Modern Foraging

People looking for a hit of nature in a world consumed by technology

For all that we have grown, developed, conquered and accomplished through technology and innovation, there has been a bitter taste left in the mouths of consumers. High-rise apartment blocks have removed us from our more natural surroundings and mobile phones and computers from more natural states of mind. In the words of Charlie Chaplain’s, The great Dictator, “We have developed speed, but we have shut ourselves in. Machinery that gives abundance has left us in want”. Our developments have been exactly that; developments. But they have stagnated a wider scope of human progression, dislocated us from nature and endowed us with an insatiable appetite for all thing’s capitalist. The question is, how do we retrace our steps back to the road less travelled? Could the answer be within something as simple as our drink of choice?

Consumer’s nature craving

The evidence for consumer’s desired return to nature is everywhere around us, from the dulcet tones of David Attenborough’s Blue Planet 2 to the infusion of natural botanicals in our bottled water. With this, consumers have been working hard to introduce ‘quick-hits’ of nature into their day-to-day, the likes of Virtue’s Mixed Berry Energy Water is a prime example, in order to recapture this nature connection that left us all too abruptly. The more recent 24/7 work trend, however, means that these must be ‘bite-size’ intersections of a consumer’s day; a 15-minute break of absolute and unsullied indulgence in reconnection. Thus, enabling us to effectively integrate nature into our daily routines without inciting chaos within our working or social lives. This is something particularly prevalent in American culture, with the average American working 258 hours more per year than the average European. A staggering and almost exhausting statistic.

Tell a story

Fear not, for the ripples of this natural revolution have reached the powers that be, and they’ve begun to recognise that this connection to nature needs to be rooted in an emotional need to reconnect and escape rather than simply delivering a healthy ingredient. Whilst ‘natural’ ingredients have long been on the radar of the consumer, they are now looking for further evidence to add credibility to these claims in the form of storytelling. Ingredients such as nettle, wild berries or honey, which have associations with traditional medicines and processes such as foraging, are increasingly trusted by the consumer. Delivering these ingredients with a compelling narrative that takes consumers on a journey can deliver far more than just vibrant flavours, but satisfy a much deeper emotional need, and we expect to see brands pulling on ingredients that can play in this space progressively in the future.

People are also looking to feel more at one with the environment around them; increasingly looking for localised products that support the community and natural environment around them, thus making them feel more connected to their roots. Within the alcohol industry, craft breweries have offered the most local alternative to conventional beer for consumers – this sentiment is set to grow. The micro-scale manufacturing process involved connects one to the ingredients and process in craft beers. This involvement is something consumers crave and word of a preferred sense of the artisanal has reached the likes of brewery giants Anheuser-Busch InBev. Already in charge of over 30% of the Craft Brewers Alliance (CBA) portfolio, Ab InBev is scoping out possibilities to take full ownership of the alliance. The craft beer industry is growing away from its small-time organic roots and going ‘glocal’. It’s maintaining the artisanal aesthetic of the micro-brewery and adopting the effective means of production and distribution of beer’s powerhouse titles. Thus, enabling homegrown breweries to not only sustain themselves and local areas but also reach consumers and audiences they couldn’t have dreamed of engaging with.

We can see these trends have come to manifest themselves within the on-serve world, you need only look to the east; Farringdon, not china. A verifiable melting pot of the new & exciting, it’s of no surprise that it’s here we set our scene for the influences of natural trends. The Winemaker’s Club, Farringdon offers the most untouched and organic of settings to savour the flavours of some of the world’s most niche wines from all over the world – including those from Hungary no less. The deep red of the bare-brick walls wraps a room of rustic leather armchairs in open candle-light and acts to compliment the natural sensorial influences of these home-grown wines; an interaction between wine and consumer like never before. With their penchant for the artisanal, The Winemaker’s Club focus their wine efforts upon the Organics, Biodynamics and Cosmo culture with the aim of providing flavours from wines that are as sustainable as they are tasty. Though they may not be on every corner just yet, these naturally-enhanced bars offer a sanctuary to those who wish to recapture their natural roots and reconnect with something more organic within the confines of a concrete jungle.

In addition to natural and local ingredients, we are also looking to the process of interacting with products to feel as though we are connecting with nature. If we look to the world of beauty, we can take inspiration from ingredients like Apple Cider Vinegar that are becoming increasingly popular for people to make at home topical remedies. The act of mixing raw ingredients together to produce a product that isn’t a cookie-cutter perfect mould enables consumers to feel a sense of achievement in addition to feeling a return to nature. In the world of beverages, we can see this in personalised mixes of tea blends, pre-mixed juice or smoothie additives, and even cold-pressed juices which require the user to shake to remove separation. By bringing consumers closer to raw ingredients we can enable them to feel a closer sense of connection to the ingredients and increase perceptions of ‘natural’ around our products. We believe there is still a lot of innovation to be unlocked around this format of beverages in the future.

Remove the food, remove the problem

Looking into this you may spot the beverage industry’s means to diversify across categories and tap into the recent trend of holistic health. Something we’ve all been made increasingly aware of over the past few years is that the contents of our meals and frequency with which we eat them doesn’t match the nature of our much more primal digestive systems. The importance of gut health, as part of looking at human health from a wider perspective, has come centre stage in wellness trends and we have the optimal solution – Nutriseed’s cold pressed juice diet formula.  With titles such as Clarity, Wildfire and Another Kind of Green, this juice beverage is set to get those natural taste buds fluttering. You can tailor the cleanse duration from seven to ten days and give your gut a much-needed break from your carnivorous ways. And before you know it, we’re right back where we started from, back to our most original and organic of roots. These somewhat unorthodox diets have come to satisfy consumers’ desires to feel connected to something natural. And, it’s ability to make us feel healthier and at one with the product, and oneself, perpetuates this oh so natural glow.

Carving out these greener paths for the future should fill us with optimism that, despite our technological fascinations, we still have a strong soft spot for the natural things of this world. Fret no more nature, we’re coming back for good.

At Butterfly we work to understand the true emotional needs behind the trend of naturality, to inspire innovation that truly captures the hearts and minds of people. For more information, drop us a line at info@hellobutterfly.com