09 June 2020
A professor at Meiji University in Japan, Homei Miyashita, developed the Norimaki Synthesizer: A lickable rod that lets users enjoy various flavors without having to actually consume food. Debuted this quarter, the device has five gel nodules made of electrolytes that emit the five main taste sensations: salty, sour, bitter, sweet and umami. When the sushi-like rod (named after the norimaki roll) is turned on, it delivers controlled amounts of each gel/taste to the tongue, to simulate specific flavors.
One day, all across the world, will mindless snacking be replaced by mindless (possibly healthier) Norimaki Synthesizer-licking? Who knows! Perhaps this innovation is too weird and wild to ever be adopted by the mainstream.
Or...perhaps it isn’t, because the Norimaki Synthesizer reflects a great shift we refer to as LAB RATS. The human need for good health has become so strong that consumers are embracing and experimenting with totally new kinds, sometimes extreme kinds, of wellness solutions. This trend has only become more pronounced amidst COVID-19, particularly in Asia. For example, a slew of new vegan alternatives reimagine what eggs, Spam and even KFC’s fried chicken can be (the launch of which, by the way, was an overwhelming success). This is also the continent where novel wellness concepts, like personalized superfood drink machines and personalized-by-the-day skincare, are rolling out.
Of course, this isn’t only happening in Asia. And this shift isn’t reserved solely for health-focused brands. We live in a time when brands like United Airlines strike up partnerships with jet lag apps and Heineken foray into zero-alcohol beverages. How can you tap into consumers’ increasing willingness to explore & experiment with wellness?
The TrendWatching content team