American commercial influence has now reached across the world. There are now very few countries that do not sell some sort of American product. American snack foods are among the most popular American goods that other countries stock in their stores. The United States exports around 38 billion dollars worth of processed foods. Often times, when a product, such as potato chips, is introduced into a country, the product must be changed in order to fit the culture and pallet of that country. This creates a variety of different variations on foods that Americans have grown to love. Here is a list of nine of the stranger foreign variations on American snack foods.
Pepsi Fire and Ice
Pepsi is a brand that is constantly changing their product to appeal to wide audiences in other countries. Russia had limited edition mojito and ice cream flavors (which were very delicious). Japan has multiple different flavors to appeal to the Japanese love of novelty drinks. However, one of the most interesting foreign varieties of Pepsi was the limited edition Fire and Ice Pepsi. These drinks were designed for the niche markets of Southeast Asia and Central America. Pepsi Fire has a strong cinnamon flavor (as if the burn of carbonation isn’t enough) and Pepsi Ice has a minty flavor. Possibly the mint drink was design to compensate for the recently ingested cinnamon drink, but the drink was only given a limited run.
European Milky Way
Milky Way is the halfway mark between the 3 Musketeers and the Snickers bar. In America our Milky Way bar has nougat and caramel on the inside. In Europe it is quite different. First of all the Milky Way bar is significantly smaller and has much different wrapping. Secondly, they don’t have any caramel on the inside, just nougat. The candy bar is similar to a 3 Musketeers bar. In the European Milky Way the nougat is much thicker and creamier. It also has more of a white chocolate taste. If you are ever in Europe and want to an American Milky Way bar, you’ll have to buy a Mars Bar. The Mars Bar is the exact same thing as an American Milky Way. Fortunately there are no European 3 Musketeers bar. That would be far too confusing.
Spanish Cereal Coffee
This is not so much a variation on an American food, but a strange usage of it. When Kellogg’s began doing market research they realized that the Spaniards were adding Bran cereal to coffee in the morning instead of milk. Evidently, the Spaniards did not often drink milk with breakfast. Kellogg’s instantly changed their marketing plan and began advertising Bran cereal with coffee (instead of milk). The cereal ended up being a big success in Spain. Anybody want to try some coffee cereal?
Fanta Lactic White Grape
Fanta comes in a shocking amount of flavors for various international markets, but the most baffling and intriguing is Fanta Lactic White Grape. Evidently very few people have actually tried this flavor. It is quite rare and hard to find. Recently Fanta Lactic has made it over to the United States according to this website but the White Grape variety is currently only available in Taiwan. What is not clear is what exactly makes this soda drink lactic or why the flavor of choice is White Grape.
Oreos are one of the most successful and iconic cookies in America. Naturally seeing the widespread success of the Oreo in America, Nabisco began to market the cookie to international buyers. When they hit Japan, Nabisco had a problem. The Oreo was not selling well. After some market research Nabisco realized that the Japanese did not like the Double Stuffed Oreo. They also were not too thrilled with the flavor of the “stuff”. So, to cater to Japanese taste, Nabisco developed a whole line of Japan-specific cookies. Double Stuff was replaced by single stuff with less sugar and a whole new wave of flavors was introduced. American’s are not strangers to odd Oreo flavors, but the Japanese get their Oreos in green tea, mango, lime, watermelon, lemon cheesecake, and various berry flavors.
Green Tea Baskin Robins
Let’s face it, although Americans drink tea, Americans are not really a tea drinking culture. Compared to the rest of the world (especially Europe and Asia) our tea consumption is pretty tame. So when Baskin Robins decided to extend its reach outside of the United States, it also decided to cater to the love of tea in other countries. In many other countries Baskin Robins can be bought in Green Tea flavor. Green Tea ice cream is popular in Russia (зелёный чай), Japan, and Indonesia. The ice cream is made with real tea leaves so may have the same health properties of actually drinking green tea.
McDonalds took off in China. On the opening day 40,000 customers were served. Many Chinese look at McDonalds as a formal meal. After years of costumer success McDonalds has begun to lose the fast food battle to KFC. In response McDonalds revamped its menu to become more “China friendly”. How so? Rice got added to everything. This created strange items like the Rice Burger with rice “buns”, taro pies, odd wraps with an unidentifiable meat, and various rice and meat plates. The general consensus is that the new menu is terrible. The old adage “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” comes to mind.
Eastern European Lay’s Chips
As mentioned above, American chips were real hit and miss in the former Soviet Union. When Lay’s were introduced, the PepsiCo company (which owns Lay’s) went full blast with the tired and true American flavors. Unfortunately, the Eastern Europeans didn’t like the overwhelming cheese flavors or spicy salsa flavors. Ranch and BBQ sauce flavors failed because these sauces don’t even really exist in Eastern Europe. After some trial and error, PepsiCo came up with a whole line of Eastern European chips. The Russians got to snack on caviar, mushroom and sour cream, herbs and sour cream, crab, pickle, roast chicken, shashlik (a Turkish lamb shish kabob), and a light cheese version. The Polish have all of these flavors (minus the seafood varieties) as well as paprika, guacamole and hot green peppers. The brilliance of these chips is that they really do taste like the flavor they advertise. The caviar version is especially delicious.
Japanese Kit Kats
The best example of an American product getting a shocking makeover in the foreign market is Japenese Kit Kats. Let’s be honest, most Americans don’t think much about Kit Kats. They usually play second string to other candy bars. In Japan, however, the Kit Kat is huge. So huge that there are around 80 different flavors of the candy bar. Why are they so popular in Japan? The phrase that roughly translates to “good luck” in Japanese is “kitto katsu”. Parents give their children Kit Kats during their National Exams as a sort of good luck charm because the name of the candy bar sounds so close to “kitto katsu”. Kit Kat bars can be found in a shocking variety of flavors there. These range from the delicious (Blueberry cheesecake, cookies and chocolate, carmel) to the disgusting (beet, European headcheese, Pickled Plum) to the absolutely baffling (Wasabi, Dark Chocolate with Cookies for adults, grilled corn, soy sauce, and sports drink).