Airline food may have been much maligned, but now that it has virtually disappeared from all but a few flights, consumers are feeling the void.
In sweeps the hotel industry. Many high-end hotels, like the Four Seasons Palm Beach and some Marriott chains, are offering "Airline to Go" meals. Essentially room service packed up and ready to fly, the meals are being pushed hard to today's hungry, harried traveler.
Technology has moved into the bar space, in a way that's more "Real World" than cyber café.
Remote Lounge in New York City is being called everything from a techno pleasure palace to a multi-media art gallery. Live video feeds and interactive digital art make up the décor. Patrons are required to check their privacy at door, since the bar is filled with dozens of cameras. Those seated at one of the bar's "Cocktail Consoles" can remotely control the cameras, zooming in to peer more closely at whatever or whomever they choose.
Being able to replicate nearly any product or object you imagine...sounds very "Star Trek" doesn't it?
Well, now consumers can do just that...create a customized toy, replicate game pieces, even design personalized action figures...through the website ToyBuilders.com.
A 46-year-old Japanese method for teaching mathematics seems to be taking the U.S. by storm.
The method, which started in Japan and is now taught at more than 24,600 franchises around the world, resembles more boot camp than classroom. Kids are taught math in tiny increments, and are not allowed to proceed to the next lesson until the previous is mastered flawlessly.
Worshipping the goddess sounds more like an offshoot of the teen Wiccan trend than what it really is - the latest (and increasingly ubiquitous) way of celebrating all things female. And of stealing from the past.
Belly dancing classes are gaining popularity, but not as a mere exercise form. Today's belly dancers (and we found them even in towns like Rochester, NY and rural towns in NJ) cry out goals such as "Let your spirit soar!" and "Adorn yourself as the goddess that you are."
We're hearing about how people are flocking to houses of worship in droves. Everywhere, churches, temples and mosques are filled to capacity. We're searching, it seems, for some spiritual meaning in all of this turmoil.
Well, even if the faithful don't find meaning, they may at least find something to buy. There's a trend among churches -- mixing business with worship. In some cases, it's about attracting more parishioners. In others, it's more about commerce and convenience.
MetaMorph Me - Consumer Eyes trend referring to consumers' desires to periodically reinvent themselves (physically and otherwise) in order to refresh their outlook. Some manifestations include the rise in plastic surgery, personality altering drugs, and second and third careers.
The latest manifestations we've spotted around the globe:
Most consumers who visit spas expect some health benefits - relaxation, weight loss, stress management tips, to name a few. But the latest crop of spas are blurring health and medicine in brand new ways. They're known as medical spas. In addition to the traditional spa amenties (serene settings, massages, gyms, hiking, golfing), they also include an onsite medical facility staffed with doctors and nurses. Spa-goers have the option of enjoying just the "usual" or, for an additional fee, they can undergo medical tests such as electrocardiograms, ultrasounds, cholesterol screenings and more.
We've talked about gender blurring in the past - women gaining more power than ever in society (traditionally a man's domain) and men acting like women in a lot of ways (we call it "Venus Envy"). But lately, we've come across something that seems to buck this trend.
A women-only section on airplanes. A hotel that bans men. Is there a new feminine movement to distinguish the ladies from the gents?
First there were cosmaceuticals - the products and treatments that blur the line between cosmetics and medicine (e.g. anti-wrinkle creams, anti-oxidant lotions and AHA's).
Now, beauty and medicine are creeping into each other's territories in more ways than ever.
Consider the proliferation of medically-inspired packaging - the minimalism of Kiehl's; Prada's new line of blister-pack moisturizer pearls; cream syringes and test-tube make-up bottles.