Sushi kits, which consist of all of the ingredients needed to make sushi (with the exception of fresh products) along with a beginner-friendly instruction manual, were developed as an extension to the Advanced Fresh Concepts fresh product line in 1997. Since ingredients such as mirin, wasabi, nori (seaweed), and sushi rice are traditional Japanese ingredients not typically found in the mainstream consumer’s home, the kit offers a suitable solution for those interested in sushi-making. The kits are advertised as a fun party activity for get-togethers among family and friends. The kits also provide users with the ability to customize their own sushi, which therefore caters to a wide clientele as diners can choose which ingredients to incorporate and season them to their liking.
The difference in the types of sushi printed on the kit reflects the change in the American palate. Three editions spanning a decade suggest a trend from California Rolls to traditional types of sushi, and finally to what Advanced Fresh Concepts founder Ryuji Ishii calls “hybrid sushi.” Hybrid sushi is a type of sushi that combines both traditional and nontraditional sushi elements. The Spicy Tuna Roll, Rainbow Roll, and Dragon Roll are only some examples of sushi that incorporate raw fish and nontraditional ingredients like mayonnaise-based sauces. While the California Roll was invented to ease the American palate into traditional types of sushi, the popularization of hybrid sushi indicates a unique and unexpected trend in sushi culture, and the ways in which various adaptations of food are popularized based on local tastes.