Japan Focus: KitKat, Nissin, alternative protein products and more feature in this round-up

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Otsuka Foods has launched its first line of plant-based meat products in Japan. ©Otsuka
Otsuka Foods has launched its first line of plant-based meat products in Japan. ©Otsuka

Related tags: Japan, Taiwan, Kitkat, Nissin

KitKat flavours, Nissin business strategy, new alternative protein products in Japan and more feature in this issue of Japan Focus.

Zero meat: Japanese firm Otsuka Foods enters alternative protein market

Otsuka Foods has launched its first line of alternative protein products in Japan​, and has pledged that further goods will follow in order to tap into rising consumer demand.

Branded as “Zero Meat”, the products are two frozen-chilled burgers, with “meat” patties made from soy beans.  

One of the products also contain plant-based cheese made from soymilk cream. 

The firm is selling alternative protein products for the first time.

KitKat Japan hits 350 flavour milestone with matcha taking top sales spot

KitKat Japan has launched more than 350 new KitKat flavours over the past 45 years​, and Nestlé Japan, the manufacturer of KitKat in Japan, has pledged to maintain its innovation focus.

KitKat Japan has launched an average of 20 to 30 new KitKat flavours each year, with some years exceeding to hit 40 to 50 new flavours and other years lesser than 10 new flavours, FoodNavigator-Asia ​understands from Takuya Hiramatsu, spokesman for Nestlé Japan. 

Currently, 40 KitKat flavours are still available for sale in Japan – the “KitKat hub”.

Taiwan could pay ‘grave price’ after voting to continue ban on Japanese ‘nuclear food’

Taiwan could see a step back in diplomatic relations with Japan after the country voted to continue banning so-called ‘nuclear food’ coming from the Fukushima region​ in a referendum last week, as top Japanese officials expressed disappointment over the result.

According to the Taiwan Central Election Commission website, 7.79 million out of 19.76 million eligible voters voted to continue the ban.

This makes up a total of 39.4%, more than enough to pass the 25% turnout required to ensure the result is legally binding. Only 2.23 million voters voted to discontinue the ban.

More almond per pack: Japan firm introduces premium almond milk into South East Asia

Japanese firm Tsukuba Dairy Products is expanding its presence by introducing more varieties of its flagship premium almond milk in Indonesia​, and also breaking into new markets such as Singapore at the same time.

Speaking to FoodNavigator-Asia​ during the recent Food Japan show held in Singapore, Kazuhiro Tokoi, sales manager at Tsukuba Dairy revealed more about the firm’s plans for the South East Asian (SEA) market.

Outside of Japan, Tokoi said the firm currently only has a presence in Indonesia, and after three years in the market, it planned to introduce additional flavours, such as the brown sugar flavour into its present offerings of sweetened and unsweetened versions.

He added that the gluten-free and non-GMO nature of almond milk has gained itself customers from the HoReCa (hotel, restaurants, catering) businesses for dessert making. Besides HoReCa, it also partners with wholesalers.

‘New products almost every day’: Nissin taps NPD and premium branding to hit triple growth target

Cup noodle giant Nissin aims to expand its business in Asia (excluding China) by over three times​ to US$ 213mn (JPY 24.1bn) in FY 2021 by focusing on a variety of areas including product development and premium branding.

Nissin spokesman Daisuke Okabayashi, Manager, Corporate Communications, Nissin Foods Holdings told FoodNavigator-Asia​: “[To do this], we are accelerating sales of our leading brand, CUP NOODLES, in each subsidiary in Asian countries.”

“The target audience of our CUP NOODLES in overseas is the young people with a certain standard of living. We are approaching to that target market by developing new design and flavors, and by conducting effecting promotions for them, such as web marketing and SNS.”

“Nissin launches new products almost every day. In fact, Nissin Japan launched more than 350 new products only in the Japanese market last year,”​ he added.

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