New product season

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It's new product season.

In the late spring, all of the summer products start appearing on the shelves of conbini around town. Many of these new items are simply variations on a theme, taking a twist to accomodate whatever lifestyle fad is current. Last year it was blueberries and cranberries--drinks, chocolates, yogurt, ice cream, pastries. This year, it's too soon to tell what the theme is.

We must try the new things while we can--most of them will be one-hit retail wonders. Just like the sadly missed Jet, a gin-flavoured tonic soda from summer of 1996.

These are two new sports drinks. WELL is full of vitamins and good stuff but no so full of flavor. It tastes like watered-down grapefruit without the bite.

Its claims of "heart and body maintenance" really don't hold any weight when I see the "non-calorie, non-fat" notes at the bottom of the bottle. Combine that with the polka-dotted label and we can tell this is marketed to women despite the man wearing the leotard and bathrobe in the ads on the product website.

Concept-san (Mr. Concept) gets right in your face with its experimental nature, doesn't it? It's a notch up on flavor, a fantasia of grapefruit and sweet peach nectar that's not awful as it sounds. The label design is a carefully planned "we couldn't be bothered to make this pretty, because it's just a concept" look that probably cost Asahi a huge amount of money.

In addition to the usual panoply of vitamins and minerals, Concept-san includes citrate, malate and succinate which are meaningless without more detail but sound very important.

After trying them both, the verdict. WELL: will not buy again. Concept-san: might buy if feeling whimsically pseudo-scientific.

Coming soon: new summer candies.

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