How Stunt Foods are Changing The Food Industry

How Stunt Foods are Changing The Food Industry
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How Stunt Foods are Changing The Food Industry

These stunt foods are just too startling to ignore. By combining traditionally savory dishes with sweet, the food industry manages to grab the attention of the buyer. These dishes are memorable due to their surprising nature.

Image Credit: Burger King via Pinterest

KFC Double Down

The Double Down pretty much invented the stunt-foods movement. The bacon, mayo and jack cheese sandwich used fried chicken as a replacement for bread buns and received more hype than any other item on the menu in KFC's history.

Image Credit: KFC via Twitter

Doritos Locos Taco

The original Nachos Cheese Doritos Locos Taco was made of one giant Doritos chip and debuted in March 2012. It became the most popular thing on the menu. To date more than 600 million Doritos Locos Tacos have been sold, and in 2012 they were being purchased at a rate of a million per day.

Image Credit: Taco Bell via Twitter

Burger King Bacon Sundae

The Burger King Bacon Sundae was created when the company's innovation team observed on Pinterest and other social media outlets that people were using bacon in distinct ways.

Image Credit: Burger King via Pinterest

Del Taco Chili Cheese Fry Burrito

Del Taco created the Chili Cheese Fry Burrito after noticing that their customers had been making it in the store all along. It took a lot of scientific engineering in a sensory lab to ensure that the dry ingredients didn't get too moist in the burrito.

Image Credit: Del Taco via Pinterest

Cinnabon Pizza

Cinnabon transformed their traditionally sweet cinnamon roll into a savoury pizza bite in order to diversify its menu and draw customers in during lunch and dinnertime.

Image Credit: Cinnabon via Twitter

Baskin Robbins Waffle Chip Dippers

When Baskin Robbins was hoping to make a sweet version of nachos with their products, it took a lot of trial and error to ensure that everything would cook in a timely fashion. Eventually their executive chef Stan Frankenthaler and his team figured out how to keep the brownies in the dish from burning by using the waffle iron, which managed to bake the brownies perfectly.

Image Credit: Baskin Robbins via Pinterest

Carl's Jr. Pop-Tart Ice Cream Sandwich

Carl's Jr. began to test this frozen treat in a few small restaurants, and the dessert went viral. Brad Haley, the chief marketing officer of Carl’s Jr explained, “The idea of it just seemed to capture people’s imaginations, and it’s one of those things that just brings a smile to everyone’s face when they hear about it, if not a downright swoon in some cases. So, really, we had no choice but to make it available for all Carl’s Jr. customers to enjoy.”

Image Credit: Carl's Jr. via Pinterest

Dunkin Donuts Glazed Donut Breakfast Sandwich

Dunkin Donuts had been experimenting in the art of creating a sweet and savory breakfast sandwich. The man behind the breakfast sandwich Stan Frankenthaler said that they had to train the employees to properly prepare the dish. "We had to train our crew members on constructing the sandwich — slicing the doughnut, adding the fried egg and bacon," he recalled.

Image Credit: Dunkin Donuts via Twitter

Pizza Hut Hot Dog Stuffed Crust

Pizza Hut experienced a lot of success by stuffing cheese into the crusts of their pizzas, so they decided to step up their game and add a hot dog to the crust. The dish isn't available in the US yet, but we'd love to see one ourselves!

Image Credit: Pizza Hut via Pinterest

Pizza Hut Cheeseburger Pizza

Since Pizza Hut is famous for its uniquely stuffed crusts, the chain has kept up the gimmick and added cheeseburgers to a pie that recently debuted in the Middle East.

Image Credit: Pizza Hut via Twitter

El Pollo Loco Chocolate Nachos

El Pollo Loco struggled to make their Chocolate Nachos the correct color according to their vice president of research and development, Heather Gardea. They had to play around with the recipe to ensure that chip was crunchy and looked chocolatey.

Image Credit: El Pollo Loco via Twitter

Ruby Tuesday Pretzel Burgers

With novelty buns on the rise, Ruby Tuesday decided to jump on the trend by releasing a line of burgers with pretzel bread as the bun.

Image Credit: Ruby Tuesday via Pinterest

Wendy's Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger

Wendy's pretzel bacon cheese burger, which features a doughy, pretzel-esque bun, was a huge success. According to Mark Kalinowski of Janney Capital Market the burger is "Wendy's best new-product introduction in the last 10 years," or since the chain debuted salads in 2002.

Image Credit: Wendy's via Twitter

Sonic Cheesy Bacon Pretzel Bun

Sonic debuted a unique take on the pretzel bun: a hot dog that used pretzel bread the bun. Since the hot dog was released during summer, it combined classic foods from the ball park: pretzels and hot dogs. The chief marketing officer at Sonic Corp, James O'Reilly explained in a press release, "Summer without hot dogs and pretzels is like summer without baseball or fireworks. it's just not right!"

Image Credit: Sonic via Instagram

Jack In The Box Big Waffle Stack

Jack In The Box attempted to sweeten up breakfast by sandwiching two eggs, sausage, ham, American cheese and bacon between maple-flavored waffles. Their summer slogan was "Go Big" and this breakfast sandwich certainly achieves that. "We want our guests to 'Go Big' and make the most out of everything that summer has to offer," Iwona Alter, Division Vice President of Menu Strategy, explained in a press release.

Image Credit: Jack In The Box via Twitter

Stunt foods aren't limited to fast food chains. Turns out, people like artisanal shock and awe foods as well. Does the Cronut ring a bell?

Image Credit: Dominique Ansel Bakery via Facebook

The Cronut

The cronut is another culinary hybrid that has eager customers forming huge lines in the wee hours of the morning for a taste of the sweet treat.

Image Credit: Dominique Ansel via Facebook

Ramen Burger

“Most people in America think ‘Oh, college food, instant ramen, cheap,’ but real ramen is actually a little more healthy for you than instant ramen and it’s actually really good. People take good care in making it,” Keizo Shimamoto, creator of the Ramen Burger explained to

Curious gourmands now flock to Brooklyn’s Smorgasburg at 7:30 am on Saturdays to line up for a taste of the ramen burger, which always sells out.

Image Credit: Ramen Burger via Facebook

Bantam Bagels

Bantam Bagels is even trying to redefine the bagel by creating doughnut sized items filed with cream cheese and other unique toppings. These distinct treats are known as Bantams.

Image Credit: Bantam Bagels via Facebook

Frozen S'More

Chef Dominique Ansel is no stranger to this list. His Cronut has been cemented into the artisan food-stunt category. Since the Cronut took off, Ansel has also created a summery frozen s'more as well.

Image Credit: Dominique Ansel Bakery via Facebook


Ever heard of a "stunt food?" Do Doritos Locos Tacos ring a bell? How about the infamous KFC Double Down? These dishes are known as "stunt foods" which generally merge two established meals, snacks or desserts into one and serve to celebrate indulgence. Stunt foods also attempt to blur the lines between conventional meal categories like the ice cream sandwich that resembles a hamburger at Carl's Jr.

Barb Stucky, food industry expert and author of Taste: Surprising Stories and Science About Why Food Tastes Good, aptly calls these decadent creations "shock and awe foods."

With many national food chains pushing their healthier options, more indulgent meals like the Burger King Bacon Sundae evoke such awe that they become big hits according to Megan LoDolce, a food marketing researcher from the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity: "When one of these chains comes out of left field and introduces something so shockingly indulgent, it's like a release from the onslaught of fear-mongering about our health."

Two forces have helped to generate this surge of stunt foods: Developing novel products to satisfy the customer and social media.

Exciting the consumer has always been a huge priority for the food industry, but the competition is fierce. According to the NPD Group, the amount of unique items on fast food menus has doubled in the US since the 90s, which increases the demand to grab the consumer's attention.

Social media on the other hand has made food execs question the role of traditional advertising. By creating foods that are seemingly difficult to ignore, the products can go viral.

Check out the slideshow above to find out which stunt foods are changing the food industry today.

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