McDonald's Tokyo 2020 Olympic Tumblers

How early is early? McDonald's Japan started giving away coffee tumblers (thermoses) with Mega Sets even before the Rio Olympics were over. With the theme Rio to Tokyo, the selections are as pictured above. I chose the checkered version shown to the right because I am a sucker for writing in Kanji and that one even has the year 2020 written in Kanji, something increasingly rare in general practice. Japanese people continue to see English, even nonsense English, as stylish, while I still see Kanji as much more visually pleasing than Western languages.

No indication as to when this promotion will end. I assume it will end far short of the 2020 Olympic opening ceremonies.


Key Words: McDonald's, tumbler, 2010 Olympics マックドナルド タンブラー オリンピック

Photo is a web capture for explanatory purposes, copyright belongs to the company.


Coca Cola Georgia Cold Brew Coffee

The cold brewed coffee movement started about 5 years ago and has really taken off in the US. In Japan, Coca Cola is now offering a premium Georgia branded coffee in bottle shaped cans produced using the cold brewed method.

The cold brew method involves steeping ground coffee in room temperature or even chilled water. The result is a coffee with a different taste profile. Volatile compounds are not lost or degraded due to higher temperatures, but other compounds which are not as readily extracted from the beans might not be present.

Therefore, the premium price reflects not only marketing, but longer production time and the need to use 1.3 times as many coffee beans as regular coffee.

Key Words: Coca Cola, Georgia, Cold Brew Coffee コカ・コーラ ジョージア コールドブリューコーヒー

Photo is a web capture for explanatory purposes, copyright belongs to the company.


Suntory Craft Select Beer Bar

Over the past few years, Suntory's Craft Select series has been introducing a consistent string of excellent beers - always interesting, frequently best in class. The current IPA is simply the best IPA I have ever tried. I also think the design using metallic colors is modern yet subdued and very attractive. These sell at a slight premium vs regular beer - 227 vs 217 yen per 350 ml can.

The current copy reads essentially, "When you gather with friends and drink Craft Select you can enjoy a different from what you normally drink, or in the home you can enjoy a different taste, that's BEER BAR". It does not really work in English, but of course the English "BEER BAR" is only used for decoration, not for meaning.

Key Words: Suntory, Craft Select, BEER BAR, IPA サントリー クラフトセレクト ビアBAR

Photo is a web capture for explanatory purposes, copyright belongs to the company.


Grand Kirin Izayoi no Tsuki

Grand Kirin is Kirin's premium glass bottle beer, styled on craft beers. It is marketed as so delicious that one bottle is enough. Most of the varieties in this series are IPA beers.

The new Grand Kirin variety uses calypso hop and claims a mature or ripe fruit or citrus flavor. The name Izayoi no Tsuki means the moon phase just after the full moon, something associated with a hesitant, late rising moon. This phase is well known enough to be the name of a famous anime character.

Just today, I visited a convenience store and saw that the stock of this beer was completely sold out. So unfortunately, I cannot comment on the taste. I do however like the design, especially the IPA replacing one stoke in the Chinese character for moon.

Key Words: Grand Kirin, Izayoi no Tsuki, グランドキリン 十六夜の月

Photo is a web capture for explanatory purposes, copyright belongs to the company.


McDonald's Morning Mega Sets

Western-style indulgence has made it to the morning hours at McDonald's in Japan with the three Megasets.

You have the Mega McMuffin with with two pork patties, cheese, smoked bacon, and egg on a muffin coming in at 687 kcal, a Mega McGriddles with basically the same on a maple flavored syrup pancake bun coming in at 756 kcal, and finally a Double Filet-O-Fish with two fish patties delivering 482 kcal.

After this breakfast, you will have plenty of reason to be active the rest of the day.

Key Words: マックドナルド メガセット ダブルフィレオフィッシュ メガマックグリドル メガマフィン Mega McMuffin, Mega McGriddles, Double Filet-O-Fish, Mega Set, McDonald's

Photo is a web capture for explanatory purposes, copyright belongs to the company.


Burger King Sourcing Chart (Part 2)

Thought I would finish up the McDonald's sourcing chart I started several days ago. Once again, the processing location is given in parentheses. No comments on any specific choices here, but it is interesting how decisions made based on price, reliability, safety, transportation costs, etc. result in the use of ingredients from 5 continents.

French Fries (Potatoes)                  US (US)  
Onion Rings (Onions)                     US (US)
Hash Browns (Potatoes)                US (US)  
Snack Chicken                                BR, JP (JP) BR = Brazil
Chicken Nuggets/Fried Chicken    TH (TH)
Cheese Bites (Cheese, Potatoes)   US (US)
Apple Pie (Apple)                             IT (JP) IT = Italy
Custard Pie (Egg)                             JP (JP)  
Pies (Flour)                                       US, CA, JP (JP)  
Frying Oil                                          IN (IN) IN = Indonesia
Cheese (Cheddar, Colby, Slice)      AU, NZ, UK, JP (AU, NZ, UK, JP)
Soft Cone (Milk)                                JP, AU, NZ (JP)  
Soft Cone (Flour)                              US, AU, JP (JP)  
Milk                                                    JP (JP)

Here is a link to the list (PDF)

Photo is a web capture for explanatory purposes, copyright belongs to the company.


Meiji Bulgaria Yogurt in Shanghai

In Beijing and Shanghai these days, it is easier than ever to find Japanese food products. Convenience stores are usually your best bet for finding this items and despite the political friction between China and Japan, Japanese food brands sell at a premium due to reputations for high quality and safety standards. Here is a photo of Meiji Bulgaria Yogurt as it appears on the shelf of a Shanghai convenience store.

Key Words: Meiji Bulgaria Yogurt, China 明治ブルガリアヨーグルト 中国


Yamazaki Lunch Pack Tokachi Meat Bolognese

As part of the Lunch Pack series, Yamazaki has introduced a bolognese sandwich using beef from the Tokachi region of Hokkaido. The photo is just used to remind people where they are accustomed to seeing this sauce - on pasta. Although many Lunch Pack products do contain noodles, this one is simply sauce based.

Although I have not seen this product on the shelves and have not had a chance to try it, past experience tells me that this product will not be as overly rich as you might imagine. They are not just sticking spaghetti sauce in a sandwich, that would in no way suit Japanese tastes.

Key Words: Yamazaki, Lunch Pack, Tokachi, Hokkaido, Bolognese, ヤマザキ 山崎製パン ランチパック ボロネーゼ 十勝 北海道

Photo is a web capture for explanatory purposes, copyright belongs to the company.


Japanese Infant Formula and China

Chinese customers continue to buy large quantities of European and Japanese infant formula while traveling abroad. This is most closely linked to the lingering distrust of the domestic industry following the melamine scandal of 2008 which reportedly affected upwards of 300,000 infants.

The result of Chinese demand in other countries is empty shelves and upset customers. That is the reason you see signs like this one (Japan) limiting purchases to 8 per person. Similar signs can be seen in European countries.

In a typical example of Japanese insensitivity, the notifications are only given in English and Chinese.


Haagen-Dazs Murasaki Imo Ice Cream

With product imagery as beautiful as always, Haagen-Dazs has introduced Murasaki Imo 紫いも or purple fleshed sweet potato ice cream. Murasaki imo is a regional favorite from southern Kyushu and it sweet enough to be eaten freshly baked, as is.

This product derives its color naturally from the ayamurasaki variety of murasaki imo which is high the anthocyanin color pigments.

Key Words: Haagen-Dazs, Murasaki Imo, Ayamurasaki, Purple Sweet Potato, anthocyanin, ハーゲンダッツ アヤムラサキ 紫いも アントシアニン

Photo is a web capture for explanatory purposes, copyright belongs to the company.