6 foods American brands created for foreign tastebuds

What’s the secret sauce of successful localisation? Have a look.

1. Starbucks, Hong Kong, Red Bean Frappucinos

‘Red bean’ as a flavouring is quite typical in China, and, despite our prejudices in the west, a very popular one in deserts. Starbucks’ Frappucinos were originally sold in Hong Kong, while Green Tea Frappucinos – another popular flavour – were sold on the mainland.

2. McDonald’s, France (Disneyland), Trio of pastries

Europe, time-and-time again, has been a proving ground for American companies. American commercial identifiers – like big portions, smiles and high sugar content – rub Europeans the wrong way. This mini-suite of pastries in French MacDonald’s is an attempt to replicate the style of local patisseries: a small chocolate cake, lemon cake, and macaroon, served with espresso.

3. Subway, India, Paneer Tikka Sub

According to Subway, ‘Cottage [Kurdish] cheese slices marinated with barbeque seasoning.’ East meets west.

4. Mcdonald’s, England, Bacon buttie

For American brands, even the UK required some localisation. The bacon buttie – or sarny – is inextricably English.

It just goes to show that the British have finer tastebuds than we thought.

5. Starbucks, China, Mooncake 

Similar to the bacon buttie in terms of it being a direct life of local cuisine – rather than an adaptation, like the frappucino – a mooncake is a Chinese pastry, in which you’ll usually taste a red bean jelly and a hard-boiled egg. The mooncake is eaten in Autumn to celebrate the Moon goddess of Chinese mythology.

6. Dairy Queen, China, Green Tea Blizzard

The Green Tea Blizzard is Dairy Queen’s best-selling entry in China. Dairy Queen’s CEO John Gainor said the blizzard was the result of surveying the country’s ‘taste profiles.’

Image sources 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

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