A Japanese Candy Tasted Like Nothing. Why Do People Miss It?

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A flavorless candy briefly appeared in Japanese convenience stores and may never be sold again. Despite its lack of taste, the candy, known as Flavorless (?) Candy, has generated conversation and nostalgia among Japanese consumers. Manufactured by Kanro, a major candy company in Japan, the candy was test marketed in some stores last fall by convenience store chain Lawson. It returned for a few weeks this summer in most of Lawson’s 14,600 stores, priced at $1.31 for seven pieces. The candy came in a simple silver package with a bird-shaped character.

The candy was specifically developed for people who wanted to moisturize their mouths, which had become dry from wearing masks all day, without experiencing a sugar rush. Although mask-wearing was not legally required in Japan during the pandemic, it became a common practice among the public. When government guidelines eased in May, many people stopped wearing masks. However, Lawson decided to re-release Flavorless (?) Candy in July due to its exceptional performance in a customer vote on the company’s top products. Osamu Oouchi, a member of Lawson’s product development team, described the candy as a gradual melting sensation in the mouth.

Throughout the summer, social media users in Japan have discussed and contemplated the concept of the “taste of nothingness” that the candy offers. Some have compared it to “ice that is not cold.” Kanako Kinoshita, a restaurant owner and radio station administrator, reflected on the purpose of purchasing a product that offers no flavor, suggesting it may be a way to achieve a state of “nothingness.”

The candy’s lack of flavor challenges the preconception that candies should be sweet, according to Hisahiro Kawabe, a top editor at a confectionery industry publication in Tokyo. Kanro has previously pushed the boundaries of candy with unconventional products, such as one made with soy sauce. These unique offerings highlight the industry’s efforts to attract young consumers who prefer quick-chewing options like gummies, tablets, or mints.

Lawson’s market research indicated that Flavorless (?) Candy was particularly popular among teenagers, women in their 20s, and pregnant women suffering from morning sickness. Convenience stores in Japan are known for their efficiency and customer service. The rapid turnover of products on store shelves, typically lasting three to four weeks, reflects the constant pursuit of novelty. While the possibility of reviving and redistributing Flavorless (?) Candy poses scheduling conflicts, Lawson hopes that customers who miss the candy will find satisfaction in other products.

In a Lawson convenience store in Tokyo, various candy flavors were available, including apple, mixed fruit, peach, and soda. The common characteristic among them was that they all had a distinct taste, unlike Flavorless (?) Candy.

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