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This week's top five cultural insights and e-commerce trends

Business · 3 min read

AOB: 25 January 2019

What are the big stories in global commerce? And what do they mean for your business? AOB helps you stay ahead of the curve – here are this week’s top five insights and trends from around the world.

Ethical eating in Italy

Increased awareness surrounding the dangerous effects of palm oil has driven the creation of alternative products in Italy, with six in ten consumers here actively avoiding foods containing the controversial substance. A new Barilla chocolate spread is already set to rival Nutella’s dominant position in the market, but this latest hazelnut offering will be palm-oil free – as well as boasting a lower saturated fat content. Coinciding with Italian consumer demand for ethical food that is also better for them, ‘free from’ trends are now becoming mainstream in the pasta capital of the world.

No matter what business you’re in, there are probably some untapped opportunities you haven’t considered awaiting you overseas. For more information on the ones you could be exploring, read our article on six unlikely trade relationships.

Supermarkets are ready for goat

With nearly 100,000 young male goats euthanized every year in the UK, supermarkets are now trialing recipes for goat sausages, meatballs and ready meals, marketed as an ‘ethical’ alternative. Set to be the next big foodie trend in 2019 (or one of many at least), this unusual meat has already started showing up on restaurant menus serving Caribbean and African food. While Australia is currently the world’s biggest exporter, it is struggling to keep up with the escalating demand, already shipping 90% of its produce abroad. It's opening up a new opportunity for traders to get involved, following a trend where consumers are increasingly concerned with the contents of their plate.

Wonky fruit and veg are also set for expansion this year, alongside a marked rise in vegan products. Be sure to make the wellness of both our bodies and the planet a key focus of any consumable business going forwards - it's shaping up to be THE key food trend of 2019.

Package up the right way

Consumers are no longer just investigating a product’s environmental impact but the packaging it comes in. A recent report from Ipsos found that 67% of consumers are influenced by the material of a product’s packaging when making purchase decisions, making it yet another important factor to consider when developing your business. Others include whether the packaging is suitable for on-the-go consumption, or if it displays detailed information such as the nutritional values for food. To combat such demands and to boost sustainability, some brands are now reducing how much material is required by displaying scannable QR codes instead. These allow consumers to learn more about what they want through their smart devices, while also linking them to further products for purchase.

Such initiatives highlight the importance of incorporating your brand’s environmental ethos into every aspect of the product and its supply chain, while also positioning such efforts at the forefront of marketing.

Eco-underwear on demand

Despite being an established, aging industry, the women’s underwear market is showing that it still has space for disruption. 91% say they would prefer to buy intimates made of more eco-friendly natural fibers, minimizing their environmental impact. This is where startup Knickey comes in, offering direct-to-consumer, recyclable underwear as part of a subscription service. Made of 100% organic, breathable cotton, this new company is tapping into simultaneous desires for environmentally friendly products that are also convenient to purchase.

If you want to get into the subscription industry, check out our latest article on the benefits of this popular digital model as well as some top tips on how to get into the space.

Policing the free-trial period

For brands interested in adopting the subscription model however, Mastercard’s new policy will make it more difficult for companies to convert free trials into recurring charges automatically. They will now require some merchants to acquire explicit approval from the cardholder once the free trial period expires and before taking a subscription fee.

While approval can easily be obtained by email or text message, the policy will then require the subscriber to reconfirm their payment at each regular installment. This will be of great benefit to consumers who simply forget to cancel their service. However, as the third-largest credit card processor in the US, Mastercard’s changes will also impact businesses who rely upon their users becoming used to their service without consciously paying for it.

Be sure to update the information displayed on your website for current and prospective users to reflect these changes. While it may seem that they will negatively affect sign-ups, this greater transparency could actually increase lead generation and increase consumer trust in your business.

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