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. Convenience stores’ success

Sheetz, Wawa and Kwik Trips now offer meal kits, salads, Kombucha and espressos. Why should you care? Since 2000, the number of convenience stores has grown by 28%. With new offerings like Amazon Prime and Postmates, American preferences are changing. Spending four minutes, on average, in a convenience store gives consumers the satisfaction of having something immediately and completing their transaction in the same amount of time as ordering via Amazon. In an industry of struggling brick-and-mortar retail, convenience store brands are succeeding because they are listening and adjusting to consumers’ changing habits. [CNN]

2. Dunkin’ X Snoop

Dunkin’ Donuts has partnered with Snoop Dogg to launch their plant-based Beyond D-O-Double G Sandwich. Why should you care? This sandwich is a remix of Dunkin’s Beyond Sausage Sandwich, but using donuts as “buns” rather than bread. Dunkin’ received so much success from their first Beyond Sausage Sandwich that they are continuing their positive momentum by collaborating with Snoop Dogg. With continued interest in sustainable flexitarianism and the success of plant-based product launches with national chains in the past year, we can expect to see more plant-based meat menu innovations in 2020. [Newsweek]

3. Hummer goes electric

America’s most needlessly masculine vehicle is going electric. Why should you care? The Hummer was a symbol of early 2000 excess which ended with The Great Recession. Hummers were expensive, huge and uncomfortable. They were seen as a way to demonstrate masculinity, hence their slogan, “reclaim your masculinity.” Since the recession, environmental concerns have grown and gender expression has evolved. To show they too have changed with the times, GM will be relaunching the Hummer as an electric vehicle during a Super Bowl commercial featuring LeBron James.[Vox]

4. The Bachelor, billionaire edition

Japanese billionaire, Yusaku Maezawa, doesn’t want to go solo on his SpaceX moon expedition. Why should you care? Yusuku Maezawa, founder of Zozotown (Japan’s largest online retailer) is the billionaire paying to be the first rider on the SpaceX rocket. Maezawa says that after running his business for two decades, he has begun to feel lonely and empty. His solution: participate in a documentary about his search for a life partner. Any woman above 20 years of age who wants to “enjoy life to the fullest and wants world peace” can apply to be Maezawa’s girlfriend through his website. Though few could finance his solution, his plight is representative of larger social trends of loneliness and isolation rising with adults throughout the world. Brands who understand how they can help (and we mean genuinely help) will earn loyalty from younger generations across the globe. [The Verge]

5. The rise of “Techlash”

Tech companies were once many students’ dream jobs, but not anymore. Why should you care? People were attracted to tech companies because they could receive good pay while feeling like they were positively contributing to the world. However, according to Pew Research, the share of Americans that believe tech companies have a positive impact on society has dropped from 71% in 2015 to 50% in 2019. Furthermore, recent revelations about elections, fake news, data usage, content moderation, working conditions, etc., have increased concerns with the ethical baggage that accompanies a job in Silicon Valley. This growing skepticism of tech jobs has been deemed “Techlash.” Overall, this isn’t too surprising as we’ve seen a rising trend of people rethinking the tech in their lives within the past couple of years. Brands would do well to identify and eliminate their own potential ethical baggage if they want to continue to be an attractive employer for the next generation of workers. [New York Times]

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