Alongside foie gras and caviar, truffle is one of the top three so-called delicacies of the world. In Japan, caviar was the height of vogue a few decades ago. Foie gras took up that mantle more recently but likely reached its peak a few years ago. These days, the truffle is booming in Japan and getting more and more limelight.
Like the other two delicacies, the truffle is not a part of traditional Japanese cuisine. The current surge in truffle sales is not only about imported food items or Western-style restaurants, but also locally made fresh and processed food. When a food trend takes hold in Japan, it affects a wide range of segments and food categories, including locally made food.
While you can find truffle-themed restaurants that specialise in dishes with this ingredient or a wide-range of imported food products, in this article we focus on items that demonstrate the depth of the truffle trend. To this end, we put together a special selection of locally available products that someone might not expect to see in Japan and that even Japanese people may find unique and new.
Burrata with truffle
Burrata is another top-trending food item in Japan, and adding truffle to it makes it ‘double’ trendy. Hanabatake Ranch makes and sells a locally made truffle-flavoured burrata that uses 100% Hokkaido milk. You can definitely both see and enjoy the taste of the black truffle when eating this cheese.
Potato chips with truffle flavour
It is not every day that you come across a Western-style food item that is made in Taiwan but entirely localised for the Japanese market. Hyfood’s truffle-flavoured potato chips are a noteworthy gem in terms of international food marketing and localisation. It is also a perfect example of the current red-hot truffle boom in Japan.
Bread roll with truffle flavour
Notably very trendy and stylish, Truffle Bakery has been expanding in the Tokyo area. As the name suggests, the bakery has a special affinity for truffle. One of its most famous products is a truffle-flavoured bread roll. The bread is not only super-soft and fluffy, but it also has just the right amount of truffle aroma.
We have previously covered KitKat’s Japanese localisation techniques. (You can find our article here.) As one of the masters of trendsetting and following, the company has released a snack with truffle oil flavouring. The SNAX offers a very good mixture of local and Western flavours, and the aroma of truffles is unmistakable.
Sweet truffles are not very well known in Japan or indeed other countries. Still, a market already exists for them in Japan! They are notably special because of both their taste and their rarity; they can only be accessed for a limited period of the year. They are promoted in Japan on this local web page.
Food and dining are central topics in the Japanese media, and food items are always in the limelight. Discussions and opinion polls are everyday topics, and they provide information and evaluations on locally available food items and menus.
It is worth keeping an eye on the latest trends in Japan. They may become an opportunity for your food product. You could also get useful ideas on how to improve your promotion not only in Japan, but maybe in your home market as well.