Soup-To-Nuts Podcast

Soup-To-Nuts Podcast: The evolution of local food to do-it-yourself options

By Elizabeth Crawford

- Last updated on GMT

Soup-To-Nuts: The evolution of local food to do-it-yourself options

Related tags Local food

Consumer demand for local food and beverages is no longer a niche market – rather it is fully mainstream. But an outgrowth of this trend that is just starting to peek over the horizon is a “do-it-yourself” food and beverage movement, according to market analysts.

Earlier adopters of this trend are brewing beer at home, fermenting kombucha in their kitchens and sprouting their own grains. While these may seem like fringe consumers now, the trend is picking up steam.

But to what extent are DIY options a threat to manufacturers of packaged foods and beverages and to what extent does this trend create opportunities for innovative entrepreneurs?

To find out, this episode of FoodNavigator-USA’s Soup-To-Nuts podcast features Carl Jorgensen, who is the director of global consumer strategy at the brand building firm Daymon Worldwide. He discusses what this movement entails and its potential impact on the food and beverage industry.

The inspiration for DIY

He explains that the emerging do-it-yourself food and beverage movement “is all about taking control of our own wellness. It is more than food. It is the urge to self-sufficiency in our lives.”

It also is an outgrowth of the food-is-medicine trend, and includes consumers seeking natural remedies or dietary changes to manage their health, rather than reaching for drugs or relying on doctors, Jorgensen said.

The DIY movement also is an extension of the local food movement that has swept the marketplace for the last several years, Jorgensen said, explaining the DIY movement “is a return to what our grandparents did – growing and cooking our own food.”

Likewise, he said, the movement builds on the increasing demand for transparency into where and how food is made.

“If you have your own laying hens in your backyard, you sure know where your eggs are coming from,”​ he quipped.

The size of the DIY prize

While the do-it-yourself trend is still a relatively new concept, it already has significant buy-in from consumers – illustrating the trend’s market potential.

For example, one-third of American household already grow some of their own food, Jorgensen said, citing data from the National Gardening Association. In addition, he noted, the American Brewers Association has more than 46 thousand members and an estimated 1.2 million people brew their own beer in the US.

DIY is more opportunity than threat

Despite consumer interest in doing more for themselves, Jorgensen doesn’t see the movement as a threat to CPG manufacturers.

“Even the most die-hard do-it-yourselfers still like convenience,”​ he explained. “You may make some or a lot of your own food, but much of the time you will want to enjoy the convenience of take-out or a container of blueberry yogurt.”

With that in mind, he said the movement represents more opportunities than threats. For example, it has spurred a reinvestment by many retailers to provide additional services, such as prepping ingredients for easy home-cooking while consumers shop for their other groceries.

In addition, indoor garden kits that make sustainable food production possible even in city apartments “are a huge opportunity,”​ Jorgensen said.

As a final example of the positive impact of the DIY movement, Jorgensen pointed to the exponential growth of the meal kit market.

“Meal kits offer a combination of convenience and satisfaction of doing it yourself,”​ he said. “Many meal kit consumers report that they learn new cooking styles and techniques as well as experience new flavors from meal kits and that these are experiences they might not otherwise have. And, as we are quickly learning in food retailing, experiences -- not products -- are the key drivers of success.”

‘The future is now’

Manufacturers and retailers should act fast to tap into the DIY movement, for which “the future is now,”​ Jorgensen said.

He suggests they look for ways to provide products and services that make it easier and more enjoyable for consumers to take control of their food and health. This might mean teaming with companies that provide personal and digital monitoring, such as Fitbit, or personalized nutrition companies that base recommendations on DNA tests results.

“Technology really offers greatly enhanced ability for us to take control of our own wellness and a brave new world of business opportunities,”​ he concluded.

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