Japan's new addiction: Reese's cups

Hershey is expanding globally, and Japan is already proving to be a hot market for one of its products.

By Kim Peterson Aug 22, 2012 4:35PM
Hershey (HSY) may have just struck gold in Japan. The company has never sold Reese's Peanut Butter Cups in that country until this year, and Japanese consumers are taking to them in a big way.

Previously, anyone in Japan wanting a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup had to find a way to get one from a U.S. military base, Reuters reports. That all changed when Seiyu, the Japanese arm of Wal-Mart (WMT), got an exclusive one-year deal with Hershey to sell the chocolate treat.

Now, a Seiyu spokeswoman tells Reuters that some customers claim they are addicted. In the first month, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups became the No. 1 chocolate product at Seiyu, selling 1.7 times more than the previous leader, the Kit-Kat Mini.

Adding Japan to its Reese's distribution list is part of a global expansion for Hershey, which gets about 85% of its revenue from its home country. The company wants overseas sales to contribute 20% of revenue by 2017.

Hershey already sells Reese's cups in the U.K., South Africa and Latin America, Reuters reports. There's only one ingredient difference between the peanut butter cups in the U.S. and those sold overseas: The U.S. cups contain a preservative known as TBHQ, or tertiary butylhydroquinone, while those sold overseas do not. TBHQ is not approved for use in Japan.

Hershey shares have been on fire over the last year, rising nearly 30% since November. The following video explains how Hershey has been able to stay successful even after raising its prices.

Aug 23, 2012 2:16AM
Does anybody else find it kind of scary that so many of the ingredients used for the American home market are not used in the exported products. Japan and other countries get Reese's without TBHQ, Mexico gets Coca Cola with sugar and not corn syrup..

Could it be possible that Mexico actually has higher standards for food than America, and shouldn't we as consumers be concerned with that?.
Aug 22, 2012 7:42PM
I dont like the double standard for ingrediants.
Aug 22, 2012 10:36PM
Hmmm.. why can Reese's poison the US with TBHQ, while other countries disallow it? Just further proof that we the people are being screwed by corporate bought "representatives".
Aug 22, 2012 5:54PM
Aug 23, 2012 12:34PM

 "There's only one ingredient difference between the peanut butter cups in the U.S. and those sold overseas: The U.S. cups contain a preservative known as TBHQ, or tertiary butylhydroquinone, while those sold overseas do not. TBHQ is not approved for use in Japan."


Anyone notice that????????????????????????? How come other countries refuse to eat the sh!t we are forced to eat? Europe will not take ANY food from China or Mexico, because of poor standards. BTW the next time you eat a PBC they are not made in america, they are made in Mexico. Hershey closed plants in usa to build plants in Mexico. This gave them cheaper labor and they still raised the price of their products.


If American want change and jobs. I suggest first stop buying things we do not need. This will hurt big business, who in the end own the politicians...

Aug 22, 2012 7:00PM
So can we soon anticipate the waistlines of the Japanese getting Bubbafied like Americans?
Aug 23, 2012 3:25AM

One day we will start seeing patterns of people getting cancer throughout the U.S. and it will be just like the global financial crisis. Politicians are for sale in America so the food industry lobbyists were able to make major contributions to PAC's and Super PAC's and get their industry "deregulated," which is a nice way of saying we threw out all the rules.

Sooner, why do you think other countries ban certain preservatives? Is everybody else stupid, or are they not bought off. Having been raised in another G8 country, I can tell you other countries don't allow their politicians to be exposed to tens of thousands of lobbyists, then become million dollar lobbyists themselves. Politicians in other countries are more likely to do what is right, and not what is profitable to them.

Aug 22, 2012 8:03PM
send us your pocky, well send you our reeses.
Aug 23, 2012 1:46PM

Has anyone noticed over the years that Hershey's has a waxier flavor than it used too?   Less is more I say.. Remove the tertiary butylhydroquinone period and call it good.  Why is a phenol derived additive in our food anyway? 


Aug 22, 2012 7:00PM
I've been hooked on them for years.
Aug 22, 2012 8:51PM

So is there any taste difference between what they get and what we get?

Aug 22, 2012 10:55PM
TBHQ....The pink slime of peanut butter cups.
Aug 23, 2012 2:39AM

If they satiate the Japanese advertising markets with the old 'you've got peanut butter in my chocolate / you've got chocolate in my peanut butter!' commercials, they will really increase sales!


I only wish the manufacturing jobs would stay in the recessed U.S.A. to help our economy. Alas, Hershey already has spun off jobs to Mexico; who knows where the jobs will be exported to with this new market share.  :(

Aug 23, 2012 2:52AM
Awesome! Let's make Japan fat too! Then they'll be just like us tubby Americans!
Aug 22, 2012 7:56PM
Mmmm, Reese's... I can just taste the tertiary butylhydroquinone in it.
Aug 23, 2012 7:15AM
What man can stand up to the Peanut Butter and Chocolate?
Aug 22, 2012 9:32PM
Are you kidding me?  They have been deprived all these years?  Poor things!  Heres to stepping into the 21st century!
Aug 23, 2012 2:34PM
That is a tasty choco-peanut treat.  One a day hurts no body...
Aug 23, 2012 1:26PM

I agree.  It's funny how US candy *needs* more junk additives.... Huh!  Does anyone notice how the flavor has changed over the years.  It seem it has a waxy texture/flavor to it.

Aug 23, 2012 4:08PM
There must  be a good reason why the Japanese do not want tertiary butylhydroquinone in their food. Please Hershey, take it out of our food as well. Cancer and illness are so prevalent in this country and it could be self induced by some our own food sources.
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