Salt candy sees brisk sales thanks to record heat
TOYONAKA, Osaka Prefecture--If you can't beat the heat, at least try to make it more bearable.
That sums up candy maker Iseki Shokuhin's marketing strategy as Japan wilts under record heat.
The company's Necchu Ame heatstroke salt lozenges are selling like pancakes.
Each lozenge contains 0.25 grams of salt, which along with fluids, is considered vital in preventing heatstroke.
Toyonaka-based Iseki Shokuhin has been shipping as many as 10,000 packs daily to convenience stores and supermarkets around the country, up from 2,000 to 3,000 last summer.
Still, the product is out of stock at many shops, company officials said.
They said that people engaged in outdoor activities, such as children's baseball teams and construction workers, are buying the product in bulk to fight the summer heat.
Iseki Shokuhin decided to develop the product at the request of a construction company worker.
"Our workers are sucking salt during break time in order to prevent heatstroke. But salt alone doesn't taste good and salt lozenges currently on the market don't have enough salt in them," an official told the candy maker in spring 2006.
The company was urged to raise the salt level in test productions. It finally came up with the Necchu Ame, which boasts 10 times the salt concentration of conventional products.
Each yellow lozenge measures about 2 centimeters in diameter. Lemon aroma was added to keep down the salty taste.
Iseki Shokuhin executive Masaru Iseki appears happy about the product's brisk sales, especially because lozenges are generally not a popular item in summer.
"We were able to cultivate demand in an unexpected way," the 45-year-old said.
A 100-gram package sells for around 230 yen, excluding 5 percent consumption tax. (IHT/Asahi: August 21,2007)