Japanese snacks and drinks getting famous abroad
I was surprised to see site like www.japanesesnacks.com that promote the Japanese snacks (especially Pocky!). They have a huge database of almost any Japanese snack that exist.
Candies and snacks have very different taste in Japan. Potato chips taste less salty, but have more original and fresh substance in their taste. In addition, in most cases, there is whole a lot less fat than in western versions.
Same goes for Japanese sweets. Japanese people generally don't like very sweet foods, which why more mild tasting cheesecakes are popular in Japan. Japanese sweets, thus, are less sweet. Some of these products claim to have healthy vitamins. Perhaps most interesting Japanese sweet is special konnyaku jelly, "Mannan Life" that is packed in heart shaped small cups. They say that konnyaku is good for heart, which might be true.
Recently Asahi Shimbun reported that Japanese snack companies are making products for Taiwanese and Chinese market, Sapporo Potato being one of them. Some of them have distinguishable Japanese hiragana and very stylish and simple design, to stand out in middle of competitors' flashy designs. The Anti-Japan rallies, and Japanese product boycots have had almost no impact for sales of these products. Perhaps, the agitators calm down when they munch away their Pocky sticks!
Also Japanese PET bottle soft drinks such as CC Lemon, Pocari Sweat, or Qoo, would perhaps have nice market potential in other countries. Perhaps not world wide, but I'd bet American teens would get crazy about that cute Qoo character. Just see how popular anime is in USA.
Japanese snacks have exotic, strange enough taste to stand out from the competitors. It's too sad that probably, we people here in Europe probably won't have chance to buy Japanese snacks or drinks from our local shops anytime soon. Unless some small importing company would start importing those. Here in Finland, we already have Kikkoman shoyu, and Gekkeikan sake. Now it's good time to take next step and start importing these Japanese delicacy.