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. Snack

Snack, an app where TikTok meets dating, gets $3.5 million in funding. Why should you care? The app idea came to former Plenty of Fish exec, Kimberly Kaplan, when she noticed a certain demographic set (Gen Z) would match on Bumble or Tinder and move their conversation onto less dating-centric apps such as Snap and Instagram. Snack hopes to build around Gen Z’s preferred casual dating tendencies with their video-first app that also will include video editing features and enabled chatting through mutual video “likes” rather than swiping. TBD if this is the app to tear Gen Z away from their beloved TikTok. [TechCrunch]

2. Buttergate

Canadians have been complaining about hard butter. Why should you care? According to foodies in Canada, something is amiss about their butter – it’s harder to spread and does not soften at room temperature. In maybe a surprise to no one, they’re saying the culprit is the pandemic. With more people staying home during COVID, demand for butter rose 12% in 2020 and dairy farmers in Canada are trying to meet the demand by adding palm-oil based supplements that help to increase milk output in cows. However, these supplements are known to have a higher melting point, thus the hardened butter. File this under more unintended side effects of COVID: people “having a cow” about butter. [BBC News]

3. TikTok Incubator

TikTok has tapped 100 Black creators for an incubator program. Why should you care? The incubator program, TikTok for Black Creators, includes creators across all industries – from musicians, to chefs, to educators. It will provide additional support to the selected 100 to help boost their careers through TikTok with specialized focus and networking. TikTok has been a platform for discovering rising stars in the music and entertainment industry, and this new program helps to address racial inequalities for Black creatives. We hope to see more efforts and programs like this to create much-needed lasting change. [RollingStone]

4. Chess.com

Chess.com has quietly become one of the biggest streaming sites. Why should you care? To put into numbers, registered users grew from 20 million in 2017 to more than 57 million today, and Twitch users have consumed more chess content than they have any other game – surpassing favorites like League of Legends and Fortnite. Though Netflix’s The Queen’s Gambit can take some credit, this resurgence of the age-old game of Chess has actually been years in the making and the pandemic only furthered its slow comeback. With people being stuck at home, having less options of safe hobbies and a yearning for something nostalgic and familiar, Chess was an easy choice. [Protocol]

5. Solo Sports

2020 found more Americans being active and solo sports gaining popularity. Why should you care? Though the mention of 2020 will likely bring back memories of hunkering down at home in a pandemic, the numbers tell a different story. Overall, Americans were more physically active in 2020 than in previous years and socially distanced or solo sports such as golf, tennis and skateboarding made huge gains. In addition, all outdoor sports in 2020 did well: a larger percentage of people hiked, fished, biked, and walked this past year. Despite all the bad news, the pandemic forced Americans to swap out being couch potatoes for being more active outdoors. [Sportico]

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