The Passport Flavours series was first launched in Japan end September, and is now available across Asia including Taiwan, Thailand, the Philippines, Singapore and Malaysia.
Belinda Tumbers, snacks managing director for Kellogg AMEA (Asia Pacific Middle East Africa) said the inspiration to launch the Passport Flavours series was to provide consumers a travel experience without the physical travelling.
She told FoodNavigator-Asia: “Our consumers are social explorers and travel is a big passion for those consumers, but with Covid-19 and restricted travels, this innovation serves as a good way to take people to destinations that they can't necessarily get to themselves.”
Tumbers said the R&D journey for the Passport Flavours series started with consumer research, assessing popular destinations among Asian consumers, and taste testing many dishes to recreate the flavour.
While fish and chips may not be the first flavour associated to Asian markets like Japan, Tumbers said it was it has a balance of tartare sauce, salty with a seafood flavour, familiar among Japanese people.
After London, New York was another popular destination.
“As we were looking for popular tourist destinations across the world and the iconic food that these destinations offer, one name that is bound to be on everybody’s list is New York. Your trip to New York is incomplete without getting your hands on a cheese burger,” Tumbers said.
Pringles’ NY cheese burger has flavour notes combining meat with fresh lettuce, tomatoes, cheese and soft toasted burger buns, which “will take you down the memory lane to your favourite cheese burger joint in NY.”
The R&D for Passport Flavours are conducted at Pringles’ R&D lab in Singapore, working alongside flavour houses and research agencies to co-create the flavours.
According to Tumbers, a flavour creation in general takes between four to six months including multiple rounds of consumer validation.
Since launching in those markets, the firm has received positive feedback from consumers.
“It’s still early days that the product has hit the shelves but it is meeting our targets and we’re pleased with how it’s performing,” Tumbers said.
The Passport Flavours series is manufactured in Malaysia, and available in both 53g and 100g.
For now, the NY cheese burger flavour is already available across Taiwan, Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia.
Flavour is first
Tumbers said the firm is currently working on developing more iconic international flavours from various regions next year and launching into more markets.
For Pringles, flavour is a priority.
“Our main goal is to get the flavour spot on. This becomes more challenging when we're trying to replicate iconic flavours like fish and chips, so we need to make sure that we're landing the flavour exactly in line with consumer taste preferences.”
“In addition, it is challenging to take a single flavour and roll it out across many markets as taste preferences are so varied within Asia from Japan to China.”
Tumbers said the team focused on “bearing those taste preferences and ensuring that the flavors we're launching will be liked equally across all the markets.”
Currently, the Passport Flavours series is offered as a limited-edition product.
According to Tumbers, majority of Pringles total potato chip sales are from its core flavours, and the rest from limited edition flavours.
“It’s rare for an in-and-out flavour or limited edition flavour to actually stick and become part of the core range. But if we sustain traction on any of our limited flavours, we would definitely consider it as a permanent offering but for now we're only planning for it (fish and chips) to be a limited-edition flavour variant.”
Japan is a key market for Pringles, as the largest potato chip market in AMEA, according to Tumbers.
“It is a market with not only high sales, but also a vibrant food culture. To succeed in Japan, we have to ensure we’re offering tasty food and also variety.”
In Japan, other innovative flavours from Pringles include ramen, Takoyaki, mentaiko and tebasaki flavours.
“We are offering a unique twist to local food for Japanese consumers.”
Earlier this year, Calbee launched 47 flavours of potato chips, to represent all the prefectures in Japan. For instance, pickled red ginger flavour for Osaka and shrimp flavour representing Tokyo.