After what can only be described as a year of exceptional change across all sectors, we look back at the key trends that were predicted to take a hold of 2019 and what kind of impact they had on brands.


Following on from our Brand Sustainability article, we saw that 2019 was the year when people declared war on waste, with plastic pollution becoming a key talking point across all mainstream media. With the rise of Extinction Rebellion and greater global political pressure, 2019 was the year that brands became catalysts for change and activists of positivity looking to make a difference.

Outdoor apparel retailer Patagonia, a pioneer and leader in sustainability, launched its ‘Better Than New – Patagonia’s Worn Wear Repair Truck & Facility’ sustainable initiative last year, aiming to encourage consumers to make their clothing last a lifetime through repairs. Named the ‘Euro Worn Wear Tour’ the project allows retailers to make over 50 stops in five European countries which will offer free repairs for broken zippers, buttons and rips, whilst teaching consumers/customers how to make their own repairs in the future.

Vastly reducing plastic waste has been a vital goal in 2019, with major supermarkets promising to reduce the amount of single use plastic, especially black plastic, which is virtually impossible to recycle. However, what will be key moving forward is how these brands are able to change their behaviour, and how they can persuade both their core suppliers and consumers to do the same.

Filtering into campaigns, Waitrose launched its biggest CSR campaign educating customers on plastic and food waste, while Coca-Cola is trying to get more people to recycle their bottles through its ‘Round in Circles’ campaign.

With consumers aged 25-35 projected to spend 150 billion dollars on sustainable goods by 2021, it has never been more important for brands to have a solid and honest sustainability strategy in place, in order to capitalise on this positively growing market.


Last year a huge interest in the wellness sector caused confusion and left consumers with an abundance of questions, rather than providing clear and meaningful answers.

According to the latest figures, there is now more than a quarter of a million health and wellness apps available on Android and iOS. While it could be argued that this is simply democratising wellness for the masses, it feels like we have hit a point in time where the number of apps for the health & wellness sector is overwhelming.

In 2019, the creditability of these apps has come into question. A study by researchers from Bond University in Queensland looked in-depth at 22 health and wellness apps, testing the reliability of the app’s services, which allows doctors to suggest safe products to their patients.

The study showed that the overall evidence of effectiveness was of very low quality across the majority of apps tested. The app ‘Get Happy’ was the only one working effectively, which aims to improve happiness and wellbeing by getting users to complete a six-lesson cognitive behaviour therapy program.

Meanwhile, the app called ‘Promillekoll’ which was developed by the Swedish government to curb youth drinking, increased the frequency of their drinking while using the app.

The study found that users of the popular fitness and diet tracking app, MyFitnessPal, showed no significant reduction in weight loss or behaviours around physical activity and diet, when compared with those who did not use the app.

It seems in 2019 that brands have transformed the idea and meaning of self-care into self-absorption. Moving forward, we need health & wellness brands to focus on something more objective and sustainable, as well as unlocking one’s self-confidence and inner strength.

There needs to be a shift from commodifying products to apps promoting a positive mindset, whilst also having a clear clinical evidence that supports its claims.


One market that has been going through a colossal trend shift and a market that is seeing an increasingly interest is the meat alternatives industry. According to research from Kantar, 29% of all evening meals in the UK are meat-free, and analysts at Barclays suggest the market could be worth £140bn globally within the next decade.

According to inews, orders for plant-based menu items on UK food app Deliveroo have risen by a staggering 330% in just two years between 2017-2019, with popular vegan delivery dishes including Wagamama’s vegatsu curry and By Chloe’s Guacamole Burger. Brands have been quick to hop on board with this trend, as the number of producers offering vegan options on the platform grew by 168% in 2019 alone.

The interesting thing is how this trend is marketed differently. Veggie burgers have typically and always been marketed to vegetarians and plant-based faux meat manufacturers but now the trend is reaching and targeting not just the herbivores, but the meat-eaters as well.

Just released at the start of 2020, our Co-op client entered the meat-free market with its full Gro range, which is to be stocked in over 300 Co-op stores nationwide. The launch of Gro as the ‘largest-ever product roll-out of own-brand vegan products by a supermarket’ firmly puts Co-op on the meat alternative market. For further information on our work with them, please see visit our case study page.

Stay tuned for our next 2020 Vision article, where we’ll be tackling the shifting nature of placemaking and luxury!