Morinaga, a strong player in confectionery and snacks, secured the sales rights for the Pringles brand on October 9 and will commence sales of the brand in January 2013.
Pringles had previously been handled by Meiji Holdings but sales contracts were changed after Kellogg acquired Pringles from Procter & Gamble in June.
One source close to the matter in the Japanese food industry told BakeryandSnacks.com that if Morinaga wants to push the brand further it should seek to differentiate from competition.
Morinaga should offer Pringles flavors “exactly as they are in the US, not Japanese imitations”, they said.
“I have seen a number of Japanese consumers who like to buy Pringles at stores which specialize in imported foods. This is in order to buy special US flavors not otherwise available in Japan.”
“Japanese consumers are always interested in things from outside Japan.”
Limited edition flavors would also be popular and “play into the desire for people to explore”, they added.
Morinaga has said it wants to position Pringles as one of its major snack products alongside its sea creature-shaped crackers Ottoto and Potelong potato snacks.
“Morinaga is very strong, so if any company can bring the brand along, it would be a top candidate,” the source said.
“Pringles is already very well-known and it is already well placed in most stores, including all important convenience stores.”
“I would assume the company will keep Pringles positioned as a Western brand, but just as with Kit Kat, which almost feels Japanese at times, they will probably try to strike a balance,” they added.
Pringles in Japan already boasts a broad portfolio of traditional Western flavors such as sour cream and onion and barbeque alongside ‘traditional flavors’ such as garlic seafood, seaweed and braised pork. There are also a wide range of flavors that fall would likely fall under the ‘Japanese imitations’ category – including Spanish salsa pizza and German sausage.