Sat, Mar 15, 2014 - Page 4 News List

Japanese ‘Big Thunder’ takes Taiwan by storm

Staff writer, with CNA

Periodically, a product seems so appealing that Taiwanese wait in long lines. This time, it is a Japanese chocolate cookie. With locals so eager to get the candy, Taiwan has become its biggest overseas market almost overnight.

Retailers believe that just like “egg tart fever” 20 years ago, the frenzy over “Big Thunder” chocolate bars is likely to die down in a few months.

However, until then, three hypermarkets — including Carrefour — and Family Mart, Taiwan’s second-largest convenience store chain, are importing the treat to meet surging demand. Until recently, only 7-Eleven stores carried the candy.

Some consumers even take the time to find out when the supply truck will arrive and line up to buy the chocolate candy as soon as cartons are opened.

There have been some suspicions that people may have been paid to write positive reviews on the Internet, but the government’s Fair Trade Commission has not intervened so far.

Japanese and Taiwanese interviewed in Tokyo have scratched their heads, puzzled about why Big Thunder cookies have become so popular in Taiwan.

The product’s only competitive edge appears to be its retail price, which is about NT$10 per packet in Japan, compared with an average NT$130 for other brands.

“A friend in Taiwan asked me to bring back some. I have no idea what it’s like so I’m going to try it myself,” a Taiwanese visitor said.

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