Maude oil no.0.
Maude oil no.0.
Image: Maude

1. CBN — the new buzzword

Beyond insomnia, Covid-19 disrupted many of our living patterns in general and heightened many people’s level of anxiety and stress. 

CBD shot to fame as a natural remedy to help relieve pain and relaxation. A stronger sedative, says Forbes, cannabinol (CBN) is another of the hundreds of cannabis compounds, such as CBD, being tested. But it’s said to have “a mild psychoactive response, slightly more so than CBD but much less than THC”. According to Mashable, “The compound comes from ageing THC. Over time, exposure to light and oxygen will convert THC to CBN.”

A lot of research still needs to be done on CBN, though, and so far, it seems most effective when combined with CBD. The jury is still out on using it alone as a sleep aid, but expect to see the three letters pop up more frequently.

2. Sleep specialists

From softly woven weighted blankets and celebrities with silken voices such as Matthew McConaughey, LeBron James and Harry Styles reading you bedtime stories to help you fall asleep, to the plushest sleep-tracking mattresses, the promotion of slumber has become big business.

Calm Sleep Stories narrated by Matthew McConaughey and Harry Styles.
Calm Sleep Stories narrated by Matthew McConaughey and Harry Styles.
Image: Calm

In 2021, you’ll be licking ice creams (with sleep-supporting prebiotic fibres, digestive enzymes, calcium and more) for your midnight snack that complement your sleep cycle; relying on your bed to regulate your body temperature by monitoring your heart rate variability and time in deep sleep; and calling up your sleep coach to unlock better sleeping habits.

3. Sustainable sneakers

The race to zero waste has begun and your trainers are not exempt.

Bigger international brands, such as Adidas (who collaborated with environmental organisation Parley for the Oceans); Reebok (with their vegan unisex sneaker and 100% recycled packaging); and Converse (with their canvas upper made from 100% recycled plastic bottles), have all set new standards of production by introducing eco-friendly ranges.

In Portugal, SAYE’s CEO and co-founder, Marta Llaquet wanted to create quality products while helping protect the planet and workers, so they use recycled material (foam for the insole, wood chips for reinforcements and leather cut-offs destined for landfills), or at least organic material (laces), for their sneakers and hire ethical suppliers that try and improve the living and working conditions of the people they employ.

On the continent, soleRebels’s founder, Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu, produces sneakers from barabasso, traditional Ethiopian recycled tyres, hand-crafted, made-to-order and with a low environmental impact.

In France, Salomon has designed a completely recyclable sneaker. The easily disassembled shoe is meant to hit shelves in 2021 and once it comes to the end of its life, you can send it to a collection centre, from where it will be repurposed into pebbles and yarn, locally, to make ski boots and other fabrics.

No-one can run away from climate change.

4. A modern approach to self-pleasure

A new take on using — and conversations around — intimate products, including top-quality condoms, intimacy oils and well-designed toys, is gaining momentum. In SA, communities around sexual wellness, such as evie, are becoming more prevalent as celebrities such as Dakota Johnson invest and become creative directors in related brands such as Maude.

Maude's modern sexual wellness essentials.
Maude's modern sexual wellness essentials.
Image: Maude
Maude's modern sexual wellness essentials.
Maude's modern sexual wellness essentials.
Image: Maude

5. New vegan ventures

Your brunch date just got more interesting. Vegans have been using egg substitutes for a while and no-one bats an eyelid when your barista introduces you to a new cow-free milk, but it’s taken some time to create healthy and flavourful plant-based alternatives for eggs that look, taste and can be as multi-functional as the animal-sourced ones.

Made from chickpeas and soya or mung beans (add a touch of turmeric), brands such as JUST Egg have created pourable mixes to mimic something that looks good on your breakfast plate. Still limited to whipping up a fluffy omelette, or scrambled egg rather than a sunny side up or poached request, they also work well for egg-free baking for that perfect brioche.

Good Catch's plant-based tuna in a lettuce wrap.
Good Catch's plant-based tuna in a lettuce wrap.
Image: Good Catch
Good Catch's plant-based tuna in a sandwich roll.
Good Catch's plant-based tuna in a sandwich roll.
Image: Good Catch

Even the seafood market is evolving. Plant-based tuna or vuna as Nestlé is calling it, could become a pantry staple for your favourite chef — and, get used to ordering zalmon sashimi made with seaweed and tapioca starch. For the colour? Good ol’ carrot-based orange.

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