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Fast food out but tribes and anti-glamour in for 2003

LONDON - Fast food, hi-tech and designer clothes are out while tribes, anti-glamour and 'trucker chic' are in, according to a new survey of trends for 2003 from Euro RSCG Worldwide.

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Other trends to sweep the world will include a focus on personal safety and avoiding anxiety, perhaps through buying personal weaponry or water filtration devices; people putting their faith in family-owned companies; and young people embracing energy drinks and narcotics.

The research looks at what the global, youth and European trends will be for the coming year and has been compiled from Euro RSCG's Strategic Trendspotting and Research team and a group that the company describes as a "global panel of Stargazers".

Among the top global trends are anxiety avoidance and the pursuit of safety, triggered by the events of September 11 2001 and the economic downturn that has reduced job security.

In response to this, Euro RSCG predicts that people will seek out the genuine, and reject quick fixes.

Research shows that consumers think companies owned and managed by families are more likely to make products they can trust, and to treat their employees well. "We'll see more companies follow the lead of [cleaning products firm] SC Johnson, which last year rebranded itself as 'SC Johnson: A family company'," it says.

For young people, the research finds that "tribes" are functioning as substitute families, especially among young, unmarried adults. It also claims that youth are seeking experiences that stimulate all five senses. "Energy drinks, narcotics, indulgent foods, sensual fabrics and visceral music will thrive, while high-tech environments and products will be a turnoff," it says.

Fashion-wise, young people will reject glamour in favour of all things "gritty", with looks such as "trucker chic" and "bohemian chic" taking over.

While McDonald's and other fast food chains already face the threat of legal action from obese people, the research claims that young people are rejecting their parents' fast food in favour of healthy options. It says that chains offering fresh, convenient foods -- especially with vegetarian options -- will reap the rewards.

Marian Salzman, chief strategy officer at Euro RSCG Worldwide, said: "So much of what we're seeing in trends right now is a response to our heightened feelings of insecurity. Even as we go about our daily business, we are aware that things are not quite normal. This is why we're turning to products, services and new behaviours that help us to retain some sense of control."

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