The brands giving away their secrets during lockdown

Apr 24, 2020

GDR’s John O’Sullivan highlights the brands making their closely guarded secrets public during the Covid-19 pandemic to drive long-term loyalty, community spirit and goodwill.

During the Covid-19 pandemic there has been a number of different ways that purpose-led brands have reacted. Many have pivoted their production to create much-needed products, while others have reimagined their services to cater for the most vulnerable in society, or medical workers on the frontline. Another trend we’ve seen really gaining momentum during the last couple of weeks is brands giving away their secret ingredients and iconic recipes to their customers so they can recreate popular products and menu items at home. In normal circumstances this might seem like sacrilege but for many it’s being used as a way to drive engagement with customers while stores, restaurants and hotels are closed.

Beyond that, it may well be a win/win for the brands: for those customers unimpressed with the homemade versions they create, it will only serve to restate the superiority of the brands’ offerings, while customers who enjoy them will be grateful for the brands’ transparency and thoughtfulness.

In this article we’ll highlight the seven brands doing this best.



Having previously dabbled with releasing quick-format video recipes on Bosh, British sandwich chain Pret is sharing one of its most popular recipes on Instagram every week using the #PretRecipeBook. It has already released its focaccia, macaroni cheese and dark chocolate vegan cookie recipes.


Greggs It Yourself

British bakery retailer Greggs is catering for fans missing its comfort food with a new Instagram video series called Greggs It Yourself. To start the ball rolling the brand released the recipe for its Sausage, bean and cheese melt, with more promised to follow.


Ikea Swedish meatballs recipe card

The one retail brand with a food item as famous as any of its products is Ikea. Its Swedish meatballs are often quoted as a key footfall driver to its stores, so while they are closed it has created a recipe card so fans can make them from scratch, or by using ready-made ingredients.


Burger King Le Whopper De La Quarantaine

Burger King France has launched a series of ads shared on its social media accounts that suggests products to use to recreate several of its most popular burgers at home. The campaign, devised by Buzzman, breaks all the rules of conventional advertising, suggesting ways that its customers can enjoy its menu items without buying from the brand. Instead, it encourages people to use products from unrelated brands, such as Harry’s burger buns and cheese slices from The Laughing Cow.


The DoubleTree Cookie

The DoubleTree cookie is synonymous with the Hilton hotel brand, which presents more than 30 million customers a year with a freshly baked warm cookie upon arrival at its hotels. With travel restricted during the lockdown and many people having more time for at-home hobbies, the brand has decided to release the recipe. “We know this is an anxious time for everyone,” said Shawn McAteer, senior vice president and global head, DoubleTree by Hilton. “A warm chocolate chip cookie can’t solve everything, but it can bring a moment of comfort and happiness. We hope families enjoy the fun of baking together during their time at home, and we look forward to welcoming all our guests with a warm DoubleTree cookie when travel resumes.”


Fleetway Travel Weekly Recipes

DoubleTree isn’t the only travel brand using the technique. Travel company Fleetway is reminding everyone of the quality of the restaurants at its global resorts by releasing a signature recipe from one every week. This week it’s pork marinated in rosemary with mustard sauce from the luxury 5-star Sani Resorts in Greece.


Kroger Blueprint for Businesses

Something slightly different, but arguably even more interesting and innovative, to finish; US supermarket chain Kroger is sharing the secrets of its success during lockdown via a downloadable report that it will continue to update. Aimed to help businesses that will be reopening after lockdown, its Blueprint for Businesses report outlines everything it has learned about operating during the pandemic while its stores have remained open. The report even includes media assets, such as audio safety recordings and social distancing signage, which are ready for other retailers to use. Brands and retailers will undoubtedly be remembered for how they operate during the pandemic and this is a strong move from Kroger to position itself firmly as a transparent and trustworthy leader within the retail and business communities.

If you’re interested in talking to us in more detail about any of the themes discussed in this article, or the challenges you’re facing as a business, we’re here to help. Get in touch with

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