Weekly 'Pulse' Issue 72

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Turning Plastic Into Currency

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This year, Surabaya, in Indonesia, became the first to launch an initiative allowing citizens to buy their bus tickets with used plastic bottles. Surabaya residents receive a two-hour bus pass in exchange for five plastic bottles or ten plastic cups, depending on their size. The city is aiming to meet the ambitious target of becoming plastic-free by 2020.

At present, 15% (or 400 tonnes) of Surabaya’s daily waste is plastic, while Indonesia is estimated to be the world’s second-largest contributor to ocean plastic, after China.

Read more about this initiative here

How can we design reward systems to positively drive behaviour changes that tackle large-scale socio-economic challenges like sustainability?


Designer Vegetables From The Seed Up

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Forget so called ‘superfoods’. The next wave of nutritious and flavour packed veggies to hit the shelves may look much like your standard supermarket staples… but be selectively bred to extract superior flavour and nutrition from the start.

Leading the charge is Dan Barber. The chef and owner of New York restaurant Blue Hill has made it his life’s work to change the way we think about food (at all stages of the supply chain) – putting a focus on sustainability, nutrition and flavour ahead of traditional commercial agri-business prioritise like yield volume, uniformity and cost. However, it’s through his latest endeavour as a co-founder in seed company ‘Row 7’ that we’re beginning to see this mentality filter into the mainstream consumer market.

One of the first commercial products off the block is a new squash varietal – the "Robin's Koginut" – which can now be found on fast-casual chain Sweetgreen’s menu. The naturally bred (not genetically modified) squash is the culmination of months of development, pilot farming and recipe testing – producing a unique hybrid between the sweetness of a butternut and the texture of a Japanese kabocha.

Read more about Dan’s approach here and here

Or discover how other companies are elevating their approach to vegetable production and retailing here.

How can we redesign the end-to-end commercial food supply chain to deliver raw ingredients that are genuinely better – both for the consumer and the world?


Making Health Claims Easy To Digest

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Health & wellbeing is top priority for most consumers, yet the language around certain health trends can be complicated, confusing and often misleading.

Kellogg’s is attempting to simplify the process of shopping for healthy foods, by introducing the new brand HI! Happy Inside. HI! Happy Inside’s proposition is simple – a 3-in-1 cereal containing prebiotics, probiotics & fibre, single-mindedly focusing on improving consumers gut health. Not only is the proposition “easy to digest”, but the flavour variants
(Simple Strawberry, Bold Blueberry & Coconut Crunch) are equally as minimalistic.

Read more here.

How can we simplify the over-complicated, over-saturated world of health & wellbeing?