Food companies have taken notice of America’s love for air frying. Since 2017 Americans have spent an increasing amount of money on air fryers, with nearly $1 billion spent in 2022.
Several big name food brands continue to develop products that are air-fried or that can be made in an air-fryer. Campbell Soup’s Kettle Brand recently introduced air-fried potato chips to the market. Nestle is producing a number of frozen products that consumers are encouraged to prepare in the air-fryer, and Gorton’s Seafood, Kellogg, and Hormel Foods have added air-frying instructions to many of their frozen products. Tyson Foods’ air fried line has reached up to $100 million in sales.
According to CNBC, Adam Graves, Nestle U.S’s Pizza and Snacking Division President, says that air frying is “the biggest trend that we’re seeing right now in modern cooking”.
Some people were skeptical that the air-frying trend, which boomed during the Covid-19 pandemic, would quickly disappear. But so far, the opposite has proven to be true. Now that people are expected to go back to the office, they appreciate that air-frying provides a quick, healthy method of cooking, and they continue to purchase air-fryers.
Some estimates suggest that 60% of American homes now contain an air fryer, and while this makes it far less popular than the microwave, the air fryer has recently surpassed the grill to become the fourth most popular cooking appliance in America today.
It is safe to assume that most Americans would consider Amazon and Target to be the most popular online retailers, along with some other well-known conglomerates. And until the Super Bowl last Sunday, that stood true. But now, in a surprising turn of events, a new online shopping platform has become the most downloaded app in the United States, surpassing even the biggest names in the industry.
Temu is an online shopping destination for just about everything, including clothing, houseware items, electronics, and much more. Based in Boston, it shares the same parent company as the Chinese e-commerce icon, Pinduoduo. The target market is anyone looking for great deals. And, with prices like $11 for a smart watch and $8.50 for wireless earphones, it’s not hard to understand the ultra-quick popularity Temu has gained.
In its 30-second Super Bowl slot, word about Temu reached millions of US homes. The ad focused on bargain prices yet feeling like a billionaire. The background song played: “The prices blow my mind. I feel so rich. I feel like a billionaire.”
According to Sensor Tower, since its release in September, the Temu app has been downloaded 24 million times.
Lablaco is an Italian company that helps fashion brands digitize their products. The idea behind the movement is that, like many industries, it’s only a matter of time before the fashion world goes completely digital. The “phygital” fashion market will see consumers purchasing both physical items and their digital “twins” which avatars will wear in the metaverse.
In an effort to establish a more sustainable and profitable approach to fashion, Lorenzo Albrighi and Eliana Kuo co-founded Lablaco in 2016 and serve as co-CEOs. They are believers in circular fashion, where clothing is designed and produced with methods focused on reducing waste. The pair hopes to use blockchain technology to promote this effort.
In the model developed by Lablaco, when a physical item is purchased, its digital equivalent remains paired to it. If the physical item is resold, its digital twin moves to the owner’s digital wallet, so that authenticity is apparent and the designer can follow where its creation goes.
While the fashion industry presently generates 92 million tons of waste each year, digitizing fashion will significantly reduce these numbers. If a designer currently needs to create an item in 10 different colors to test it out, the same item can be released into the metaverse in 10 different hues. Sales specs could be studied to determine which version to produce physically.
In the metaverse, opportunities are endless. While this is a new spin for fashion, it is clear that many industries in the world are headed in this direction. And, as usual, fashion will continue to keep up with the times.
In 2015, the retailer REI first announced that its stores would be closed on Black Friday. This was a dramatic message at the time, as the day after Thanksgiving is known to be the most popular shopping day of the year, with stores offering competitive sales. From then, the store continued in its path of shutting its doors on Black Friday, making the decision on a year-to-year basis. Now, however, the company has announced that every aspect of the business will be closed on Black Friday every year. This includes all 178 of its retail stores, its call centers, headquarters, and distribution locations – giving a paid vacation day to 16,000 employees.
In recent years, the excitement of Black Friday has been slowly waring off. The younger generation is less willing to wake up at the crack of dawn and wait outside on line for hours to get a good deal. Additionally, many companies have extended their “Black Friday sale” to the days leading up to Thanksgiving, or the days after – leaving less pressure to shop specifically on that Friday.
Following REI, a new trend has been noted with retailers choosing to “Opt Outside.” The movement prioritizes spending the day outdoors, creating experiences, and basically doing anything other than shopping. The CEO of REI, Eric Artz, says: “Opt Outside has always been about prioritizing the experience of our employees, choosing the benefits of time outside over a day of consumption and sales. When we first introduced this movement, it was considered revolutionary for a retail brand, but we felt it was the right thing to do for our members and employees.”
While most retailers are still open for business on Black Friday, the change in thinking is revolutionary and sure to continue shifting trends in consumerism as the years go on.
Everyone is familiar with the content feeling of walking through smooth, silky sand at the beach only to be suddenly irked by stepping on something hard and painful. While it may sometimes be a seashell, often we stomp on all sorts of litter, frequently bottle caps.
As part of Coca-Cola’s “World Without Waste” initiative, the company’s UK branch has begun manufacturing new models of its plastic bottles. The new design features an attached cap, making it easier to recycle the whole piece and eliminate tossing the caps. The global initiative’s main mission is to collect and recycle one can or bottle for every one that they sell by 2030. It also aims to produce cans and bottles made of 50% recyclable material by 2030 and to offer 100% recyclable packaging by 2025.
Jon Woods, Coca-Cola Great Britain’s general manager, explained the new bottle design: “This is a small change that we hope will have a big impact, ensuring that when consumers recycle our bottles, no cap gets left behind.”
In addition to the pollution problem the loose caps pose, it is also an image concern for companies like Coke. The population notices the shorelines and landfills overflowing with these items, associating the trash with the company and negatively impacting their brand’s reputation. New regulations by the EU also require companies to attach the caps to some plastic bottles by the end of 2024.
While some environmentalists believe Coca-Cola should switch from plastic to reusable containers, the shift the UK spur is making in its bottle design is surely a step in the right direction.