I read a very interesting article on MSNBC the other day about how U.S. companies have adapted to the tastes of overseas markets. For example, did you know that Russians love Lay's potato chips? They love them dusted in caviar flakes and crab flavoring more than anything. How about All Bran cereal...you probably like it in a bowl with some milk, right? Well, in Spain, they put it in their coffee. Yuck.
Oreos is the best selling cookie in the U.S. You would think EVERYBODY would love Oreos just the way they are...but no. In China, Oreos were introduced in 1996 and the sales were unspectacular. So Kraft/Nabisco decided to adapt. Chinese tastes were different. They liked their cookies smaller and less sweet than here in the U.S. So they introduced Oreos in wafer form and consumers in China liked it. Next, when sales during the summer lagged, Kraft tried a Green Tea Ice Cream flavored Oreo which really took off. Next came Oreos with different fruit fillings, after research showed that the Chinese preferred the fruit flavor over the traditional creme filled Oreo. The results after all of the different changes were very good. So good, in fact, that Oreos is now the best selling cookie in China. Granted, it's not the Oreo cookie that we have here, but it's a great example of a U.S. company adapting and succeeding in a foreign market.
[photo from mihoda @ flickr.com]