Big in Japan: Pretz to launch in US market

By Hal Conick

- Last updated on GMT

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Pretz to enter specialty Asian stores in the US
Pretz to enter specialty Asian stores in the US
Pocky Sticks maker Ezaki Glico will release another Japanese snack, Pretz, on the US market.

The company will launch in Asian grocery stores and markets, as well as in the next month, with five flavors of the pretzel sticks.

Flavors will include Hot Chili Salad, Pizza, Tom Yum, Original, and Sweet Corn. The product will be packaged in a “handy pocket,” the company said, made for on-the-go snacking.

Pretz will retail for $1.99 per pack in the US market.

Starting small, growing larger

Distribution of Pretz will be limited due to an internal company issue with distribution, according to what Yoko Hosoya, Sales Planning for Glico USA, told BakeryandSnacks. The snack will be limited to Asian markets in California, New York and Texas, as well as online sales, initially.

However, she said the popular Japanese product has potential to grow larger and provide unique flavors to the US market.

Comment from company president Shunsuke Nakai:

“At Glico, we could not be more thrilled to introduce yet another delicious product to the palate of our American consumers. These five exciting new flavors are not only incredibly appetizing, they truly replicate the sensation of eating the foods they have been named after. Unlike Pocky sticks, Pretz are completely coated with seasoning from one end to the next, so the consumer can enjoy the full experience with every bite.”

“We think Asian Americans who go to the Asian markets still have a local influence​,” she said. “We’re hoping the product is going to grow based on the Asian American population. Then eventually lots of people are going to buy the product.”

The company has a US sales goal of $4m for Pretz in 2016.  

Thus far, the company has only seen distribution in the US through a grocery subscription company.

A unique offering

Hosoya said the feedback they’ve received from buyers and distributors has leaned heavily toward the unique flavors the company is offering, such as Tom Yum and Hot Chili Salad.

“We thought we could provide something very unique and different in the US market,”​ she said. “We see stick shaped pretzels in the market, but we don’t really see flavored ones. I thought flavored pretzels can be really different. I think you have to taste it to really get the flavor profile.”

Hosoya said Ezaki Glico wanted to bring a salty snack to the market to help grow the brand’s snack category larger from the current offerings of Pocky and Pejoy, a confectionary biscuit with cream on the inside.

“Pretz are already known, like really familiar products in Japan, consumers already know the brand name,” she said. “But no other companies in the US have these flavors.”

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