How did our predictions from last year fare? Highlights from marketing, food & drink, beauty and retail.

Our annual The Future 100 report dives into the trends, innovation, and cultural changes that will drive the next year. How did last year’s predictions fare? Below, we look back at our most accurate predictions in marketing, food & drink, beauty and retail.

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Line hotel recording studio

Branded audio (#33)

With influencer backlash reaching fever pitch, brands are flocking to audio content for more authentic and intimate consumer touchpoints. “A Silicon Valley exec once told me that if you can own the ear you can own the mind,” said Sky News’s tech correspondent Rowland Manthorpe. Brands are latching onto this strategy, leveraging bespoke audio content to create comprehensive voices and personalities that extend beyond traditional brand roles in an effort to better engage with consumers.

  • The Financial Times launched Open Cities, a special audio guide to Berlin available exclusively through Google Home and Google Assistant.
  • The Line hotel unveiled Full Service Radio, a recording studio run out of their DC location’s lobby that broadcasts discussions and interviews with local leaders, artists, musicians and tastemakers. “The concept of Full Service Radio was born out of the desire to build community and help amplify the voices of the people that make DC what it is. The hope is that guests and listeners can get a better sense of place by engaging with the sounds, stories and voices of this city,” explains Jack Inslee, Full Service Radio’s founder and executive producer.
  • In January 2018, MasterCard launched Fortune Favors the Bold, a podcast about the “unique and changing role money plays in our lives.”
  • McDonald’s launched a tongue-in-cheek Serial-style podcast called The Sauce in February 2018.
  • Ziprecruiter launched three new podcasts in partnership with various entrepreneurs; “No one wants to listen to a 10-episode podcast about how great ZipRecruiter is at finding a job or helping hire the right applicant,” said Lex Friedman, CRO of podcast company Midroll. “But if we can create a show with someone like entrepreneur and author Seth Godin about what it means to be successful and being the most productive person around, that’s going to appeal to exactly the kind of people that ZipRecruiter wants to reach.”
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Asda's vegan food-to-go range
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Veganomics (#44)

With vegan diets gaining popularity – the number of vegans in America has risen 600% in the last three years, according to a report by research company Global Data – veganism moves from niche to mainstream in 2018 as plant-based and vegan foods become readily available in major supermarkets and restaurants.

  • Celebrities are publicly participating in the vegan phenomenon, with Beyonce, Serena Williams and Bill Clinton opting for a meat and dairy-free lifestyle.
  • Wealthy cities are seeing a rise in vegan food, according to an article by The Economist.
  • Several major supermarkets are getting in on vegan options; In January 2018 British retailer Tesco rolled out its plant-based range in January, Asda supermarket introduced its food-to-go vegan range, and Waitrose launched a dedicated vegan selectin in June 2018.
  • Fast food chains are also including vegan choices, like vegan cheese at Domino’s Pizza, McDonald’s McVegan burger and Burger King’s new vegan meat burger, currently being trialed in Australia.
  • Beyond vegan options, more vegan-only restaurants are opening across the globe. Saks Fifth Avenue opened a vegan cafe this winter called Althea. By Chloe, New York’s favorite fast-casual vegan chain, opened its first branch in London in February. HRVST, a vegan cafe in Singapore, opened in March with the philosophy to “make the alternative commonplace.”
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New wave men’s grooming (#58)

As traditional gender roles and expectations are being dismantled, male beauty is being redefined, leading to a wave of new activity in the grooming category. In 2017 we charted an explosion in men’s skincare. Now, men’s grooming is expanding further to include makeup, haircare and fragrance.

  • Salons dedicated to men’s beauty and grooming are gaining popularity in Britain, according to an article by Elle.
  • Global attitudes towards male beauty are changing. ‘Soft masculinity’ sees men embracing makeup and is sweeping the beauty scene in Asia, BBC reports. Meanwhile, a suite of gender-neutral beauty brands and retailers like Milk Makeup and Asos are bringing men’s makeup to the masses in the US and Europe.
  • Dollar Shave Club, the popular men’s shaving subscription service, moved into fine fragrance in November 2018, offering “everything you need to look, smell and feel your best,” said DSC founder and CEO Michael Dubin.
  • Coty broke into the men’s hair grooming market with the launch of Seb Man and System Man in October 2018, the company’s first lines created specifically for men.
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Prose personalized haircare
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Hyper-personalized products (#63)

From beauty to health, consumers are no longer content with a one-size-fits-all approach. New brands and platforms are offering the ultimate in personalization, using sophisticated and even medical-grade data collection methods to create one-of-a-kind products and services tailored to each individual. And, in the process, these brands are amassing unprecedented insight into their consumers’ lives.

  • Earlier this year, popular weight management program Jenny Craig announced plans to integrate DNA testing into their offering for “an even more personalized plan designed to help optimize weight loss and work naturally with the body,” said Monty Sharma, president and chief executive officer of Jenny Craig.
  • Nestle introduced their new Wellness Ambassador Program in Japan, which uses DNA testing to recommend customized diet plans. Nestle invites users to submit saliva samples and blood test results to analyze which vitamins they’re lacking and which diseases they could be susceptible to in the future, further personalizing its offering. In turn, the company is using this data to build a wealth of information about its subscribers.
  • Haircare brand Prose launched in January 2018, offering products specifically formulated for individual hair type and lifestyle. The personalized formulas take into account everything from styling habits to humidity and pollution levels.
  • Earlier this month, Clinique iD debuted with a line of customizable moisturizers formulated to address specific skin concerns. In 2019, the brand will roll out an associated platform to further help consumers personalize their products.