Each week, Padilla’s Insights + Strategy team stands at the intersection of people, culture and brands to bring you five stories that you can read in five minutes.

1. 3D-printed chicken nuggets  

KFC’s soon-to-be latest menu addition? 3D-printed chicken nuggets. Why should you care? For this lab-grown meat, they’re partnering with a Russian research laboratory to develop what they call “meat of the future.” Sounds appetizing right? This will be the first of its kind and intended to look, taste and feel like KFC’s original chicken. It’s also way more environmentally-friendly than standard meat production processes, cutting energy consumption to more than half. [Mashable]

2. State Fair to-go

Minnesota State Fair – one of the largest state fairs in the nation – is offering a drive-thru option in lieu of its cancellation this year. Why should you care? It includes a 1.5-mile route through the fairgrounds with 16 of fairgoers’ favorite vendors. Even though 2020 has brought new meaning to “cancel culture” with everything near and dear to us getting canceled because of COVID-19, we’re continually seeing how events/brands/businesses are pivoting to accommodate – with the Great Minnesota Get-Together being no exception. [Star Tribune]

3. Inflatable Pools

In the age of COVID this summer, people are finding solace in…inflatable kiddie pools? Why should you care? As most cities around the nation are finding their community pools shut down or limiting access because of coronavirus, adults are taking relief wherever they can get it – and this summer, it’s in inflatable miniature-sized pools that accommodates for ¼ of their body and not much else. To quote the Washington Post, “If this summer has a theme, the theme is “it’s better than nothing,” and if “better than nothing” has a symbol, it’s the backyard inflatable pool.” [Washington Post]

4. Cottagecore

‘Cottagecore’ is the latest aesthetic trend to gain popularity during the pandemic. Why should you care? First let’s address what cottagecore even is, think: idyllic country life, warm and cozy interiors, rolling fields, wildflowers, homemade baked goods, growing plants, raising animals and more flowers. So in a gist, the cottagecore aesthetic is a romanticized idea of rural life with its main focus being self-sustainability, the simple life and harmony with nature – naturally, you can see why this would gain traction during a pandemic, where we’re constantly seeking nostalgia and rediscovering our appreciation for nature. [HuffPost]

5. Mini Meditations

In the year of unlikely partnerships, here’s another: the meditation app, Headspace, is partnering with Snapchat to bring you mini meditations. Why should you care? As referenced earlier in the inflatable pools tidbit, we’re taking comfort/relief where we can find it – and now one of those places, is the popular social media app, Snapchat. Users will soon be able to access Headspace meditations directly in the chat section of their app – completely free of charge. Also, this iteration of meditating is social, meaning instead of doing it solo as you normally would, mini meditations encourages you to find peace within and with friends. [Mashable]

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