Welcome everyone! I was given the number of readers I had last month and didn't know I had that many people who follow! Seriously, all I want to say is, minna itsumo kono saito ni kite kurete arigatou!!!
Ever since I became single again (and living in the opposite coast), a few brilliant suitors have discovered I'm quite a simple person. How simple? I don't need roses, I don't chocolates, all I need is anything Hello Kitty! Wow mom! Satisfaction guaranteed what a little Hello Kitty Pez can do! Hee. ^_^
Hello Kitty is so big now that no one really remembers a world without it! But the real fans all know the magic word, Sanrio. That's the company that produces Hello Kitty along with her cute friends Ahiru No Pekkle, Miffy, Keroppi, Pannapitta, Tuxedo Sam (remember him?!), Pochacco, Spottie Dottie and many more! Anyone who's ever had an Asian girlfriend probably knows these characters by heart. We can't live without these adorable figures!
Mmmmm. So everything and anything has a Hello Kitty brand to it. There's Hello Kitty car seats, assault rifles, contact lens, corsets, lunch boxes and (so embarassed to say it ::blushes::) condoms. Hazukashii! :(
Well, it isn't a surprise to know that there are thousands of desserts made with Hello Kitty on them. Do ice-cream cones with Hello Kitty images taste better than the regular ones? Of course not, but they sure are cuter! My best explanation is that sometimes making things more visually appealing helps with the sense of taste. It's true! And what better way to start it off than the examples of Hello Kitty in popular culture snacks? It's no surprise that the king of snacks in Asia, Kit Kat, have Hello Kitty Kit Kat, a sweet mixture of strawberry covered in the familiar chocolate! However, that's only one brand of Hello Kitty Kit Kat, because there are also the special Mikado edition as well as the pink and white marshmellow Hello Kitty edition. So wacky!
And that's only a drop in the Hello Kitty dessert empire ocean! Where would we be without Hello Kitty Pocky? Since strawberry is already a popular flavor for Pocky, the Hello Kitty Pocky features a lighter strawberry and peach mix that makes it a delicious and fun collectible! Dare ka ni motte kite moraeba! Other Japanese brands that feature special Hello Kitty editions (as opposed to simply putting the image only and keeping the regular flavor) are numerous.
But aside from simply being a brand, Sanrio lets third-party create original Hello Kitty dessert products and the count is unlimited! There are more random original Hello Kitty than sands on a beach. That's because Hello Kitty products (just the snack parts) produce a profit of annually $500 million a year. $500 MILLION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Arema!
These goes from cinnamon candies, bubble gums, chocolate biscuits, marshmellows, cookies, hard candy, lollipops, gummy fruits, Jell-O, dried fruit, granola bars, sweet popcorn, chocolate bars, yogurt, sugar pretzels, raisins, choco nuts, ramune soda, peanut butter boppers, mochi, vitamins, fun chips, milk candy, cough drops, fruit chews, rice crackers, pudding, lemon lumps, breath mints, macarons, cotton candy, taffy, candy canes, lip gloss, jellybeans, ice cream, lemonade, sweet crystals, jawbreakers, gummy bears, pez, rice candy, toffee, kompeito, pantteri, juice, candy corn, milk chocolate, honey pops, pirulin, licorice, sathers, powder straws, rock pieces, sour sweets, syrup and wax candy.
...whhhhhhhhhhhheeeeeeeeeeeeeew! That's a lot of variety for just one product! ^_^
What's even more amazing is that there are over 3000 licensed companies producing on average 20 different products of the Hello Kitty brand. Hmmm. Counting my fingers...3000 x 20...that's 60000 different individual products bearing the Hello Kitty image alone! More proof that this adorable brand is more popular than ever with no signs of ever stopping!
Even American versions of candy aren't invulnerable to the Hello Kitty craze. I've already noted the influence of Kit Kat and Pez, but the Japanese aren't simply satisfied with importing American products...there's also the need to make them special editions! Hello Kitty Pop Tarts? Why not! In a special "Meow-Berry", these pinkish morning tarts are to the absolute delight of children...not only in Japan and also in America. That's right! In your local supermarkets, you may find the special Kellogg's edition of this very pop tart.
In fact, Kellogg's even introduced a limited edition cereal called Hello Kitty Loops! Introduced in Germany, this cereal may be making its way to your local Stateside supermarket soon. The cereal is pink, fluffy, cute, small and taste like strawberry milk!
Think that's awesome? Check out Hello Kitty Jelly Bellys! Pink and red jelly beans that bring a strawberry and peppermint combination which fits the cutie cat! These are available in special candy stories, but I've found them in numerous malls in wherever they sell plenty of Jelly Belly products!
One of the bigger pop influences of Hello Kitty in America happened with the marketing of Yogurt-land. Yogurt-land made a major campaign to paint Hello Kitty and some of her other Sanrio friends in their stores all across North America. Since they've used the Hello Kitty/Sanrio image, sales have gone way up, including a serious challenge to my favorite yogurt juggernaut, Pinkberry!
Mmmmmm...I'm very loyal to Pinkberry, but it's so hard to resist when their biggest competitor has Sanrio characters plastered everywhere in their store. Sore totemo kawairashii ne!!! ^_^
In July of 2011, the Beverly Hills Yogurt-land location opened a major event unvealing Sanrio characters and a cute incentive to collect all the Sanrio character spoons! The event featured ultra-rare freebie collectibles including keychains, tote bags and t-shirts. I wish I still lived in LA!!! Sigh. In addition, the made mention of the yogurt-land sweepstakes for more Hello Kitty prizes (alas, the contest is way over in 2012).
But enough about that! What about the flavors? Was it just intense marketing with no changes to the yogurt flavors? Nah-uh! There were Sanrio-specific flavors for each of the major characters including "Hello Kitty Loves Fresh Strrawberry", "My Melody Loves Red Velvet Cupcake Batter", "Keroppi Loves Green Apple Tart" and "Chococat Loves Dutch Chocolate". If you're a Hello Kitty fan and haven't gotten yourself to a Yogurt-land since its Sanrio marketing, shame on you! For those who have, the Hello Kitty flavor tops them all with oodles of strawberry! (Meanwhile, Keroppi's apple tart flavor has gummi worms. Ewwwwww.)
Deza-to wo oshieru jōnetsu wa darenimo makenai wayo!
This was probably my favorite column I've written thus far. And why not? Desserts + Hello Kitty = Love. What can I say? It's a Hello Kitty's world! Ever since I was a little tyke, I was told I wore Hello Kitty diapers. I started early and I'll never get sick of that character! In my apartment, I've stocked my pad with Hello Kitty bandaids, Hello Kitty jammies and, yes, even Hello Kitty panties ^_~!
Before I get into Hello Kitty overload, let me stop and remind you to come back in 15 days when I reveal even more Asian desserts. What will the topic be? You'll just have to find out! This is Kitty Kanagawa signing off! Throwing my ninja smoke bomb... ::poof::