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‘Fast fashion’ has become something of a buzz phrase lately, and some fashion brands are having to defend themselves against the backlash of selling cheap, seemingly poor-quality clothes, thereby promoting disposability and excessive wastage. The UN has published research that says that by 2050 the equivalent of almost three planets could be required to provide the natural resources needed to sustain current lifestyles, given the growth in global population. The House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee says people are buying twice as many items of clothing as they did a decade ago. We’ve investigated why the explosion of fast fashion is something we should care about and have listed five businesses presenting ethical alternatives.

What exactly is fast fashion and why is it a problem?

According to ethical brand ratings app Good On You, “fast fashion can be defined as cheap, trendy clothing, that samples ideas from the catwalk or celebrity culture and turns them into garments in high street stores at breakneck speed.” While this may sound like an innocent shift towards putting more choice into the hands of consumers, it has a huge negative impact on the environment.

Firstly, there’s landfill. The more clothes that are produced and purchased, the more clothes are thrown away. According to Rubicon Global, a staggering eleven million tonnes of clothing is thrown into landfill each year in the US alone. In the UK, 235 million items were sent to landfill in 2017. Another problem is the materials that are used to manufacture the garments. Polyester is the most popular fabric used for fashion, and not only is it made from fossil fuels (contributing to global warming), but when washed, polyester garments shed plastic microfibres which end up in our oceans. The Plastic Soup Foundation have claimed that more than 4,500 fibres can be released per gram of clothing per wash.

It’s not just the planet that suffers. With fast-fashion brands introducing new products multiple times in a single week, the intention is to encourage consumers to replace clothes with newer and trendier items after just a couple of wears. On their website, Missguided boast that they “drop up to 1000 brand new styles every week”. With an increased rate of production, however, comes reduced quality standards. Clothes made by fast fashion brands are often intentionally made to have a short lifespan, for example shrinking in the wash or breaking down quickly.

Mass-produced, cheaply made garments also have a human impact. Labour workers have been found to work long hours in dangerous environments where they’re exposed to harmful chemicals, for low wages and without basic human rights.

So, it turns out high-street fast fashion brands have a lot to answer for, namely their impact on the environment, their low-quality products, and their ethical dubiousness. But all hope isn’t lost – there are several clothing brands out there fighting for sustainability.

What are the alternatives?

Komodo

Established in 1988 by Mark Bloom, pioneer brand Komodo promotes the use of ethically sourced organic cotton, hemp, bamboo, Tencel and other natural fibres – limiting the amount of chemicals, water and wastewater used in production. It creates high-quality, long-lasting products without compromising on design, and the company deploys a robust supplier code of conduct that ensures its workers are paid living wage. It runs independent audits on its final stage of production, and Komodo staff visit factories for at least two months each year to ensure that any problems can be solved together.

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bw9ufr0nO-S/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

AllSisters

AllSisters is a Barcelona-based, eco-friendly swimwear brand that uses the highest quality recycled fabrics to create high-end swimsuits. The brand has a commitment to ethical and sustainable fashion design, utilising high quality recycled textiles from Italy that carry the Made in Green by OEKO-TEX® certification. This ensures that they are tested for harmful substances and are made in environmentally friendly facilities and socially responsible workplaces.

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Everything is better at the beach! Our beloved sister @tonigarrn shines in the sustainable white swimsuit✨

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Mayamiko

Award-winning women’s clothing, accessories and homeware brand Mayamiko fuses modern and traditional textiles from Africa, Asia and Italy. In 2013, 37-year-old Paola Masperi was inspired to begin the label as a charity that provided creative business training and opportunities to disadvantaged communities. The company grew from there and now produces high quality, trendy and desirable fashions, that are wholly made under ethical conditions. It reduces its carbon footprint by sourcing textiles from the same region it manufactures in, and ensures all workers are permanent with fixed salaries, earning a living wage.

Rêve En Vert

Founded by Cora Hilts and Natasha Tucker in 2013, Rêve En Vert is a retailer of sustainable and honest luxury, which to them stands for four principles: organic, re-made, local and fair. With a commitment not to sacrifice style for ethics, the brand uses natural, organic materials with an emphasis on low-environmental impact and longevity. It recycles and upcycles materials as often as possible, checks for fair factory certification to ensure workers are paid living wage, and exclusively features designers who operate their businesses with respect for people and the planet.

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Traditional artisan skills meet natural materials to create a beautiful collection cultivated by the rhythm and aesthetics of a modern day free-spirit. Every dress, kaftan and jumpsuit by A Perfect Nomad is made using either naturally dyed organic cotton or peace silk (the most ethical kind). Tap the link in our bio to find your next timeless, trend-resistant travel piece. #aperfectnomad #ecotravel #consciousliving #sustainability #honestliving #conscioustravel #summer #honestluxury

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THTC

Set up in 1999 by brothers Drew and Gav Lawson, The Hemp Trading Company (THTC) is an award winning, ethically driven clothing label, specialising in eco-friendly, politically conscious streetwear that is high-quality and long-lasting. Materials are made from hemp, carbon-neutral organic cotton, and recycled salvage plastic fibres, and most of the company’s supply chain is either independently audited or directly visited by the brand.

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Go wish this G a very happy birthday. @lowkeyonline has been speaking truths and raising roofs for a long time – and the world is a better place for it. If you've not checked it already, go peep 'Soundtrack to the Struggle 2' – our absolute mad lad managed to get Noam Chomsky to open the first track. Wish we could give you a better present than this post – but hey, next year we might just try frog marching Tony Blair to the Hague to be tried for war crimes. That would be an ace birthday present, no? #Lowkey #soundtracktothestruggle #happybirthday (Photo @foonia)

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If you’re launching a new product or would like to raise awareness of the work you’re doing for a cause close to your heart, get in touch with our award-winning team today.

Ethical clothing – the alternatives to fast fashion

To mark World Environment Day, we’re celebrating zero waste brands that are making a positive difference to the planet’s environmental crisis.

What does zero waste mean?

Zero waste is the philosophy that encourages the elimination of the use of landfills and pollution of our oceans and atmosphere. The aim is to completely redefine the current system of resource usage and move towards a circular economy that mimics what happens in nature: everything is reused or composted, and nothing goes to waste. All materials are essentially resources for other purposes.

Zero Waste: The conservation of all resources by means of responsible production, consumption, reuse, and recovery of products, packaging, and materials without burning and with no discharges to land, water, or air that threaten the environment or human health.

– Zero Waste International Alliance

Zero waste beauty: Ethique

PHA client Ethique is the world’s first zero waste, full-range beauty brand, selling eco-friendly products for your hair, body and face. Set up in 2012 by biologist Brianne West in New Zealand, the brand has since taken on international markets, picking up multiple awards in the process, and launched in the UK in April. To date Ethique has stopped over 3.3 million plastic bottles from being manufactured and disposed of into landfills and is on a mission to get that number up to 10 million by 2020.

In a nutshell:

  • Plastic-free
  • Vegan
  • Cruelty-free
  • Biodegradable
  • Fair-trade

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bx_DCPIghWn/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

Zero waste cleaning: Splosh

Angus Grahame, founder of refill company Splosh, saw serious problems in the way most big soap companies sell laundry, personal care, and cleaning products in single-use plastic bottles, and wanted to find a way to make refilling easier than recycling. Splosh sells refillable bottles with a lifetime guarantee (they will replace broken ones for free). What’s more, used refill pouches can be returned to the manufacturer which they reprocess into other materials, resulting in a total of 97.5% less plastic waste.

In a nutshell:

  • Cruelty-free
  • One bottle for life
  • Non-toxic ingredients
  • Vegan
  • Green Apple Award Winner

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Introducing Splosh purple pouches for our personal care products. They are now easily distinguished from our home range. All Splosh pouches can be returned to us for reprocessing, thus cutting out plastic waste. #reusable #plasticwaste #circulareconomy

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Zero waste drinking: Klean Kanteen

Set up in California in 2004, family-owned company Klean Kanteen introduced the first stainless steel, BPA-free, reusable water bottle. Fifteen years on, it has grown into a global business and now sells an impressive range of bottles, cups, straws and food canisters. But Klean Kanteen does much more than just sell products; as a 1% For The Planet member, it has contributed more than £1.2 million directly to environmental organisations dedicated to preserving and restoring wild places. It also supports both local and international communities to raise awareness about sustainability and inspire change.

In a nutshell:

  • Plastic-free
  • Certified B Corporation
  • Durable, high quality stainless steel
  • Specially formulated for human and environmental health
  • Chip-resistant

https://www.instagram.com/p/ByGCI0UDwL9/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

Zero waste eating: Bambaw

Sick of using plastic cutlery every time you buy lunch or go to a food market? Enter Bambaw, a zero-waste company headquartered in Brussels and set up in 2016 by Augustin and Maxine de Hemptinne, who are on a mission to reduce the waste generated on earth by providing affordable, quality, zero-waste products. Bambaw’s bamboo cutlery set is the sustainable, plastic-free solution to single-use cutlery when eating away from home, or for parties. The company also sells bamboo cotton buds, razors, toothbrushes, straws and more.

In a nutshell:

  • Plastic-free
  • Organically sourced bamboo
  • Pesticide and fertiliser-free
  • Naturally anti-bacterial
  • Ethical workers’ rights

https://www.instagram.com/p/BxusUi0H2vb/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

Zero waste groceries: Hetu

Based in South London, Hetu is zero-waste grocery shop stocking products in bulk, from pasta and cooking oil to cleaning products and shampoo bars. Customers bring in their own containers and bags, weigh them in-store and stock up on products they need, in the amounts they choose. Pricing is then determined by weight. Stores like Hetu are popping up everywhere and are doing an amazing job in making it as practical as possible to avoid single use packaging and reduce wastage. Even their food dispensers are environmentally friendly – they are made sustainably in Germany and are plastic-free.

In a nutshell:

  • Plastic-free
  • Cruelty-free
  • Palm oil free
  • Single-use free
  • Plant-based, unprocessed foods

https://www.instagram.com/p/BsYgkc2l5KC/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

 

If you’d like to talk to us about launching a new sustainable product into the market or want to grow your online and offline presence in the media, get in touch with our award-winning team today.

Zero waste brands we love

The days are getting longer and the mood of London seems to be lifting as we inch closer to the summer. As this week is English Wine Week, we thought we’d list our seven favourite spots for grabbing a drink with a view.

Aviary, Finsbury Square

Aviary is a bar-restaurant with a roomy open-air terrace at Finsbury Square’s Montcalm Hotel. Located on the tenth floor with an impressive panoramic view, it’s been carefully designed to take in as much of the city as possible. Comfortable sofas make this an attractive option any time of day, but Aviary really comes into its own when the sun goes down and London lights up.

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Our stunning rooftop right now captured by @olga_sommer It’s time to close the laptop, put down the pen, clock out, hit our rooftop and grab a cocktail and enjoy this glorious day. Happy Friday. . . . . . #LondonSunshine #LondonRoofTop #LondonCocktails #LondonFood #LondonSkyline #LoveLondon #LondonFashion #LondonEats #Shoreditch #EastLondon #Moorgate #LiverpoolStreet #London #londonbylondoners

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Choose it for… its killer views and laid-back atmosphere.

Bar Elba, Waterloo

This themed rooftop bar takes its inspiration from the tiny island of Elba, just off the Tuscan coast, where Napoleon was sent in 1814. With fairy lights, communal benches and a tropical feel, this bar is the perfect location for a party. Expect sunny colours, block lettering and a sizeable list of cocktails.

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bfn7lixHvjf/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

Choose it for… the Napoleon theme and party buzz.

Coq D’Argent, Bank

Winner of the Wine Spectator’s Best of Award of Excellence 2018 for their wine list, Coq d’Argent is far more than just another French bar. With a verdant rooftop garden boasting immaculate lawns, trailing vines, a ringed walkway, and stunning London-wide views, it’s no wonder this place is so popular.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BxC4jgQHFXJ/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

Choose it for… its award-winning wine list and attention to detail.

The Rooftop, St. James

You’ll find this bar on every rooftop list on Google, and for good reason. Sitting on top of the Trafalgar Hotel, The Rooftop overlooks London’s iconic skyline. The view of Nelson’s Column, the London Eye and The Houses of Parliament can be enjoyed at any time of year, thanks to outdoor heaters, blankets, and individual boxed-in spaces with retractable roofs. Cocktails are individually crafted and named after London’s landmarks.

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The view from our Rooftop on a sunny day is incomparable. But our retractable roof means you can look out over London even when the weather's typically British! #sunny #london #sunnylondon #luxurylondon #rooftopbars #viewfromtheroof #londonhotel #luxelife #travel #culturetrip #wanderlust #viewfromthetop #views #summer #happyplace #bestrooftopbars

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Choose it for… the stunning views and classic elegance.

12th Knot, South Bank

Located twelve floors up at Sea Containers London, 12th Knot (formerly Rumpus Room) has everything from a lovely view of the river and city skyline, to delicious cocktails and an ambiance to match. The terrace itself is quite small, but this is made up for with the extraordinary view, great service and chic atmosphere.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BvY3wGogsOB/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

Choose it for… the sophisticated atmosphere and the live DJs Thursday through Saturday.

Radio Rooftop Bar, Temple

Radio Rooftop Bar high above the Strand is one of central London’s prime rooftop drinking destinations, thanks to its 360-degree views of almost every landmark on the London skyline. Situated on the 10th floor of the ME Hotel, the terrace is surrounded by a fantastic party atmosphere and luxurious feeling.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BvOjxxmHrlB/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

Choose it for… the panoramic view and the fifteen varieties of G&T.

Skylight London, Wapping

Skylight London rooftop bar at Tobacco Dock was once a car park, but now holds a three-level rooftop bar where during the summer you can play a game of croquet or petanque, or watch major sport events on large screens. Along with all the fun there is also delicious street food and a wide range of cocktails, beers and wines. In the winter, Skylight turns in to a popular rooftop ice rink – the only one in Europe!

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Don’t forget that we’re open from 12-11pm and children are welcome before 5pm, giving lots of time to take your little ones for a spin on the ice before sunset! Ph c/o @fivegotroppo . . . . . . #Skylight #Wapping #TobaccoDock #London #Rooftop #Cocktails #streetfood #eastlondon #londonicerink #iceskating #geodomes #winter #bar #londonlife #londonbar #feedfeed #thirsty #studyabroad #explorelondon #lovelondon #mytinyatlas #seemycity #drinking #timeoutlondon #goingoutlondon

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Choose it for… the adult playground and botanical theme.

 

If you enjoyed our choices, why not get in touch with our award-winning team to see how could help build your brand.

London’s best rooftop bars

It’s now been a few days since I’ve returned from the inaugural PHA/5W exchange trip. After a whirlwind week soaking up all New York city had to offer, both professionally and personally, I’ve now had a chance to sit back and reflect on everything I experienced and learnt during my time stateside.

Naturally, since returning to the PHA offices, lots of people have asked me what my highlight of the trip was. Sounds simple enough, but I can honestly say that it’s proven impossible to pick just one! From the moment we checked into our midtown hotel on day one, to the moment we hopped in our cab back to JFK to head home – we had highlights coming out of our ears.

That said, for the purpose of this blog, I have pushed myself to pinpoint the three key things which have really stayed with me since flying back across the pond.

  • The 5W PR energy: as soon as we met the 5W Heads of Department for breakfast on our first day, I knew I was going to enjoy my time at the agency. There is a positive energy and enthusiasm which is hard to ignore when speaking to the 5W staff… and extends from the most senior individuals to the most junior. Everyone is so confident, eloquent, and passionate about the clients they are working on. I noticed an immediate parallel here with the PHA ethos however, I think it’s fair to say that although as an agency we pride ourselves on this, culturally we Brits can at times be a little more reserved. It was a joy to sit in meetings and observe 5W’ers of all levels (whether it was a client meeting, an agency-wide brainstorm, or an internal team catch up) come to life when talking about their projects. I have returned to London with an even greater sense of enthusiasm and new inspired ideas for tactics to implement amongst my account teams.
  • Cementing relationships: in addition to being incredibly positive, the people at 5W are genuinely an all-round fabulous bunch – very eager to share their knowledge and keen to pick my brain in return. Spending time with individuals who work on a similar client portfolio to me and bouncing ideas around was so insightful, and something which undoubtedly will benefit the way I run campaigns moving forward. I met so many great people within the consumer division – thanks in part to the popular ‘Happy Hours’ which were organized for us throughout our trip – and hope that I (along with the other PHA-ers) have helped to strengthen the foundations of a mutually beneficial, long-lasting transatlantic partnership.
  • Experiencing NYC with PHA pals: this blog wouldn’t be complete without a reference to the other three members of ‘team PHA’ who I shared a wonderful week with – Georgia, Miranda and Peter. We worked hard, learnt a lot, but also had many laughs along the way. The culture at PHA is something we are all incredibly proud of and this trip has really reinforced how fortunate we all are to work with such brilliant people day in, day out. I couldn’t have asked for a better gang to spend my time with – seeing the sights, eating our way around the city, rooftop bar hopping, and doing our best cycling through central park.

If you’re interested in a new career or want to make your next step change in PR check out our careers page for all our latest opportunities.

Concrete jungle where dreams are made of?…Most certainly!

Wine enthusiasts and drinks industry professionals will be making their way to London Olympia this week for the 39th edition of the London Wine Fair. The expo has gained quite a reputation over the years and continues to grow in scale as well as content, with the addition this year of ‘The Extreme Tasting Challenge’ in partnership with The Wine Gang. The Innovation Zone which launched last year, featuring TED-style talks designed to be especially relevant for the on-trade, will be making a comeback, as will standalone section ‘Drinks Britannia’, showcasing the best of British wine.

According to TheDrinksBusiness.com, the number of UK wineries opening every year has reached record highs, and the wine industry is now one of the UK’s fastest growing sectors. We’ve picked out some of our favourite UK-based companies that we’re most looking forward to seeing exhibit at The London Wine Fair.

Renegade London Wine

Established in 2016, Renegade is an urban winery based in East London. They make small batch artisanal wines using hand harvested grapes from around the UK and Continental Europe, which are then vinified in London. The company is named as such because ‘they don’t play by the rules’, resulting in the creation of uniquely handcrafted vegan and vegetarian wines, designed specifically for a modern palate.

Founder Warwick Smith felt that the world of winemaking needed a facelift. He wanted to innovate within the wine space instead of sticking to the long-standing constraints of European ‘appellation’ rules, and so Renegade was born in March 2016 with a small team of dedicated people ready to take on the challenge.

Renegade does everything a traditional winery would do, with a few exceptions. For example, they do not grow the grapes themselves, instead buying carefully selected grapes from passionate growers. They hand harvest, bring the fruit back in refrigerated lorries, and then process, age, bottle, cork, label and distribute wines from their winery in Bethnal Green. In addition, Warwick was determined to create minimum intervention wines, which is why the company uses naturally present yeasts and very little sulphur.

Red Squirrel Wine

Described by The Financial Times as “one of the newer, younger independent merchants that has flowered in Britain”, Red Squirrel is a wine importer specialising in new regions, forgotten regions and native and alternative grape varieties. Based in West London, Red Squirrel represents 42 wineries from around the world and supply the independent on-trade and off-trade nationwide.

The business was founded by Nik Darlington, who started off his career in the rather different field of scuba-diving. He was a researcher for the House of Commons before spending nine years as a scuba-diving instructor with PADI. In July 2012, he finally returned home from Australia to start Red Squirrel Wine.

The company seeks out wines that tell a story, are woven into the history of their region, or are breaking the mould in some way. They also run wine courses for hospitality trade professionals and wine merchants. Nowadays Red Squirrel is one of the fastest growing specialist wine importers in Britain, supplying the public and trade with exciting bottles, some of which they have designed their own packaging for as well.

Nyetimber

The production of English wine has seen record vintages in the last two years, seeing an average of around five million bottles per year.

Ever since the beginning,, Nyetimber has had a single aim: to make the finest English sparkling wine, one to rival the very best in the world, including Champagne. A true pioneer, Nyetimber was the first producer of English sparkling wine to exclusively grow the three celebrated grape varieties: Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay. Each bottle of Nyetimber is made from one hundred percent estate-grown grapes.

Twelve years ago, whilst living in the West Sussex countryside, CEO Eric Heerema picked-up the trend of sparkling wine. Convinced that top quality sparkling wine could be produced beyond the borders of Champagne, he planted a vineyard in West Sussex and two years later acquired the Nyetimber estate.

Over the years, the company has achieved global acclaim, winning international awards and blind tasting competitions, as well as being recognised by some of the world’s most celebrated wine experts. Last year it announced a new range named ‘1086’, which will only be produced in certain vintages and will be priced at the level of several ‘prestige cuvee’ Champagnes.

Bermar

As the old English proverb goes, “necessity is the mother of invention”. One of the big challenges wine businesses faced in the early nineties was the fact that once you open a bottle, the clock starts ticking and very soon the wine is passed its best. This made selling wine by the glass difficult as it often led to expensive wastage and a risk of serving poor quality wine to customers.

Enter Bermar: wine, sparkling wine, and Champagne preservation experts who use their unique Le Verre de Vin technology to deliver an impressive shelf-life of up to 21 days. The principle is simple: lock the fizz in Champagne and sparkling wine, and keep oxygen away from still wine. The science behind the systems is a little more complex and that’s why, after 25 years, Bermar systems are still recognised as the only way to effectively preserve both wines and Champagnes.

The company is now the world’s leading preservation system manufacturer, with over 40,000 customers in more than 80 countries. It has developed innovations to satisfy all needs, whether that’s cabinet solutions, modular units, standalone products or discrete space saving solutions.

 

If you like our picks and want to know more about how PHA can help you boost your brand and gain significant cut-through in the  media, contact our award-winning team today to find out how we could help.

Ones to watch at the London Wine Fair 2019

Political upheaval in the UK might be turning people to the bottle for different reasons, but fine wine is an increasingly attractive prospect to investors.

Wine, as an asset class, increased by 9% in 2018, according to the Knight Frank Luxury Investment Index, with a ten-year increase of 147%. A single bottle of La Romanée-Conti 1945 sold for US$558,000 at Sotheby’s – its upper estimate was US$32,000 – and Knight Frank’s Burgundy investment was up 33% in 2018, with Grands Crus from Raveneau, Romanée-Conti, Roumier and Rousseau leading the charge.

According to a Zion Market Research report, the global wine market was valued at approximately US$302.02 billion in 2017 and is expected to generate revenue of around US$423.59 billion by the end of 2023, growing by just under 6% in the coming five years,

Interestingly, whilst Western European wine consumption fell by 5% between 2010-17, e-commerce increased by 66%, according to Rabobank, highlighting that digital technology is bringing new players into the market.

These companies are all innovators, using different strategies not only to guide wealthy collectors, but also in some cases trying to appeal to everyday investors who may not have previously considered wine as an investment opportunity:

Cru: Cru believe in the power of data to help investors make the right decisions in the wine market. Chief Executive Jeremy Howard’s background is in Convertible Bonds Trading & Analysis with Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs, and it is that financial expertise which he is using to democratise the industry. The business brings the world of fine wine together under a state-of-the-art digital platform through which clients can build their portfolio.

Liv-ex: Founded in 2000 by stockbrokers James Miles and Justin Gibbs, who wanted to make fine wine trading more transparent, efficient and safe. Liv-ex’s online market provides trading, data and settlement services to wine merchants across the globe.  Transparency is the buzzword, with Liv-ex emphasising their commitment to creating an online space that helps over 400 merchants worldwide use data and insights to make the right decisions for their customers and grow their businesses.

Aston Lovell: Aston Lovell style themselves as the Fine Wine Platform, and similar to Maecenas in the art world, they are using their online platform to make the wine market more readily accessible to investors. The numbers are attractive to entry-level investors, with Aston Lovell happy for clients to invest from as little as a few hundred pounds, though the recommendation is to start from £3,000 for the best chance of a return. They emphasise the role of a personalised account manager as crucial in guiding investors through an intimidating market.

Berry Brothers: Trading from the same shop on St James’ street since 1698, Berry Bros. & Rudd has aged to perfection as the oldest wine and spirit merchant in the United Kingdom. They operate at the top end of the market, and Berry has its own unique trading platform, BBX, which is a fine wine marketplace offering the most exclusive vintages to private individuals. It’s not just history that is on Berry Bros. & Rudd’s sign, they also have a strong international presence, with offices in Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong.

Cult Wines: Cult Wines put the ball into the investor’s court with their Fine Wine Investment Guide, which anybody can register to download from their website. This empowering of investors looking to make an entry into the market is a different approach, and an intriguing way to make the key industry information accessible. Chairman Philip Gearing spent twenty years in investment banking, so is another leading figure who has translated their business nous to the fine wine investment world.

Are you looking to raise vital funds for your business? Our team of specialists are here to help. Contact us today to find out how we can help you gain breakthrough for you and your business.

Five Companies Turning Wine into an Asset Class

Gone are the days when vegan snacking equated to carrot sticks dipped in houmous, or a lonely piece of fruit. These days supermarket aisles are bursting with plant-based foods, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a café or restaurant without vegan options on the menu. With the market for meat-free set to reach £1.1bn by 2023 (according to Mintel), it’s no wonder businesses are jumping on the trend left right and centre. Snacking options are vast and full of innovation, ranging from coconut jerky and hazelnut butter cups, to quinoa crisps and roasted corn snacks.

We’ve compiled a list of our top 10 snack brands that we think are particularly impressive (not to mention delicious!), and stand out amongst the huge range of vegan products out there.

Primal Pantry

Founded in 2013 by nutritionist and paleo fan Suzie Walker, who still runs the business today, snack bar company Primal Pantry is on a mission to get people making better snacking choices. Its commitment is to produce products from high-quality, whole food ingredients, free from additives or unrecognisable ingredients. In this vein, the company has just launched their new range of snack-sized fruit and seed bars in four delightful flavours: Lemon & Poppyseed, Cocoa, Coconut and Orange & Ginger.

LOVE CORN

Crunchy corn brand, LOVE CORN, has created a range of gluten-free, vegan, sugar-free and high-fibre corn snacks. Roasted corn has apparently always been very popular in the Mediterranean & South America, but wasn’t as well known here in the UK, and as a result, the first premium roasted corn brand was born. Founded by Jamie McCloskey in 2016, the company has grown from a penniless start up into a thriving business, with products stocked across several major retailers. The three flavours available are Sea Slat, Smoked BBQ, and Habanero Chilli.

Squirrel Sisters

Sisters Gracie and Sophie Tyrrell set up Squirrel Sisters in November 2015, which started off as a blog the year before. The blog’s fast success led them to venture into the snack bar business, and today their products hold a remarkable collection of awards. Scrumptious and guilt-free, Squirrel Sisters only uses whole dates to bind and sweeten its products – they contain absolutely no syrups, pastes or sugar alternatives, and as such the company is certified by international certification authority Sugarwise.

Mighty Bee

Jerky might be one of the last foods that comes to mind when thinking about veganism, but with the rise in demand for protein-rich snacks, vegan jerky is turning out to be a hot trend in 2019. Mighty Bee have managed to bring together this unlikely pair, with their new range of certified-organic, preservative-free coconut jerky, which comes in three flavours: Spicy BBQ, Teriyaki, and Chocolate Hazelnut. The range is made from Thai coconuts, which they dehydrate and marinate to give them a chewy, meaty texture. Impressively, this NPD has come very soon after the company’s last innovation, Bananitos, which launched last year and is a unique solar-dried chocolate-coated banana bar.

Eat Real

Snack company Eat Real is based on three simple concepts: taste, nutrition and real ingredients. Its crisp-like snacks are free from artificial flavourings, colourings and preservatives, but certainly do not compromise on taste. The range is so vast that it seems the only thing they don’t create crisps from is potatoes. From Quinoa Chips to Veggie Bites, and Snap Pea Crunch to Cheezie Straws, Eat Real have found innovative ways to produce crisp-like textures and flavours from all sorts of surprising ingredients.

Pulsin

Set up by three university friends in 2007, Pulsin has gone from strength to strength and is now an award-winning snack brand, with a variety of ranges including protein bars, raw chocolate brownies, protein powders and organic snack bars. The bars are dairy-free, gluten-free, and contain non-GMO ingredients. The latest addition to Pulsin’s range is the Fruit & Nut bars, which contain 30% less sugar and twice the fibre of other similar bars in their category. Health is at the heart of the Pulsin brand, which is why these new bars have been cold-pressed to preserve nutritional value.

LoveRaw

Rimi Thapar, creator of organic snack brand LoveRaw, is one of the few people to ever turn down an offer from the Dragons. She appeared on Dragon’s Den in 2017 looking for a £50,000 investment, but when Debra Meaden asked for a 30% stake in the business, Rimi decided to go it alone. Through her dedication and with a vision to spread her love of organic, healthy food, LoveRaw grew into a thriving success, branching out into plant-based milks and recently vegan butter cups. Creamy and indulgent yet virtually guilt-free, these come in Salted Caramel, Peanut Butter, and Hazelnut Butter flavours.

Ape Snacks & Emily Crisps

Coconut snack brand Ape Snacks was the brainchild of 19-year-old university drop-out, Zack Nathan, who was disappointed that all ‘natural’ snacks seemed to be either dull, bland and tasteless or else packed with sugar. He was determined to create something both healthy and delicious to shake up the UK’s snacking aisles, and in 2016 launched Ape Snacks’ Lightly Salted Curls and Natural Bites. The latest addition to the product range is the Coconut Puffs, which come in Lightly Salted, Thai Chilli, and Cheese flavours. Last week the company acquired fruit and vegetable crisp brand Emily Crisps. Founded in 2013 by Emily Wong and her partner Ale Ascani, the business initially grew through a crowdfunding initiative. Today it is stocked in several major retailers and boasts a full range of flavours including Sweet Potato, French Beans & Edamame, Crunchy Red Apple, Fig Banana, and Pineapple. As well as being vegan, all products are gluten-free, kosher-certified, and free from all additives and preservatives.

Tom Oliver Nutrition

Primarily a premium food supplement brand, Tom Oliver Nutrition launched its first chocolate protein bar range last May, which comes in six varieties: Coconut, Coffee, Caramel, Mint, Raspberry, and Orange. Founder Tom Oliver saw an opportunity to venture into the snack bar category when he noticed that most plant-based bars are often high in fruit sugars and low in protein content. By comparison, his product range promises to bring fresh, innovative, natural raw materials together to benefit overall health, and each bar contains 14g of protein.

If you’re launching a new product or want to grow your brand’s share of voice, our consumer PR team can help take your business to the next level. With extensive experience in FMCG and food and drink industries we know how to get your brand recognised. Get in touch here.

These vegan brands are making snacking irresistible

Social media is a brilliant platform for strengthening your reputation both online and offline. More diverse, immersive and accessible than traditional marketing, it provides a level of authenticity which is often hard to capture. Each channel occupies a niche and offers a varied strategy for developing your online reputation, brand values and identity.

A key point to remember is that you need to be interactive. It’s called social for a reason; make sure you’re asking questions, interacting with people and encouraging a discussion. Ideally, you want to get people talking to you, with you and about you. Positioning yourself as a thought leader is invaluable in building confidence in your personal brand, and social media is one of the easiest ways in which to do this. Here we highlight the best social media platforms for businesses and how to use them effectively.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is perhaps the most obvious platform for building your reputation as a thought leader in your industry. After all, it was designed to build and expand your professional network and unite those with common interests. Joining and prompting relevant discussion on LinkedIn can be as simple as writing a post, but it certainly shouldn’t stop there.

Join groups that are relevant to your industry, share articles on matters of importance to you, make real connections online and voice what makes you matter as an individual or a business. Jump on top of trending issues and maximise your exposure by using trending hashtags. Social media is all about storytelling, so tell yours.

LinkedIn also offers the ability to publish built-in blogs, which the algorithm will support so they generate further reach. Write one, publish it, and encourage people to ask you questions and discuss your ideas. As with everything on social media, the more people interact with your posts, the more often they’ll see your content, so you really want to push for that initial engagement that keeps people coming back for more.

Instagram

Instagram a great platform for the professional, as it allows you to showcase the aspects of your life that may feel ill-suited elsewhere. Instagram allows you to curate a broader understanding of, and personality around, your brand. This authentic and intimate insight is increasingly invaluable in the world of modern marketing.

When using Instagram, remember to use the whole toolbox. Use Instagram stories and their ever-evolving features, add videos and boomerangs and try to be playful with their built-in emojis and gifs. In the same vein, remember that branded or explicitly commercial content won’t sit well on this channel. Instagram is first and foremost about beautiful pictures, so your priority should be to show off your creative side and make the post look aesthetically pleasing.

Twitter

Twitter is often the first stop for people joining the world of social media. As a news-driven platform, it offers the perfect opportunity for comment and discussion, both as a brand and an individual. When using Twitter, it’s important to remember it functions based on ‘look at that’, rather than ‘look at me’. Using Twitter to stay on top of industry agendas is a great way to prove your relevance.

Make sure you’re following and interacting with existing influential leaders in your industry and try to get your content in front of them. A key influencer retweeting your message can lead to a hugely expanded reach, and consequently more engagements and followers.

Facebook

Facebook may not seem like the most immediately relevant channel for businesses, but it holds value in its SEO potential, and in allowing you to have a seamless visual identity and tone of voice across the web. Having these multiple touch points is helpful in keeping your messaging clear and consistent.

One stand-out benefit of using Facebook is its sophisticated and intricate options for paid promotion. This is something worth investing in if you want to promote a product, cause or event, and may yield better results than other platforms.

In terms of content, Facebook can be used to support content pushed out across other channels, and focus on longer form opinion pieces, such as blogs or videos. Whereas other platforms encourage short and concise statuses, Facebook allows you to share more than 60,000 characters within a post, making it great for telling a story or engaging in meaningful content sharing.

Final thoughts…

Social media today hosts a plethora of tools to help you tell your story. It’s a hugely varied space that is highly flexible to the individual or brand, and since it’s now so pervasive, it’s easier than ever to get your message where you want and to whom you want.

Do remember that social media is not a one-way street. The quickest way to put people off is by being too ‘me me me’; using your own content is fantastic and certainly recommended, but don’t be afraid to share others’ work. You can still demonstrate your value and knowledge by directing your followers to authoritative and illuminating content from across the web. This is also often a good way to continue to expand your network – just make sure you always credit appropriately.

It can be daunting to start a brand-new social media strategy and post relevant, creative content on a regular basis. If you feel you need a helping hand, have a look at our social media services here. Our community managers look after every aspect of your social media channels and online communities. Whether you’re after a bespoke social campaign, paid media support, influencer engagement, or a full audit of your existing social landscape and that of your competitors, we’ve got you covered.

How to use social media to build your reputation

The trend towards organic, vegan and sustainable products is showing no signs of slowing, and the fight for businesses to stand out is fiercer than ever. As part of Natural & Organic Products Europe, which attracts over 10,000 attendees annually, this year’s Natural Food Show will host over 700 brands and suppliers, hundreds of new product launches from across the globe, and top industry figures will be giving inspiring keynotes and seminars.

We’ve highlighted some of the top food and drink trends soaring through 2019, and the brands we think are set to wow retailers at the food show with their new product development.

Raw

Raw or cold-processed ingredients (never heated above 42°C) generally means less energy is used during their preparation, and that instead of more traditional methods are used, for example, sun-drying. The theory behind the trend is that consuming uncooked foods boosts energy, aids in weight loss and prevents disease.

Raw Press (stand Q30)

Leading health and wellbeing brand of organic, raw cold-pressed juices, Raw Press, is launching its innovative healthy snack alternative, Pronuts. It is a raw, vegan, gluten-free protein snack bar that comes in a doughnut form, with a base of oats, cashews, dates and vegan hemp protein powder. Raw Press will also showcase a bean-to-bar chocolate icing in three flavours: Matcha, Chocolate and Rose.

The Raw Chocolate Company (stand S31)

The Raw Chocolate Company was set up in 2006 with a mission to make chocolate better. The company is promoting its organic, vegan chocolate bars, now in fully compostable and recyclable packaging. They’re also showcasing three new exciting additions to the range: Koffee Kapow, Mint Mania and Silky Coconut.

Cannabis-infused

Cannabidiol, also known as CBD, is having a huge impact in the wellness industry, dominating headlines and product launches. From skin care products to bottled drinks, chocolates to supplement sprays, this hemp-derivative is becoming more and more popular, with experts and celebrities alike advocating its health benefits.

Almighty Foods (stand P9)

Almighty Foods will be showcasing their hand-crafted chocolate bars and nut butter that are traditionally stone-milled in Scotland and made with lab-tested, raw CBD extract. All their products are vegan and certified organic, and they pride themselves on their fully compostable plant-based packaging.

Minor Figures (stand R40)

Minor Figures is a UK based independent coffee company, focused on creating innovative products, from nitro cold brew coffee to oat m*lk and chai tea. Most recently, the company launched a CBD oil designed to restore and replenish the body following over-consumption of coffee. The entire Minor Figures range is dairy-free, vegan-friendly and contains no added sugar.

MatchaNOW (stand W3)

Beverage company MatchaNow has launched a new ready-to-drink tea combining matcha with CBD. Their innovative twist-and-shake cap stores the matcha and CBD oil to preserve their purity and potency until a simple twist releases both into the drink. Since launching in the UK in 2017 with its Original and Lightly Sweet flavours, MatchaNow’s range also includes Peppermint, Ginger & Turmeric, and now CBD. Their next move will be towards environmentally friendly packaging, by looking into compostable bottle materials.

Fermented

Fermented drinks have been around for centuries, but the health-drink trend has only just started causing a stir in the UK. The probiotics and organic acids they contain have been said to have a positive effect on gut health, improving digestion, the immune system, and neurological health. Nowadays the market is booming with bacteria-packed drinks like kombucha, kefir, and kvass.

Captain Kombucha (stand R26)

Drinks brand Captain Kombucha will showcase its Oh My Gutness drink at the food show. This sparkling fruit drink fermented with water kefir grains is full of gut-friendly bacteria, antioxidants and enzymes, and is low in calories and dairy-free. It is available in six different flavours: Original, California Raspberry, Pineapple, Ginger & Lemon, Coconut, and Cayenne Pepper.

Bio-tiful Dairy (stand P6)

Kefir is a 2000-year-old cultured milk drink, made from milk and authentic live cultures. Bio-tiful Dairy is on a mission to bring gut health to the UK, and their range of kefir smoothies, milk, and yoghurts all contain billions of gut-friendly bacteria, vitamins and minerals. Their newest range, Kefir-Quark, is the world’s first combination of kefir and quark cultures and is available in Original and Cranberry flavours.

Karma Kombucha (by Biogroupe) (stand R20)

Organic, fair trade, fermented tea brand, Karma Kombucha is introducing Ginger Beer by Karma, an alcohol-free soft drink, with no added sweeteners and a genuine ginger taste, thanks to its natural fermentation. Also on show will be Biogroupe’s Karma Kefruit, which is packed with good bacteria and yeast, and produced by fermenting water and fruit with kefir grains.

Sustainable

The anti-plastic efforts of 2018 are only growing this year, with more and more businesses making commitments to reduce their plastic production, including supermarkets trialling plastic-free zones. Many brands are opting for paper packaging, recycled materials, or bioplastics.

Lovechock (stand M20)

Ethical chocolate brand Lovechock has been boasting plastic-free packaging since 2011, and what’s more, the company has recently pledged to reduce its packaging material by 20% in order to further shrink its environmental impact. The chocolatier produces raw cocoa that is processed as little as possible and has just launched its innovative CBD-infused ‘mini-tablet’, which contains 75% cacao and is sweetened with Arenga-palm sugar to give it a rich taste of toffee.

Conscious Chocolate (stand Z14)

Raw chocolate pioneer, Conscious Chocolate, has recently re-branded and will be showing off its new eco-packaging, which has a recyclable outer, printed with vegetable inks and a water varnish, plus an inner wrapper that is plant-based, as well as a home compostable film. The new packaging is intended to display the evocative nature of the wild, ethical, premium ingredients. All bars are vegan, organic, soy-free, dairy-free, gluten-free and refined sugar-free.

Tony’s Chocolonely (stand U10)

Tony’s Chocolonely has been fighting against slavery in the chocolate industry, aiming to show the world that chocolate can be made differently in the way we treat cocoa farmers. But while this is its primary focus, the Dutch company also places importance on climate change and the environment. As well as taking part in initiatives to reduce its carbon footprint, Tony’s Chocolonely try to use locally produced raw materials in their packaging and use recycled materials where possible.

Cocofina (stand P7)

Award-winning British organic food producer Cocofina specialises in authentic coconut products, all free of plastic packaging. The products are innovative, vegan-friendly and certified organic by the Soil Association UK. Their stand at the food show will be displaying their newly certified Coconut Water, Organic Vegan Low GI Chocolate Spread and our Organic Coconut Water with High Strength Turmeric.

Do you have a food or drink product you want to launch or simply gain more exposure? Our award-winning consumer PR team are here to help. Whether it’s working with influencers, creating engaging social media campaigns or supporting your product or service launch, we’ve got you covered. Contact us today to find out more.

Leading the charge at The Natural Food Show 2019

April Fool’s Day is an exciting time for marketers. Many brands cleverly tweak their tone of voice online to great effect. Acting in a slightly goofier fashion can reveal the human side of a brand, making them more relatable and personable. This day can inspire all, including those who do not have the budget for traditional stunts – simple yet effective visuals can spark the imagination of your customer base and make them remember you.

Below are PHA Social’s favourite April Fool’s day gags from 2019, as well as our 3 top tips on how to make your audience giggle next year!

  1. Being directly funny isn’t the only option

A lot of brands seemed to default to the traditional gag of releasing fake products, however, this doesn’t have to be the only way to cut through the April Fool’s noise. This day is about being light-hearted – what would you like your customers to know about your brand that you may have difficulty saying normally?

Whilst we might have expected The Muppets to tell a joke, we felt their simple acknowledgement of the day was light-hearted and warm – it reminded us of how the Muppets make us feel.  Could you use April Fool’s for a similar effect with your workplace or employees, reminding customers of the friendly faces behind the brand?

  1. Respond to ongoing conversation surrounding your brand

Some conversations/feelings around your brand will not be appropriate to respond to when they appear casually throughout the year. However, April Fool’s day is an opportunity to engage in this conversation, due to the relaxed environment social media supports. Duolingo is iconic for its repetitive notifications. Their video announcing Duolingo Push was able to merge all the conversations surrounding this feature into a light-hearted piece that shows they not only listen to their audience, but they also acknowledge a comical part of their business.

Introducing Duolingo Push

The moment you've all been d̶r̶e̶a̶d̶i̶n̶g̶ waiting for…Introducing Duolingo Push! We're taking notifications out of your phone and into the real world. That's right: Duo the Owl will literally show up to remind you to practice so you never miss a day of language learning again.Try it today: https://push.duolingo.com

Posted by Duolingo on Monday, April 1, 2019

On the flip side, some online pranks will spark new conversation surrounding your brand, revealing gaps in your product catalogue. Love Hearts Sour Hearts feels like a perfect anti-product to us, which many could relate too!

  1. Do not admit you know it’s April Fool’s Day

For many, April 1st is a normal day, and so there are plenty of genuine articles and content posted online. The art of this holiday is to blend your jokes so that they appear (largely) natural and authentic. If you have someone in your comments saying, ‘this has to be an April fool’s, surely!’, then you have succeeded in creating a mystery – and your engagement will grow from this confusion. Caffé Nero was able to successfully maintain their sophisticated style whilst establishing this illusion by utilising Instagram stories. They ‘announced’ that ‘due to a manufacturing issue’, their chocolate cups had to be recalled.

#AprilFools

Due to a manufacturing issue we have had to recall our chocolate cups. Sorry for any inconvenience caused. #AprilFools

Posted by Caffè Nero on Friday, March 29, 2019

April Fool’s day should not be seen as a difficult part of your marketing calendar. Listen to your audience, be bold, try something different and monitor the results so learnings can be applied to the next campaign. Just remember that important, genuine posts should be avoided on this day or you could encounter the same response that Theresa May’s announcement of a higher living wage had on Monday.

If you would you like to capitalise on national days such as April Fool’s Day in the future, get in touch with PHA Social to discuss how we can help people discover your brand in a fun and creative way.

How to maximise your April Fools’ online content