Innovation Insight: Fujiya Country Ma’am Cookie Drink

Innovation Insight: Fujiya Country Ma’am Cookie Drink

This week Gama takes a look at the latest example of indulgent foods transitioning to the drinks industry with the launch of new “drinkable cookies” from Japanese bakery and confectionery firm Fujiya – Fujiya Country Ma’am Cookie Drink.

Fujiya Country Ma’am – a long-standing Japanese soft cookie brand – is making the journey from food to drinks through the launch of Fujiya Country Ma’am Cookie Drink, a new milk shake product that is positioned as being a “drinkable” version of the well-known biscuit brand. Underlining this concept, both the cookies and drink are said to share a number of ingredients, including chocolate and white adzuki bean paste, while the flavour is also reported to replicate the vanilla flavour of the original cookies.

Fujiya’s brand diversification strategy is one which is being increasingly embraced in Japan, a country that is particularly receptive to more unusual brand extensions. In 2007, the fruit-flavour candy brand Hi-Chew moved into beverages with the launch of a mandarin orange flavour milk drink. Similarly both the Milky and Pine Ame candy brands have also forayed into the world of drinks in recent times.

Another recent Japanese launch which bears comparison with Fujiya Country Ma’am Cookie Drink is Gras Granola Drink Mix. The blend of fine cereal grains and fruit is designed to be added to milk to form a drink, rather than the other way round and eaten as a cereal – an interesting variation on the currently popular ‘breakfast drink’ concept.

They key to this type of innovation strategy is ensuring that any new category aligns well with the fundamental character of the brand, be that health, indulgence, a trademark flavour or other attribute. Misaligned brand extensions can ultimately lead to costly failure, as Mars discovered in 2010 when it was forced to axe its Galaxy probiotic shots in the UK less than a year after launch as a result of poor sales: consumers could not readily accept the transition of a confectionery brand, associated wholly with indulgence, to a health-oriented brand touting functional benefits.

Carefully and selectively applied, the type of cross-category strategy exemplified by Fujiya Country Ma’am Cookie Drink can be a useful means of rejuvenating a brand as well as opening it up to new occasions or new target markets. Importantly, though, to be successful this diversification must deliver on consumer expectations, remaining true to the brand’s fundamental identity and character.

Additional sources: RocketNews 24 / Kotaku / The Grocer