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Innovation Insight Alert Archive

Have a look at some of our recent alerts. These give broad coverage of the industry - if you want something more specific create your own here.

<<12>> Total issues:20

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November 19, 2018, to December 17, 2018

L’Oréal Introduces The My Skin Track UV Device From La Roche-Posay

L’Oréal has announced the launch of La Roche-Posay My Skin Track UV, a battery-free wearable device to track the skin’s exposure to UV. It’s available in the US on apple.com and in some Apple Stores. The device was unveiled earlier this year at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show and includes a companion app that also measures environmental factors such as pollution, pollen and humidity. The sensor is powered by the user’s smartphone. And clips on to clothing or other accessories. It costs $59.95.

Perfect Corp. Founder Talks About YouCam And Its Place In Beauty 3.0

Founder and CEO of Perfect Corp., Alice Chang, spoke at the CEW Connected Consumer Conference about ‘Beauty 3.0’, the company’s name for what it sees as the future of beauty. It will, she says, combine more personalized and proactive tech involving human touch characteristics, artificial intelligence and augmented reality. The result will be an extremely accurate virtual try-on experience. Perfect Corp. and its YouCam apps are now used by some 200 beauty brands and 700 million users. The company also encourages users to try YouCam’s set of virtual apps, free of charge, to enable them to test their features.

Nars Cosmetics Is Seeking To Capture Consumer Data And Use More Beauty Tech In 2019

Shiseido brand Nars Cosmetics is trying to balance the needs of those looking for human interaction in beauty shopping and others that like the speed and convenience of direct-to-consumer e-commerce. ‘Clienteling’ is a key focus, and it wants its sales associates and makeup artists to collect consumer data when they speak to them, and encourage them to use the data to make the experience more personal for the shopper. The brand sees 2019 as a big tech year for the company, with trials of virtual try-ons and artificial intelligence applications, such as for skin tone data. 

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October 15, 2018, to November 19, 2018

Novel Edible Utensils Enhance Customer Experience And Help Eliminate Plastic Waste

Companies are responding to consumer concerns about plastic pollution and regulation restricting the use of plastic straws, with a range of innovative solutions. After announcing it would remove single-use straws globally by 2020, Starbucks introduced a pumpkin spice cookie straw. In the summer Diageo introduced flavored edible straws that supposedly complemented its canned cocktails. Beyond straws, British packaging startup Skipping Rocks Lab partnered with delivery service Just Eat to offer seaweed-based edible sauce sachets. Consumer awareness continues to rise as the scale of the issue becomes clear. One study found that just 9 percent of the 8.3 billion metric tons of plastic produced worldwide is recycled, underling the work still to be done.

AlgoTek Develops An Algae-Based, Degradable Plastic For Single-Use Market

Startup AlgoTek has developed an edible and biodegradable plastic made mainly from brown algae powder. The plastic, which is created using a proprietary process, is durable and can be used for various single-use products such as capsules and bottles. The plastic, which is degraded by water, can withstand heat up to 140 degrees F and cold down to 10 degrees F. AlgoTek was established by chief executive officer David Crinnion and his college friends to help address the global plastic waste problem. AlgoTek has raised 35,000 dollars, is looking for manufacturing partners and aims to secure patents so it can license its technology to other users.

Beauty Tech Startup Wow How Integrates Gaming Technology Into Beauty App To Aide Color Choice

Wow How launched an app technology based on virtual and augmented reality that aims to offer women a higher level of personalization for color cosmetics applications. The advantages of the technology include real-time functionality and a Virtual MUA (Makeup Academy) function that has the ability to recognize facial features. Wow How CEO, Gaynor Matthews, claims that the app addresses a gap in the market, providing a tool that can help women save time when choosing the color of their cosmetics. Another important feature of the app is its check and correct function that is enhanced by a split screen 3D view.

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October 01, 2018, to October 15, 2018

Bourjois' Magic Mirror May Turn Facebook Into A Shopping Experience

British technology agency Holition is working on a new Facebook mobile app feature that will allow beauty enthusiasts to try on makeup products virtually with special camera filters. For this project, Holition will utilize the technology behind the magic mirror of French beauty brand Bourjois in its Paris flagship store. Bourjois's magic mirror uses 3D sensing smart camera technology to show shoppers how cosmetics would look like on their faces when they touch select a product in the store. The mirror can also suggest makeup products applicable to the shoppers’ skin tones. Holition plans to produce similar results with its Facebook filter which will take advantage of the social media app's AR mesh software. The filter will eventually be connected to Facebook's deep linking feature that will help users know where to buy the makeup products.

Saks Fifth Avenue Uses Magic Mirrors To Attract Instore Customers

As part of its efforts to lure buyers into its physical stores and compete with other retailers like Ulta and Sephora, Saks Fifth Avenue overhauled its beauty department and installed "magic mirrors”. Customers can opt to have the virtual look emailed to them. Magic mirrors are just one part of the store’s efforts to upgrade its beauty customer experience, which now includes a concierge to assist shoppers and space for treatment rooms and events, such as tutorials and presentations. A move to the second floor has allowed more space for the cosmetics department.

L’Oréal Acquires Tech Startup Modiface For Improves AI, AR Services

L’Oréal has acquired its first technology startup, Modiface, for an undisclosed sum to help the group improve how it incorporates advanced technology into its brand offerings. Lubomira Rochet, L’Oréal’s chief digital officer, underscored the importance of global brands adapting to digital developments in order to survive but also said that L’Oréal’s strategy is to determine the most appropriate technologies for its brands and scale them across the group’s websites and stores, but in a way that works for local conditions. It is looking to develop technologies via a number of routes, including acquisitions; Station-F, a startup campus in France; and the Founders Factory, a digital accelerator based in London.

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September 17, 2018, to October 01, 2018

FOREO Adds Artificial Intelligence Features To LUNA fofo Line Of Beauty-Tech Products

FOREO Institute is developing ways to incorporate artificial intelligence into its LUNA fofo line of beauty technology products. Founded in 2013, FOREO has been creating high-tech products for the beauty industry, as well as “sleek” product designs. Among the industry “firsts” the company has come up with include the first silicone cleansing brush.

Givaudan Launches EVE AR-Powered New Cosmetic Product Development Tool

Givaudan Active Beauty has introduced EVE, an artificial intelligence-enabled new product development tool designed for the creation of new cosmetic products. According to the company, EVE is designed to quickly match a product brief with Givaudan Active Beauty’s lineup of active cosmetics ingredients. Its intuitive interface allows EVE users to easily navigate through several criteria, including the targeted consumer profile, region where the product is expected to be launched, and regulatory compliance requirements.

Brands Add Artificial Intelligence, Sensors, Other Technologies To Skincare Devices

Beauty brands are integrating technologies, including artificial intelligence, sensors, and Internet of Things, into their skincare devices designed to provide consumers with personalization and tailored information about their beauty care routines. Brands have their respective approaches to customization and consumer education, with Neutrogena, for example, developing products that come with sensors and cameras to offer consumers information on the health of their skin. For its part, Foreo has launched the Luna FoFo AI-enabled skincare device, while Clarisonic has introduced its Mia Smart facial massaging device.

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August 20, 2018, to September 17, 2018

L'Oreal Innovation Contest For Startups Focuses On Three Categories

L'Oreal Innovation Runway, the beauty company's startup challenge, will focus on three categories: personalized beauty experiences, sustainable innovations, and performance materials and products. South Korea-based Sketchon joined the L'Oreal Innovation Runway 2017, receiving research and development support and mentorship from the beauty company. In March 2018, L'Oreal acquired Modiface, which uses facial recognition and augmented reality to let consumers have a realistic preview of how a beauty product would look on them when applied. New Zealand-based Ethique's sustainable innovations include making and selling solid bar soaps, shampoos, and conditioners and earth-friendly packaging. 

HiMirror Mini Comes In Small Package With Impressive List Of Smart Features

Equipped with most of the features that came with the original HiMirror smart mirror, the HiMirror Mini comes in a smaller package and includes a built-in stand. In smart mode, the mirror functions like a tablet computer with a full-features touchscreen. It lets users login to their wifi, it responds to commands, and can navigate the system using touch. HiMirror Mini comes with YouTube built in, allowing users to play back online videos of makeup tutorials and other beauty tips. Other built-in apps include Facebook and Instagram. 

Beauty Industry Embraces Augmented And Virtual Reality Technologies As Marketing, Customer Service Tools

Beauty brands are using augmented reality and virtual reality technologies to create customized strategies for differentiating themselves from the competition and for selling products and services. For example, makeup expert Charlotte Tilbury introduced a “Magic Mirror”, an AR-enabled device that lets users see their face wearing Tilbury's 10 beauty looks, when she launched her new Beauty Wonderland at Dubai Mall. Another sign of the growing importance of technology for beauty brands was L'Oreal's acquisition of AR mirrors pioneer ModiFace. 

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June 04, 2018, to August 20, 2018

Alibaba Cloud Creates System For Raising Better Hogs

Alibaba Cloud has developed ET Agricultural Brain, an artificial intelligence-enabled platform for helping agricultural enterprises, including hog farmers, in China. Proprietary in design, the system is aimed at helping farmers to improve their livestock raising and crop production through innovations. With a special focus on hog farming, ET Agricultural Brain uses algorithm-based models to develop an “exercise regimen” for pigs to improve their health, as well as their piglet yields. China is the world’s largest producer of pork, according to data from the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service. It also accounts for half of the world’s pork consumption, data from Singapore-based DBS showed.

Blockchain’s Innovative Features Whet Restaurants’ Appetite For Safety And Openness

Restaurant companies are trying blockchain applications to manage their various operations, including customer loyalty programs and supply chains. For example, Chanticleer Holdings uses blockchain, which is a digital, peer-to-peer technology designed to store encrypted data and protect it from fraud, to manage its loyalty program. With blockchain, the company is letting customers earn points and rewards across its restaurant brands. Closely linked to the cryptocurrency bitcoin, blockchain lets users share and access data through a decentralized system that is both open and anonymous. However, developers can add safeguards and safety parameters to the technology. 

Beauty Marketers Enlist AI Apps For Personalized Campaigns

Beauty brands are adopting artificial intelligence technologies, including augmented reality, to create personalized marketing. With 70 percent of American women beauty buyers claiming being overwhelmed by product choices in a May 2018 survey by marketing firm Automat, beauty marketers see the need to provide consumers with product recommendations tailored to their needs. Beauty retailer Sephora’s Virtual Artist, for example, lets users upload photos in Messenger to virtually try on lipstick shades recommended by bots. However, marketers need to convince consumers to try and be comfortable with AI-enabled initiatives, with about a third of respondents saying they were unsure about using a virtual beauty advisor.

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March 12, 2018, to June 04, 2018

Macy's Beauty Launches New Services To Improve The Shopper Experience

Macy's Beauty is aiming to provide customers with an enhanced shopping experience online and in physical stores. For example, customers in some stores can use the YouCam Makeup magic mirror kiosks to try on makeup virtually, using selfies. Other aspects of the retailer’s drive include Beauty Playground, a program to keep its beauty advisors up to date on tips and products, and Macy’s Beauty Box, a $15 per month subscription service that provides samples and freebies. This is complemented by Macy’s Beauty’s new online campaign, the “Deeper Beauty”, aimed at helping women feel empowered and more confident. 

China A Focus For Automated Store Innovation

China has become the focus for companies looking to automate the physical shopping experience. Alibaba, Tencent and JD.com have all opened automated stores in the last few months, at the start of what they believe will be a large-scale rollout of personnel-free shops. The Chinese consumer's openness to high tech and willingness to try something new is expected to drive unprecedented growth of the retail industry in China as the country's 724 million mobile phone users increasingly accept mobile transactions. Improving internet connectivity and smartphone penetration are expected to boost sales even further, and retailers are also having to deal with labor pressures due to an aging population and the trend of millennials leaving retail to seek higher-paid work.

Hyundai Launches AR Virtual Make Up Try-On Service

Hyundai Department Store launched an upgrade to its online mall in the form of a virtual make up try-on service powered by augmented reality (AR). The virtual service, offered via Meitu's Makeup Plus app, allows customers to try on more than 20 products across eight beauty brands without visiting a physical store, with plans to extend it to 20 brands. Hyundai said the AR approach is their way of differentiating themselves from other online retailers, which they said still focus on prices and delivery speed. Meitu's app has been downloaded more than 200-million times since its 2015 launch. 

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August 07, 2017, to March 12, 2018

Bioengineering Success May Give L’Oréal A Competitive Advantage In China

L’Oréal China Co. has succeeded in reconstructing Chinese skin cells in a Shanghai lab from living tissue donors. The cells will be used by R&D teams to test makeup and skincare products, such as anti-aging serums, whitening creams, and pollution-fighting cleansers, for Chinese consumers – “the most demanding in the world in almost all our product categories,” a company representative said. L’Oréal is the top-selling beauty brand in China, but consumers have begun to turn to local brands for products formulated for their skin type. An industry analyst said the company has recognized the trend and has ”moved to adapt to the different genes to capture the huge potential of the Chinese market.”

Company’s Edible Produce Spray Extends Shelf Life

California-based Apeel Sciences has developed a plant-based edible skin – dubbed “Edipeel” – that quadruples the shelf life of fruits and vegetables, and reduces need for fungicides and refrigerated produce transport. Edipeel creates an “idealized little micro-climate inside of each piece of produce” that retards spoilage, according to the company founder, who has convinced investors to pump $40 million into the venture since 2012. The company uses materials extracted from plants, usually agricultural by-products such as tomato skins, combines them, then processes them into a water-soluble powder. When mixed with water, the material can be sprayed on produce or the produce can be dipped in it.

Brewery/Bakery Partnership Recycles Surplus Bread Into Brewskis

A New York City bakery is collaborating with a brewery in a project whose overall mission is to cut food – especially bread – waste. Startup brewer Toast Ale uses unsold, but still fresh, bread donated by artisanal bakery Bread Alone, which also donates much of its surplus to churches, food pantries, and other charities. Toast Ale, like all brewers, needs food starch to make its product. The company gets at least some of its food starch from bread donated by Bread Alone Bakery. The starch forms sugars, that are eventually fermented to make beer. According to Toast Ale, it has brewed more than 5,000 gallons of beer in New York, and “saved more than 2,200 pounds of bread."

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July 31, 2017, to August 07, 2017

Tech Advances Power Sun-Safety Skin Patch, App From La Roche-Posay

L'Oréal brand La Roche-Posay, a start-up that exhibited at June’s Viva Technology show in Paris, presented the most recent developments of its My UV Patch. Designed to improve sun safer behavior and help minimize sunburns, the wearable patch features an adhesive comprising photosensitive dyes that change color when exposed to UV rays. A related app indicates varying levels of sun exposure. A smart algorithm incorporates personalized data (viz, geolocation, phototype of skin tone, hair and eye color) to advise when to reapply sun screen, seek shade, etc. According to company data, regular use has led to positive changes in sun-related behavior: 63 percent experienced less sunburn, 37 percent used more facial sunscreen, and 31 percent spent more time in the shade.

L’Oréal Takes An Expensive Flier On Virtual Reality Technology

L’Oréal’s Beauty Lab (left), located at the company’s year-old west-side Manhattan headquarters, serves as an experimental virtual reality center to explore a technology some industry observers call “the next frontier of fashion and beauty.” Though virtual reality has taken baby steps in fashion and cosmetics, it has yet to make significant inroads, and has had almost no impact on sales. Skeptics note that researchers aren’t even sure what to do with test data that are collected. L’Oréal, however, has invested a lot of money in its VR glasses, floor-to-ceiling VR screen, and additional 3-D modeling screens. Not so much to wow consumers, but to advance and enhance internal research.

L’Oréal Uses Bioprinting To Create Live Skin Tissue For Cosmetics Testing

The FDA may not require it, but L’Oréal says it has ended live-animal testing of new cosmetics and has turned to alternatives such as EpiSkin, a lab-grown human flesh-like tissue available in more than 100,000 samples representing numerous ethnicities. And lately the company has partnered with biotech Organovo to apply advanced 3-D bioprinting technology (left) to create skin tissue with hair follicles. The technology would allow mass production of skin tissue for lab testing. It is not unlikely that the 3-D printed tissue will become, like EpiSkin, a profit center for L’Oréal.

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January 16, 2017, to July 31, 2017

Coca-Cola Installs Blow-Molding Machine At Canadian Bottling Plant

Coca-Cola Canada has expanded the production capacity at a Montréal bottling plant with a $23.2 million state-of-the-art blow-molding machine, one of the first to be installed at a Coke facility in North America. Coca-Cola and Canadian government officials said the increased production capacity reinforces the company’s commitment to Canada and helps strengthen the Canadian economy.

New Coke App Uses AI Technologies To Modernize Vending Machine Use

Coca-Cola’s innovation chief Greg Chambers (left) says a new AI-powered app debuting soon will allow customers to order, and get, two drinks from vending machines equipped with special circuitry. The app will debut in late July at U.S. universities and in Australia and New Zealand. With the app, customers can order a Coca-Cola drink from multiple selections for themselves and a friend using a colorful touchscreen. The drinks will then be available on the vending machine. With AI technologies, “My goal is to push boundaries and push the brand forward,” Chambers says.

Bai Founder Ben Weiss Was Way Ahead Of The Curve On Low-Sugar Drinks

Bai Brands founder Ben Weiss noticed seven years ago that shoppers were carefully examining beverage labels to determine sugar content. “This is the issue that has fueled our growth,” he said in an interview. The company, which was sold to Dr Pepper Snapple Group for $1.8 billion, spent five years handing out samples of Bai, made from normally-discarded coffeefruit, explaining that Bai has only five calories and one gram of sugar. It was a unique claim in the beverage industry at the time -- the beverage caught on and took off when the company signed a distribution deal with Dr Pepper Snapple.
<<12>> Total issues:20
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