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Apr 20, 2015 • By

Häagen-Dazs limited edition vanishes in Japan

Japanese ice cream lovers quickly bought out more than 5 million mini-cups of the latest limited edition of Häagen-Dazs ice cream.

The dish featured Japanese flavors blended with a popular dessert made from steamed and pounded rice.

The two flavors of Häagen-Dazs Hana Mochi ice cream were supposed to be on market from late February until July. Consumer demand, however, led to Japanese supermarkets and convenience stores selling out within a week, says Ryo Morinaka, marketing manager for Häagen-Dazs Japan.

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“We expected consumers would find the combination of ice cream and mochi – a Japanese food – a novelty,” says Ryo. “However, to be honest, we did not imagine it would be such a huge hit.”

Ryo says the Hana Mochi launch was widely discussed on social media before the ice cream went on sale.

The hoopla marked the first time Häagen-Dazs Japan had to suspend sales of a product within a week of launching. But there have been other wildly popular products that experienced similar fates.

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In 2003, Häagen-Dazs Japan suspended sales of two new ice cream flavors – custard pudding and red bean – when demand outstripped supplies. But those flavors were each on the market for at least a month.

Layered with soft mochi used in traditional Japanese desserts, the ice cream hit store shelves on Feb. 23. Mochi is a rice cake made by steaming mochi rice and pounding it to give it a sticky, almost rubbery texture.

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In development for two years, Hana Mochi marked the first time Häagen-Dazs Japan created an ice cream containing mochi.

“We thought it would be a whole new way to enjoy Häagen-Dazs ice cream,” Ryo says.

Hana Mochi translates to “splendid rice cake” and comes in two flavors.

The first includes kinako – roasted soybean flour – mixed with brown sugar syrup known as kuromitsu. The other includes walnuts with a sweet soy sauce syrup known as mitarishi.

Mochi can be difficult to combine with other foods, and doing so with ice cream proved challenging. But Häagen-Dazs came up with the right amount of sugar and moisture to allow the mochi to remain soft when paired with the ice cream.

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