What sounds quite gross to most Americans is actually very popular in other countries. Russians like their Lay’s potato chips dusted in caviar and crab flavors. The Chinese like Oreos stuffed with mango or green tea cream. And in Spain, Kellogg’s All-Bran cereal is served in hot coffee instead of cold milk.
American snack foods are being sold around the world, but food scientists have to adapt them to the regional tastes. For example the Oreo, which Kraft Food Inc. introduced in China in 1996. Sales of the vanilla cream-filled chocolate cookie sandwich were respectable there, but the Chinese didn’t completely take to it. So Kraft decided to tweak the Oreo. The Chinese like their cookies smaller and not as sweet as Americans do. So the company changed the recipe to create a cookie that was a tad smaller and a touch less sweet.
But the company wasn’t finished. After noticing sales of Oreos were lagging in China during the summer, Kraft added a green tea ice cream flavor. The cookie combined a popular local flavor with the cooling imagery of ice cream. The green tea version sold well, and a year later, Kraft rolled out Oreos in flavors that are popular in Asians desserts — raspberry-and-blueberry and mango-and-orange.