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No.232 (3/22/13)

Innovative Food and Drink Products

By Chiho Tsukiashi
Staff Writer

Crystal Clear Pepsi, Heinz Colored Ketchup, Lifesaver Soda, Easy Cheese… Food product companies have kept striving to develop new products. In Japan also, hundreds of new food products come into the market every year. They are on TV commercials advertised by celebrities. Surviving tough market competitions, the following products have successfully won Japanese consumers' satisfaction. You might want to try them if you seek something new, unique, delicious, and a topic to share with your friends and colleagues.

Oyatsu Fondue おやつフォンデュ (House Shokuhin Co. Ltd.)

Now chocolate fondue can be prepared just by mixing this fondue powder with hot water (50ml) in a cup. Dip bread, cookies or fruits into the sauce. The product is targeted for children. It also comes in strawberry-milk flavor. A box contains two packages of fondue mix.

Maruchan Seimen Noodles マルちゃん正麺 (Toyosuisan Co. Ltd.)

This can be called premium ramen, being much tastier than conventional instant noodles. Its high quality is achieved by drying the noodles, instead of frying. The circle shape fits perfectly in a pot, which makes it easier to cook. It makes me wonder why all other ramen are shaped square, making me to push them into a pot until it gets softer during cooking. You can identify them in the golden packages. They cost more than regular ramen.

Toast Seasoning トーストシーズニング (House Shokuhin Co. Ltd.)

Now you have more choices for your breakfast menu. Toast a slice of bread, spread butter and sprinkle on your favorite flavor of Toast Seasoning. There is an extensive list of flavors to select from: Cacao sugar, chai-tea blend sugar, caramel cinnamon sugar, vanilla sugar, cinnamon sugar, apple ginger sugar, almond sugar, and garlic toast mix.

Cup Noodle Rice Balls カップヌードルおにぎり (Nisshin Co. Ltd.)

Is this noodle or rice ball? The answer is rice balls with cup-noodle taste. Shrimp, pork, and egg are the main ingredients. To cook, microwave a triangular package of one rice ball for two minutes. Cup Noodle Rice has also been popular. Add water and microwave it for five minutes in its container which looks like the one for Chinese catering. These both are great midnight snacks.

Vegips ベジップス (Calbee Co. Ltd.)

Who could have imagined that fried vegetable chips could sell so well that the demand of orders has overwhelmed the capacity of production? Potatoes, onions, pumpkins, and sweet potatoes are sliced and fried. Only salt is added to potato chips, and no other seasonings are added to other vegetable chips. What makes it different from other veggie snacks is using the choicest ingredients and keeping the recipe as simple as possible.

Bake Creamy Melted Cheese Pure べイククリーミー とろけるチーズブリュレ (Morinaga Co. Ltd.)

Creme brulee, also known as burnt cream, is a French dessert resembling rich custard pudding. The taste created can be described as white chocolate mixed with cream cheese. Its surface has a contrasting layer of hard caramel.

Orangina オランジーナ (Suntory Co. Ltd.)

This soda with strong orange flavor has been around in France for 60 years. Since 2012 when it became available in Japan, it has been popular among customers in this country. In its TV commercial, Richard Gere is featured. It contains more than 12% of citruses. Its rival, Shweppes, British Lemonade, is also selling well.

Gogo no Kocha (Afternoon Black Tea) -- European Style 午後の紅茶 ヨーロピアンスタイル (Kirin Beverage Co. Ltd. )

This has been the most popular English tea brand in plastic bottles and cans for more than 25 years. It is not as sweet as American sweet tea, which means it is more healthful. This year, the European Style series has been added to their traditional lineup of Straight, Lemon, and Milk. The teas in the European Style series are: Rose & Bergamot, Berries & Orange, Sakura (cherry blossom), and Peach. Cherry blossom as a beverage? Yes! Its flavor has been loved by Japanese for a long time, just like the rose aroma in Europe and North America. Another recommended tea is a canned Espresso Tea. It is the richest milk tea brewed at high temperature and pressure.

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