Calbee is Japan's most well known potato chips manufacturer with a whopping 73% market share in potato chips sales.
The potato chips are so popular such that after temporary suspending the sales of 15 types of its potato chips in April due to a severe potato shortage caused by a string of typhoons last year in Hokkaido, prices of the potato chips at one time even rose to more than six times their usual price.
After a few months, Calbee not only has returned to normal production levels, but they also used the time to diversify its sources of potatoes and to develop new products. They have never fail to amaze and are back with a vengeance. With a new website to market its new idea, Calbee will be launching 47 different flavors of potato chips reflecting the speciality of each of Japan's prefectures.
For example, Osaka, a foodie's paradise, is known for its takoyaki, will have its potato chips takoyaki flavored, Aichi prefecture is famous for its tebasaki (Nagoya styled chicken wings), and as the main cuisine of Nagasaki prefecture is fish, Calbee's potato chips will be chidashi (fish stock) flavored.
All 47 flavors will be launched in three different stages, with the first stage of 17 flavors having started last month. The next 18 flavors will be available in the middle of next month, and the last batch scheduled to be released next year. Each pack of potato chips will be sold at about ¥120.
Calbee is even running a campaign, whereby fans can vote for their favorite flavors. Similar to the launches of the potato chips, there are three periods of voting for the campaign. At the end of each of the stipulated dates, some participants will be chosen to receive some flavors of the potato chips.
With the colorful and attractive packaging designs, does it make you want to try all 47 flavors?
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I still clearly remember the day I first landed in Japan, and since then it has been my goal to set foot in all 47 prefectures. I try to look for less touristy areas, preferring the countryside to the city. I'm always amazed by the many Haagen Dazs and ice cream flavors available only in Japan.