Successive Innovations of Famous Kyoto ConfectioneryConfectioners' New Products to Attract Young Consumers23 September 2014 - Gourmet
Producers of Kyoto's famous confectionery, "Yatsuhashi," have been releasing a succession of new products which overturn the sweets' traditional image, such as "Nama-Yatsuhashi," or a traditional sweet made of raw, cinnamon-flavored rice cake with bean paste filling but using Western ingredients for its filling. While following traditional methods, they raise the appeal of "Yatsuhashi" as a familiar sweet, as well as cultivate young customers with new styles.
"Yatsuhashi" is a leading Kyoto souvenir that can boast of deep-rooted popularity. According to a Kyoto City survey in 2013, among sales of souvenir Kyoto sweets, "Fresh Yatsuhashi" accounted for 32.8% and "Yatsuhashi" for 13.7%. On the other hand, "Local young people don't eat them very often." said Kyoto Confectionary Industrial Guild, so each company has been utilizing their originality and ingenuity.
Izutsu Yatsuhashi Honpo Co., Ltd., in Ukyo Ward, Kyoto, sold "Hana no Komachi," or a box of fresh Yatsuhashi with five varieties of bean paste flavors, such as rum raisin or cranberry, in June. With the traditional triangle shape redesigned as a cylinder, they sold approximately 10,000 boxes over three months. Their goal is to increase daily production from the current 2,000 to 10,000 boxes in November when Kyoto is thronged with many tourists.
Honke Yatsuhashi Nishio Co., Ltd., in Ukyo Ward, Kyoto, has developed a chiffon cake with rice flour, which is used to make Yatsuhashi. In addition to the four flavors, such as maple or strawberry-flavor condensed milk, it has added seasonal delicacies to expand its range of such kinds.
Shogoin Yatsuhashi Head Store, in Sakyo Ward, Kyoto, has devised new ways of selling the confectionery. Yatsuhashi brand "nikiniki" offers bean paste fillings, including candied apple, sweet potato, caramel and others, chosen by the customers at the store, wrapped in colorful fresh Yatsuhashi. The store will continue to focus on new product development, stating that this will create opportunities to enjoy Yatsuhashi for people who are unfamiliar with it.
Otabe Co., Ltd., in Minami Ward, Kyoto, is focusing on "Kotabe," or half-sized traditional fresh Yatsuhashi with bean paste filling. The company has confidence in it, saying "Its cuteness and easy to eat size are very popular." Junichi Tsuda, the head director of Kyoto Confectionary Industrial Guild, said, "We must not abandon the traditional manufacturing process and raw materials, but it is important to create products that are accepted in modern society. We are looking to revitalize our market."(translated by Galileo, Inc.)