturation and the economic downturn, fro-yo still remains popular and it is slowly growing a fanbase in the UK with a number of joints popping up over London and the South East.  Frozen yoghurt is the ultimate healthy snack being (generally) fat-free, delicious and tastes kind of like ice cream.  Due to its frozen nature, it also takes a while to eat – so you get to indulge for longer and eat less calories than you would with a stack of biscuits or a chocolate bar.

Trends in the UK?

Whether we see soy or hemp crisps on our shelves or not, it’s certain that more innovative, healthier snack options will be available to the consumer soon. For example, take Pret founder Julian Metcalfe’s Skinny popcorn – at approx 3g of fat a bag, it’s a far better choice nutritionally than a packet of crisps – it tastes yummy too.  And with fro-yo – cute, small independent operations are opening up all over London – but might this extend to the big boys too? Sushi chain Itsu (another Julian Metcalfe venture) offers this healthy treat so could we see coffee chains or even McDonalds following suit?

STRATEGY : My Comments to Starbucks Customer Service

A little while ago I spoke to a charming and very efficient customer services representative at Starbucks about an issue I had with their loyalty card.

Although that issue was resolved seamlessly, I also felt the need to suggest the following :

1 : Offer auto top-up on company loyalty card : it’s a faff topping up a loyalty card as the process involves 2 card transactions – particularly off-putting at peak times (when you are most likely to be in there). Plus, why add something else to do to someone’s ever increasing list of things to do? I generally don’t bother to top up and instead pay with money or a debit card (1 transaction).  Also, when it comes to my caffeine habit I like to follow an ignorance is bliss strategy – I’d rather not know how much I’m spending on external coffees when I should be making them all at home.  By having to constantly top up myself I am only too aware of this expense. 

2 : Offer organic milk : Starbucks is really behind its competitors with this one.  The company focus on Fair Trade which is great, but I’m equally concerned with organic when it comes to milk – I want milk from cows who have a better diet and have grazed on grass. I’m sure I’m not alone on this one.

VISUAL MERCHANDISING : Aesthetically Pleasing Food Offer @ Starbucks

I admit to being quite partial to my daily latte from Starbucks, but never have I been tempted by their food offer – cheap and nasty looking pastries in a soulless and uninspiring counter display.  How many people have I seen grab their morning coffee from Starbucks only to choose their breakfast treat from the Paul’s nearby (where the displays are beautiful and product authentic). 

But now Starbucks have done a re-haul with their food.  The Live Well range is a healthier and more wholesome affair with new products and better ingredients…but what’s interesting is how appealing and stylish it looks thanks to a chic but really simple black design theme – which includes the pack, marketing material and cleverly, the black ‘boards’ which the products sit on.  It’s so effective that I catch myself staring at the food and contemplating a purchase.  On the occasions that I’ve visited, the counters have been pretty empty so I’m wondering if I’m not alone with these thoughts!

Starbucks display

BEAUTY : What’s New – September

What's New Sept