Boxes of food—DIY meal kits, restaurant takeaway meals, and direct-to-consumer gift boxes filled with treats—have gained traction during the pandemic, thanks to their convenience, simplicity, and experiential characteristics. In the past couple of months, a mini-trend has emerged within this segment as purveyors of Japanese food in the U.S., U.K., and Europe have paired with licensed properties for unusual and tasty experiences available for takeout or home delivery:
- TokyoTreat, a subscription service focusing on candy and snacks from Japan, teamed with Funimation for a collaborative limited-edition Anime Marathon Munchies box. The assortment consisted of a collection of surprise treats to be enjoyed while watching the Funimation anime channel. The box is currently available in countries where Funimation is offered for streaming, including the U.S., Canada, U.K., Ireland, Brazil, Mexico, Australia, and New Zealand.
- Restaurant chain Sushi Shop paired with Polaroid for a limited-edition vintage box of Sushi. The colorful geometric design on the square box was mirrored inside by 42 carefully placed and Instagrammable pieces of sushi and maki in bright hues of red, orange, yellow, green, and blue, created with ingredients such as mango, sea bream, saffron, chives, red onion, beetroot, and coriander. Three of the recipes were created specifically for the product, which could be picked up or delivered. Sushi Shop has several locations across France, where it is headquartered, as well as outlets in other Western European countries including Belgium, Italy, Switzerland, Spain, Portugal, Luxembourg, and the U.K. It is known for its frequent collaborations; partners have included the classic game Tetris, the fashion label Kenzo, and the artist Jérôme Baillet (Docteur Paper).
- Japanese restaurant chain Shoryu Ramen collaborated with the holographic-anime singer Hatsune Miku, owned by Crypton Future Media and represented for licensing by Reemsborko, for a DIY ramen kit. The product marks the first time the chain worked with a license on a DIY kit. Two products were part of the deal, one featuring Shoryu’s signature Ganso Tokotsu ramen, with barbecue pork belly, and the other containing a vegetarian White Natural Ramen with a soymilk and miso base. The meals-for-two also included a matcha detox cocktail, an exclusive turquoise cookie with white chocolate, and a tote bag to keep. Shoryu Ramen has 11 locations in London, plus one each in Manchester and Oxford, England; the kit was available, for delivery only, to England, Wales, and parts of Scotland.
It remains to be seen whether the interest in meal kits and other forms of food boxes—previously a challenging segment—will continue once things get back to normal around the world. But individual examples such as these are likely to remain viable as a way to create a convenient, fun, and unique experience for fans, no matter what happens to the segment as a whole.