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Snacks & Candy

Hi-Chew Launches the East Meets West Challenge

Encourages consumers to vote for new flavor that will debut in 2019

IRVINE, Calif. -- Candy manufacturer Morinaga America is celebrating 10 years of Hi-Chew in the United States with an East Meets West Flavor Challenge, encouraging fans to vote on the flavor they want launched in the United States in spring 2019.

Consumers have until March 31 to select from more than 20 Hi-Chew flavors, including fruit-based options such as Banana Fizz, Watermelon, Cantaloupe and Dragon fruit and dessert-forward choices such as Cotton Candy, Strawberry Cheesecake and Chocolate Covered Banana. The company will reveal the winning flavor April 10.

"The Japanese consumer's palate is uniquely fickle, which allows for innovation and experimentation when it comes to different flavor offerings," said Norio Otsuki, COO of Morinaga America. "As the American palate expands and global cuisine becomes more widely appreciated, we look forward to potentially introducing even more distinctly Japanese flavors to the U.S. market."

Consumers eat about 700 million Hi-Chews every year, according to Morinaga America. The company creates the candy's flavors through research and development, where it identifies consumer trends in various markets. Hi-Chew has launched more than 170 flavors since its creation 43 years ago in Japan and continues to expand its offerings annually. In January 2017, the brand launched its line of Sour Sticks in grapefruit, lemon and lime flavors.

Irvine, Calif.-based Morinaga America Inc., a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Morinaga & Co. Ltd, is the official Hi-Chew distributor in the United States, selling the chewy candies in flavors such as Strawberry, Green Apple, Mango, Grape, Banana, Melon and Kiwi. The candy launched in the United States in 2008 and is made with real fruit juice purees. It is 100% free of gluten, cholesterol and artificial colors.

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