Bakers Journal

Final Proof: Holiday kits making merry memories

November 29, 2021
By Jane Dummer

Holiday kits provide entertainment, a chance for family and friends to bond and delicious treats without starting from scratch

Photo by Julia Konovalova, courtesy Sweet Flour Bake Shop

The holiday season is a time for celebrating traditions and entertaining. This often increases time spent in the kitchen. After almost two years of increased time spent in the kitchen, I’m thinking consumers may want to add some convenience to their holiday baking routine! As we witnessed during the pandemic, people sought comfort in activities that were familiar, were predictable and provided a sense of accomplishment, like baking. 

This trend will continue, and holiday kits provide entertainment, an opportunity for family and friends to bond, plus you get something delicious in the end without starting from scratch. 

Jumping on the trend this year, Dawn Foods is working with bakeries to develop Take Home Holiday Kits for their customers. An ideal product for creating incremental sales while giving families an easy way to make merry memories with less stress and less mess. “For so many families, nothing says the holidays quite like baking together, and the best part of baking is often the decorating,” said Traci Maginn, senior manager of buy/sell category marketing for Dawn Foods. “Why not offer take home kits that give families pre-baked cookies, all the decorations and tools like pastry bags? It’s fun and festive in a box – easy to grab, take home and enjoy.” 

Direct-to-consumer online monthly subscription baking boxes were popular prior to the pandemic, then sales increased during the pandemic based on convenience and minimal contact. This format provides the much-needed guidance for beginners including premeasured ingredients, step-by-step instructions and baking accessories. Also, it can be an easy and convenient way for advanced bakers to try new recipes. In most subscriptions, there are holiday season editions like gingerbread eggnog cookies and pumpkin Christmas bread. These provide an opportunity for creative bake sessions without the hassle of purchasing all the ingredients in bulk. 

As consumers adapt this season to new routines in and out of the home, options to provide interactive experiences to build memories will be welcomed. Kristen Schooley, who is the catering and sales manager at Sweet Flour, an entrepreneurial online and wholesale bakery that specializes in gourmet cookie and cupcake gifts in Toronto, agrees. “We’ve always had a Cookie Decorating Kit, but once the pandemic hit, at-home activities to keep the kids entertained and companies looking to do virtual events with their teams became super popular, so we expanded our DIY line to include Cookie Cake Decorating Kits (one baked undecorated eight-inch round chocolate chunk cookie cake, three different coloured piping bags of buttercream icing and two bags of decorative sprinkles) and Cupcake Decorating Kits (six baked undecorated, filled cupcakes, three different coloured piping bags of buttercream icing, one small container each of multi-coloured sprinkles and coloured sugar, plus one small container of Smarties). Once we established the basic components and features of each kit, we adapted them to target holidays, launching Birthday, Valentine’s, Halloween, Hanukkah, and Holiday versions. Our Holiday version is available in sugar cookie or gingerbread cookie with cookies in the shapes of a gingerbread man, a present and a tree.”

Not just for family baking, holiday kits are a creative activity for friends and corporate events. Especially as we continue to work from home, meet up remotely and have smaller in-person gatherings this holiday season. Schooley explains, “Our Cookie Kits have also been huge sellers with our corporate clients; they’ve been sending them to their teams working at home as morale boosters and to encourage team togetherness. Last season, we saw a big shift in corporate gifting, with companies moving from sending gifts to clients to sending gifts to their teams working remotely. For companies looking for a way to replace their large in-person holiday party, our DIY kits are a great option for their virtual event. Order them to arrive in time for the Zoom holiday parties, then hold virtual holiday decorating competitions.”

Holiday kits provide comfort and convenience, plus fun and entertainment during a busy season. People are starting to gather and socialize more this winter. Kits are ideal for consumers who don’t want to start from scratch but still want to spend time in person (or remotely) with family, friends, and colleagues and have baked yumminess at the end of it. / BJ

Jane Dummer, RD, known as the Pod to Plate Food Consultant, collaborates and partners with the food and nutrition industry across North America. 

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