Old confectioners launch new brands for young tastes

Many well-established confectionery companies have recently been producing modern products and new brands with novelty emphasised in their flavors and packaging. Makers aim to promote the culture of sweets not only among the elderly, but also young people.

"Old confectionery makers might be well known among elderly people, but they come off as unapproachable to young people," said Keiko Uraji, who works as a gift concierge and wrote a guidebook on gifts titled "Okuru Kokoroe: Goenmusubi no Suitsu" (Manners for gift-giving: Sweets to form connections), published by Kodansha Ltd. "They can easily buy more modern sweets, and stores can also provide a culture of confections for a wide range of generations. Many venerable sweets makers are selling products targeted at younger people these days."

Many of these products feature small servings or separate packaging, priced in units of several hundred yen.

Eitaro Sohonpo Co., an old Japanese confection maker based in Tokyo, launched a brand called Ameya Eitaro, which specializes in candies, in 2007.

One product line, the Sweet Lip series, comprises liquid candies put in a container similar to that of lip gloss and packaged like a cosmetic, each priced from ¥594(S$6.46), including tax. The product line has six flavors, such as Aruheito toffee, and new flavors such as Yuzu citron and Sakura Ginpaku-iri, which is cherry blossom with silver leaf.

Amidaike Daikoku Corp., an Osaka-based maker of okoshi sweet rice crackers, started a brand called "pon pon Ja pon," in 2011 with the aim of encouraging young people to buy it, thus creating a new specialty of Osaka.

The product, "pon pon coco," is a pouchlike package containing small round okoshi crackers that are two centimeters across. The product is sold for ¥411, including tax. These crackers have a smoother texture than that of regular okoshi. There are 12 flavors, including strawberry milk and bittersweet green tea.

A Kyoto-based Japanese confectionery, Kameya Yoshinaga Co. - established in 1803 - created a new brand supervised by a young female pastry chef. Under the brand name of "Satomi Fujita by Kameya Yoshinaga," Western sweets and Japanese confectionery are integrated. They sell about six types of confection comprising regular and seasonal products.

A popular product, Marron, is a confection for adults of mashed Japanese chestnuts and fresh cream with rum. The product is priced at ¥1,296, including tax, for nine pieces.

Fukusaya Co., a Nagasaki-based maker of castella sponge cakes, sells Fukusaya Cube, or individual pieces, and bite-sized castella cakes for customers in colorful boxes. The box measures 5 centimeters by 5.7 centimeters by 6.4 centimeters, and its colors are changed according to the season.

Flavored beans and nuts come in various flavors and colors these days.

Mamegen, a Tokyo-based maker of flavored snacks established in 1865, offers nuts and peas with unique flavors such as chili basil macadamia nuts and Aoringo peas with a green apple flavor that look stunning in their light-green colour.

Some products are sold only in certain shops. For example, Mozzarella Almond, priced at ¥540 including tax, can only be purchased at the flagship store in Azabu-Juban, Tokyo, and a store in Tokyo Skytree Town in Sumida Ward.