Colin v Cuthbert, nolo beverages and the Met Office supercomputer

The story that got us all talking this month? The biggest power struggle of 2021, really: The head-to-head (and subsequent social media furore) between Colin and Cuthbert. The respective caterpillar-based chocolate cakes of Marks & Spencer and Aldi that grace the table of kids’ birthday parties up and down the country were pitted against one another when M&S filed an intellectual property claim against Aldi with the High Court. The claim was based on the fact that Aldi’s rendition of the chocolate insect cake was too similar in appearance to M&S’s Colin which has led to Cuthbert being removed from the budget supermarket’s shelves since February. Whilst the story is trivial, the social media reaction has been genius, particularly from the Aldi team, as they embarked on a #freecuthbert campaign calling M&S “snitches” and threatening to “Colin” their lawyers. 

Keeping with the unexpected consumer revelation, it was also reported that the retro and gentle-on the-liver refreshment, Shandy, was making a comeback as a nation favourite due to the popularity in no or low alcohol drinks. The change in consumer preference, which has led to sales of “nolo” (no or low alcohol) beer, wine and spirits soaring by 50 per cent, has meant that brewers have begun creating craft versions of nolo beverages. Most recently, fresh takes on the traditional Shandy, including an elderflower infused lager top by Oxford-based ‘Shandy Shack’, are being introduced to the market bringing the 70’s classic into the hands of millennial consumers. 

There were also reports this month that the Met Office would be partnering with Microsoft to build a weather forecasting supercomputer that, by the time of its completion which is forecast to be next summer, will be one of the top 25 super computers in the world. The project, which has received a £1.2 billion investment from the UK government, will be able to form more detailed weather models, run more potential weather scenarios and predict severe weather more accurately. The computer will use 100% renewable energy to power its 1.5 million processor cores needed for the 60 quadrillion (60,000,000,000,000,000) calculations it will process per second.

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