We recently brought you a round-up of some of the weirdest snack foods available in Japan, and now we’re about to add another one to the bag – Mikan (Japanese Tangerine) flavored potato chips. Such a flavor may seem shocking, even deviant to some of us western folks, but there’s a clear marketing strategy behind these new tangy treats that’s bound to result in success in the Japanese market.
Since we’re now entering winter, it’s time for people all over Japan to pull out their winter kotatsu heated tables and hibernate in snuggly warmth until spring (except for when they have to go to work/shopping/take a shower, etc.) But did you know that the ubiquitous kotatsu snack is a juicy, delicious mikan fruit? Kotatsu and mikan go together so well that it’s almost obligatory to partake of this killer combo during the winter months.
Perhaps it’s something to do with the vitamin C of the mikans helping to stave off winter sniffles, but for whatever reason this snacking habit has become a part of the nation’s national consciousness. Enter the crafty crisp companies, who have decided to exploit people’s weaknesses for citrusy snacks during wintertime by unveiling the new mikan flavor. After all, why eat a serving of healthy fruit when you could chow down on a bag of carby, greasy, salty goodness instead? Luckily, winter also tends to make people sluggish, weak and more inclined to lapse into the sweet embrace of junk food, making these chips the ideal go-to winter fodder. Crafty marketing indeed.
The chips are developed by company Koikeya and are due to go on sale on December 22, just in time for the kotatsu season. In fact, a spokesperson for Koikeya said of the chips: “They offer a new way to enjoy winter from the comfort of your kotatsu. We aim to provide a unique taste sensation that’s both tangy and sweet”.
If you can’t quite wrap your tastebuds around the concept of fruit-flavored potato chips, we can report that pickled plum (that’s a fruit, right?) is in fact a very popular chip flavor in Japan, as well as being a personal favorite of mine. There’s something about the salty/sourness of the plums that works quite well to create a moreish chip.
Early response to the “Mikan potato chips” has been mixed to positive, showing that Japanese people are actually quite intrigued by the product, with some even making plans to buy them the minute they’re available for sale. Personally, we’ll stick to actual mikan fruits out of fear of growing too large to get out from underneath our kotatsu in springtime as a side effect of too much snacking.
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