The DIY product trend is gaining momentum in the West. Put bluntly, brands offer consumers sets of ingredients (semi-finished products), from which the buyer independently makes ready-made products.
No special skills are required from neophytes — “culinary constructors” are as simple as possible. In addition, manufacturers supply those who have ventured into such culinary experiments with detailed instructions attached to each dish.
At the same time, the “do it yourself” principle in food differs from the unified IKEA approach, when the resulting product has exactly the look that the author intended. The DIY grocery economy is based on the individuality trend — using different combinations of ingredients, each time you can get a completely different result. The finished product will express the aesthetic and taste preferences exclusively of the one who prepares it.
In FMCG confectioners began to offer such a technique for the first time after having released first mixtures for baking at the end of the 20th century, and then completely ready-made cake crusts. The consumers only needed to add cream and glaze. They could easily say: «I made it myself», to which they were incredibly proud and caused envious glances from friends and acquaintances that were less successful in the kitchen.
It turned out that it is quite simple to transform the ordering desserts according to individual recipes, which had gained popularity by that time (individuality was a rather abstract concept, since the assortment was still regulated) into “make a cake at home” sets. The manufacturers offered ingredients and their own expertise, but it depended solely on the consumers what kind of cake they would receive in the end.
The versatility of creams, fillings, impregnations, sprinkles and confectionery decor allows self-realization in the preparation of the most unusual cakes, and, exactly the same incredible culinary discoveries. That was very quickly appreciated by housewives who want to be «not like everyone else.»
Until now, it is in the confectionery industry that this approach remains very popular. We counted about a hundred classic recipes for ready-made baked goods — from traditional cookies and exotic muffins to various muffins, gingerbreads and cakes (they were not included in this review because of their «banality»).
The modern consumers crave original, bold and unusual tastes. They are ready to try new things and are not afraid of culinary experiments. And brands are striving to satisfy this demand. The development of technologies and the emergence of new ingredients allow you to expand the scope of products almost indefinitely.
For example, Trader Joe’s Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Almond Biscuit Baking Mix has made this popular confection available to those allergic to gluten.
Cookies are one of the favorite treats of consumers around the world. For example, TopData survey results show that 95% of Americans eat at least one monthly meal. At the same time, every fifth resident of the United States consumes from 24 to 42 cookies per month. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, the demand for cookies has grown by 25% in the United States alone, and by 31.6% worldwide. Hypoallergenic biscuits have huge market prospects around the world.
The inclusion of a small amount of coconut flour and tapioca starch in the mixture, as well as the use of chocolate chips made from cane sugar, cocoa liquor, and cocoa butter, make ready-made cookies affordable for those on a gluten-free diet.
And if consumers use dairy alternatives or lactose-free milk instead of classic milk for baking, users with lactose allergies can also use these tasty cookies.
Ready mixes allow wives and mothers to show bakery independence and creativity without undue effort. In addition, do-it-yourself kits almost completely eliminate the risk of the final phrase — “the dough didn’t work out” — that can ruin any gastronomic holiday. The perfect solution for busy people striving for creativity in their own kitchen!
Today, DIY products are offered by a large number of brands and not only from the confectionery industry. Just worth it, Crispy Facon is a meat-free alternative to bacon that satisfies the interest in plant-based nutrition from the brand Muscle Food.
The manufacturer offers a set for making vegan bacon from peeled parsnip slices. The Crispy Facon Kit includes everything you need to get a bacon substitute at home, including a savory marinade made from runny smoke, yeast, garlic, soy sauce and black pepper. All ingredients in the set are natural and do not contain artificial colors or preservatives.
Muscle Food claims that the company’s self-made meatless bacon product is the first of its kind in the UK, and the finished product is so «unmistakably meaty» that it is difficult to distinguish it from the usual version.
Other interesting and unexpected examples of DIY products (we found many examples of what to eat and what to eat) and DIY drinks (from smoothies to beer) are in our review.
DIY Dunkin’ Donuts
The updated Dunkin Donuts range now includes DIY donut kits. The idea came from their employee Norma Valkenaar at Dunkin’ restaurant in Concord, California. Valkenaar wanted to bring home some ingredients so that her nephews could collect the donuts at home on their own.
The children really enjoyed this activity. And it turned out that it could become a popular SKU for many other visitors to the chain’s retail outlets.
As a result, Dunkin ‘gave fans the opportunity to create their own custom donut at home by introducing the new product to all of its restaurants in North America. The set includes four fresh donuts, as well as various icing and pastry decorations.
Consumers liked the novelty. “The simple joy of making your own donut makes the little ones get on fire by the very process of cooking. And when parents prepare them together with their children, everyone is happy.”
Already mentioned by us and well known to consumers, the Trader Joe’s brand launched the fall line of its favorite Oatmeal Cookie Mix for baking oatmeal cookies on the US market in September 2019. This time with pieces of pumpkin and chocolate.
To make delicious cookies at home from Trader Joe’s proprietary blend, you need nothing but eggs, butter and a little water. The new SKU contains dark chocolate chunks and pumpkin powder, giving the popular sweetness a rich chocolate flavor and tenderness. In addition, the resulting cookie creates an unmistakable orange glow. “What could be more festive than this!”, the company believes.
Auntie Anne’s Handmade Pretzels
Quite popular brand Auntie Auntie Anne’s from Pennsylvania, USA presented an exclusive DIY kit for making pretzels at home.
Pretzel lovers will find everything they need to make 10 freshly baked sweet cinnamon pretzels for tea in the kit. To get the brand’s signature scent, customers just need to add butter, stir, twist and bake the pieces in the oven.
Company President Heather Niry recommends «getting creative». If, instead of cinnamon, sprinkle the dough with coarse salt on top, voila, you will get an authentic pretzel (a branded beer snack from southern Germany).
CooKING Burger @Home
Last year’s lockdown greatly expanded the DIY approach for foodservice brands.
For example, Burger King Japan invited fans to cook their «Whopper» while being at home during the pandemic. For people who could not visit Burger King restaurants, from May 1, 2020, there was an amazing new product — CooKING Burger @Home.
To share the famous Burger King flavor, the brand offered a rather original set of two 100% grilled beef patties, four signature sesame buns that are cooked online over an open fire in an original oven and … that’s it.
The third «component» in the kit included a leaflet with the original Whopper recipe. In addition, the company “was not forbidden to add a little creativity and make “your own Whopper”, adding “any natural and fresh ingredients to your taste”, as was written in the instructions.
CooKING Burger @Home’s offer was only available for home delivery orders. Of course! Some of the «creative initiatives» that have filled social networks could have made the chefs of a regulated fast food chain go crazy.
The idea was liked by franchisees in other countries. Their followers from France went even further than their Japanese colleagues.
While all the chain’s establishments were in quarantine, Burger King France began offering its fans … a series of visual infographics, inspiring how to cook at home not only Whopper, but also other popular menu items of one of the leaders of the fast food industry. Burger King France showed their fans how to create DIY Whopper, DIY Big King, and DIY Big Fish during quarantine.
Brochures detailing key ingredients such as beef patties, red onions, tomatoes and lettuce flew like hotcakes, while ground meat, hamburger buns and vegetables in store delivery orders grew by orders of magnitude. And only the services of delivery of ready-made meals from restaurants, which flourished with the pressure of lockdown, prevented the implementation of the entire menu of the brand.
Homemade DIY Hamburger
Trying to help consumers continue to enjoy self-contained cooking, The Counter Custom Burgers introduced their own Family Burger Bundles.
This time, consumers were offered complete sets for making family burgers. The Counter admitted that they tried to help their fans recreate the authentic atmosphere of [temporarily closed to visitors] restaurants at home.
For $49.99 consumers could choose from two DIY burger kits: Classic Family 4-Pack and Mini Burger Family 12-Pack.
The classic family 4-Pack included all-natural, antibiotic and hormone free beef or chicken cutlets. In addition, each pack included a full standard assortment of essential ingredients with buns, a slab of cheddar cheese, lettuce, chopped tomatoes, pickles, red onions, garlic aioli, hickory barbecue, mayonnaise, ketchup, and mustard.
The Mini Burger Family 12-Pack contained the same ingredients as the standard set, only in a miniature size, including cute small mini beef patties and mini Hawaiian buns.
The Counter family DIY burger kits have been available for a limited time but have become a notable highlight for restaurant fans. And it turns out that The Counter mini burgers delighted not only little hamburger lovers. And they have become a separate love of Internet users.
At-Home Taco Bar
Endless possibilities are presented by the DIY trend for national cuisines.
This is how enjoying Mexican food at home looks like from one of the American food service leaders, Taco Bell. The DIY At-Home Taco Bar, which can be easily organized at home, includes eight flour tortillas, 12 crispy nacho chips, seasoned beef, lettuce, beans, cheese sauce, tomatoes, sour cream, cheese and, of course, specialties — Taco Bell sauce bags. In general, everything you might need to prepare signature tacos in your own kitchen.
A set that allows you to make six authentic tacos costs $25. Launched before Cinco de Mayo-2020, At-Home Taco Bar DIY kits have been appreciated by their fans. The tacos assembled after heating (just using a regular microwave oven) were exactly the same to which consumers are accustomed to in Taco Bell restaurants.
The DIY initiatives of the Mexican foodservice leader were supported by local players. To enjoy the original taco recipe at home, customers only need to stuff the cakes from the ingredients included in the set and reheat. Our review includes the most exotic recipes and original approaches.
For example, a whole family set for making tacos at home according to an exotic recipe from Rubio’s Coastal Grill. Available for ordering through the branded app or on Rubios.com exclusively on taco days — Tuesdays.
The set includes all-natural grilled chicken, grilled shrimp or steak with black or brown pinto beans, rice, lemongrass or Mexican rice, tortilla chips, eight corn and flour tortillas and all the necessary tacos, including guacamole, salad romaine, grated cheese, chipotle sauce and soft salsa.
Moe’s Build Your Own Taco Kit from Moe’s Southwest Grill has also expanded the possibilities for making tacos at home.
The Make Your Own Tacos sets have everything you need to make 12 tacos, which is enough to feed four to six people (which is not too much, a dozen soft flour tortillas, salad, grated cheese, salsa, sour cream, queso and other fillings in Moe’s Southwest Grill cups), showing that the DIY trend is perfect for the horeca sector.
Another exotic Cinco de Mayo Taco Kit from California Pizza Kitchen. It is available to order through the CPK Market exclusively on Cinco de Mayo dates (seasonal sales start a few weeks before the holiday).
To make California Pizza Kitchen DIY tacos for four, the set includes, in addition to tortillas, nachos and chicken steak, rum tomatoes, Serrano peppers, yellow onions, cilantro, limes, vegetarian black beans, signature Hot Sauce, and a special grated cheese, creating an incredible flavor to the finished dish.
The company will add a jug of margarita to the taco set for additional $32.
Italian Pizza at Home
Italian pizzeria Mico from Denver, USA delighted pizza fans. Mici DIY pizza set was designed by a co-founder Kim Michely.
Before opening an Italian pizzeria where pizza is made according to authentic family recipes, the Italian-American Kim worked as a teacher. Excited that families can spend more time together, she came up with the idea of making a signature pizza set so that the popular Italian recipe could be easily made at home on her own. Then her husband and co-founder, Jeff Micheli, created a cute self-help booklet teaching families how to make the set pizza perfect.
As a result, their customers received a standard box, which included all the necessary ingredients. Creativity was not forbidden, but encouraged. When fans of the pizzeria uploaded photos of the pizzas they’d got to Mici Facebook page, they received a coupon for a free serving of gelato-Italian ice cream.
Einstein Bros. Bagels has turned the bagel making process into delicious entertainment. Take & Make Pizza Bagel Kit and Take & Make Bagel Deli Kit not only allow you to feed your family at home, but make “food assembly” a fun experience.
A family set with freshly baked bagels, branded pasta and all the necessary ingredients (Pizza Bagel Kit with salami, cheese and Einstein Bros.’s signature sauce is still available on the brand’s menu) is enough to easily feed a family or a group of eight with original round sandwiches.
You can easily and quickly prepare bagels for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Without being limited to only standard recipes, of course, which fans of the brand have already appreciated since the beginning of 2020.
Sets for making authentic New York bagels from Bruegger’s Bagel were only available to consumers in May 2020. Initially, the limited edition DIY kits (which included 100% Vermont cream cheese, bacon, chicken, cheddar, tomatoes, onions and lettuce) the company wanted to coincide with Mother’s Day, but then stretched out the offer throughout May for a month, delighting their fans and not only.