This week, Gama casts its eye over a new addition to the long-established Mitsuya Cider range in Japan – Mitsuya Freezing Cider – which is taking chilled shelving to new extremes.
Launched by Asahi Soft Drinks, Mitsuya Freezing Cider is a soft drink that blurs the boundaries between chilled drinks and frozen ice pops. The product is designed to be stored and sold at a temperature of -5 Celsius, at which point, due to the pressurizing effect of carbonation, it remains in a liquid state despite being below the normal freezing point of water. Once opened, however, pressure is released and, with no time to reach ambient temperature, the product effectively ‘freezes’, turning from a liquid drink into something approaching an ice ‘slushy’.
This type of ‘magic trick’ effect testifies to the increasing interactivity evident in much recent product innovation, whether for function or pure novelty purposes. From colour-changing detergents to thermo-reactive packaging materials, products which change ‘before the consumer’s eyes’ are aimed at providing value-adding differentiation as well as increasing engagement between brand and consumer.
Aside from the element of interactivity, Mitsuya Freezing Cider also points to another trend in consumer goods innovation – that of heightened sensory appeal. Daring flavour and textural combinations as well as extremes of temperature – whether real or simulated – are seeking to meet demand for more adventurous experiences. Concepts such as ‘super chilling’ could be a new way for manufacturers to meet this need, perhaps by gearing their positioning towards enhanced refreshment or creating novel flavour profiles.
More broadly, this latest development suggests how innovation may begin to erode strict divisions between ‘chilled’ and ‘frozen’ shelving. On the one hand this potentially opens up new possibilities in frozen categories such as ice cream products, where obviating the need for deep freezing could help reduce rates of energy consumption, thus leading to cost efficiencies. On the other hand, if ‘super chilling’ garners broader appeal, it could ultimately prove a disruptive influence, with the potential for new entrants to break established conventions in many chilled soft drinks categories.
Additional sources: Kotaku