Tastemade teams up with Blavity to create video vertical centered on Black food culture

Tastemade and Blavity Inc. are teaming up to create a video vertical covering food from a young, Black perspective.

Called Sauce, the vertical will debut this fall with short-form videos distributed on both Tastemade and Blavity’s online and social platforms, including a dedicated Sauce channel on Blavity’s connected TV platform. Content will focus on Black restaurants, chefs and food creators. Sauce will lean on the Tastemade’s expertise with food content, and Blavity’s predominantly young, BIPOC audience.

The collaboration gives Blavity — a Black-focused digital media company — access to Tastemade’s larger audience and an opportunity to move into the food category with the digital video network, said Orchid Richardson, svp of digital at Blavity Inc. Working with Blavity gives Tastemade “more authority and authenticity” in Black storytelling, said Al Hawes, head of partner experience and operations at Tastemade. 

Tastemade claims it reaches over 300 million monthly viewers across platforms, and Blavity Inc. reaches more than 100 million. More than half of Tastemade’s audience identifies as multicultural, with 25% being African American, according to the company.

People spend 174% more time on Blavity pages with food-related content compared to the average page, the company said. Food is also the third most popular topic on Blavity’s travel title, Travel Noire.

Longer-form series are under development to go live in early 2023. Some of the programs the two companies are working on include a cooking show focused on reimagining classic Black dishes called “Family Treats,” and “Plot to Pot,” centered on the topics of food sustainability and sourcing. Another is called “Mind, Body and Soul Food,” which will tie soul food to health.

“Food as a connector is a pillar in the Black community. Food, and how it brings us together, plays a big part in the community,” said Sherine Patrick, associate client investment lead at media agency Mindshare. (Patrick led the 2020 launch of Mindshare’s Black Community private marketplace — or PMP — to help advertisers spend more efficiently with Black publishers.)

Tastemade and Blavity will also co-develop and co-produce sponsored content for brands.

“Whether it’s sponsorship or integration or original content based on a brand brief, we are open to any kind of brand-funded or sponsored content,” Hawes said. He declined to say if any sponsors were already lined up for Sauce. He also declined to share how revenue driven by Sauce will be split between Tastemade and Blavity. The two companies began discussing Sauce with advertisers this week, starting with brands they have worked with in the past, Hawes said.

“If this partnership brings more awareness to Black culinary skills, especially those that find their roots in history, it can be a great moment for brands to show their support of the culture and show up through authentic alignment,” Patrick said.

Advertisers in the food and beverage industries would be “a natural first choice for that type of sponsorship alignment,” Patrick said, as well as home, cookware or retail brands and retailers.

Sauce’s content will be aimed at all audiences, not just Black viewers, and will cover a range of different cultures, histories and recipes in Black food, Richardson said. 

“Black folk are not monolithic. There are so many different things that make us up in the dichotomy of who we are. So you can’t talk about Black food without respecting the diaspora across the brand,” Richardson said.

This article has been updated with Richardson’s correct title.

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