Saturday, June 23, 2007


Tokachi-Nomu-Yogurt is a mildly melony slightly yogurty cooler that hit the Family Mart stores in late June. A seasonal refresher found in the cartoned juice and milk section, it has a nice milky mouthfeel and a generally pleasant and undemanding taste. All in all, the thing that the doctor sometimes orders. It comes from the York food division of Nissin Corporation, a mega-investment industry that spends much of its time and money on branding. The package itself has a strong word-graphic that simply says "melon." A farmer's hat, a melon, and the Sapporo Clock Tower complete the image of simple old-fashioned tastes and values (even though yogurt drinks are a quite modern addition to the Japanese food landscape and the clock tower was designed by Americans in 1878). The bold and straightforward package stands out amongst the rest of the noise on the shelf. Tokachi is a region of Hokkaido that is particularly famous for its melons, the Yuubari melon (夕張メロン), being a treasured treat from the area*. Whether the melons used in this drink come from there is unimportant. By making the relation in the consumer's mind, you've got them at least thinking that they are partaking in a gourmet experience.

*In summer, at Tokyo department stores, a single melon can sometimes cost up to 20,000JPY.

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