Aimed to please tomato lovers, but what about yoghurt lovers?

Japan isn’t scared to explore new and unexpected flavour combinations when creating limited-edition products — we’re looking at you strawberry chocolate shrimp chips — but is there a point where a line should be drawn for the sake of everyone’s taste buds?

“No”, says Japanese dairy specialist Morinaga, who’s decided to push the boundaries of customers’ tastes with a new product called “Delicious Tomato Yoghurt“.

Morinaga was so confident in this new flavour creation that they forged ahead with it, even after a survey asking “Would you like to try tomato yoghurt?” was slammed by survey respondents.

▼ The suggestion of tomato yoghurt was met with “大酷評” (“a huge amount of severe criticism”).

To a lot of our overseas readers, yoghurt and tomatoes may not seem as weird a combination as, say, yoghurt and cherry blossoms, but here in Japan tomatoes belong firmly in salads and pasta sauces. This is probably why the new yoghurt has divided opinions in Japan, with some saying it should be stopped at all costs and others calling it a dream offering. Still, when our Japanese-language team caught wind of the new yoghurt, they were keen to expand their horizons and give it a try.

Ikuna Kamezawa was the first of our reporters to get a taste of yoghurt-smothered tomatoes, and as soon as she peeled back the lid she could see a few red pieces poking out to greet her.

▼ Tentatively, she brought a mouthful to her lips…

▼ And delivered a dollop of the mixture to her tongue.

Ikuna was surprised at how strong the aroma of tomatoes was, even before the yoghurt hit her taste buds. As someone who doesn’t mind tomatoes but can’t stand tomato juice, she wasn’t sure what to expect from tomato yoghurt, but after taking a taste, it was nothing like she’d imagined. It was strangely good. She took another mouthful to check, and sure enough, it was delicious!

Worried that her taste buds might be deceiving her in some way, she quickly handed a tub to fellow reporter Go Hatori for a second opinion. Like Ikuna, he likes tomatoes but hates tomato juice, so he was equally unsure about how he would react to tomato yoghurt.

He also commented on the strong tomato scent, and after swallowing a mouthful, he thought for a moment and said, “Huh, what about that? It’s delicious! Isn’t this popular? Even people who hate tomatoes would like this.”

Morinaga isn’t quite so sure about that, as they’ve specifically designed the yoghurt to be an affront to tomato haters. Their way of thinking is the more tomato haters hate the product, the more tomato lovers will love it.

So for those who dislike tomatoes for their taste, they’ve added real tomato chunks that don’t hold back on flavour. To the naysayers who dislike the texture of raw tomatoes, Morinaga has made sure to retain the pulp-like texture in the yoghurt, and since some don’t like the scent, Morinaga has sought to make the unique aroma really pronounced in the new product.

Our final reporter to try the product was Yuuichiro Wasai, who also likes tomatoes but not their juice.

He gave it the thumbs up, saying he liked the texture of the tomatoes, which are kind of like the aloe jelly bits inside aloe yoghurt, which is a mainstay on supermarket shelves in Japan.

It’s a bold move for a company to give the finger to tomato haters and purposefully exclude them by filling their yoghurt tubs with everything they hate. And they’re not fooling around with the tomato pieces either, as they’re thick and juicy, not finely cut like the ones you find in other fruit yoghurts.

Morinaga’s new commercial for the product shows tomato haters screwing up their faces at the new yoghurt, while one tomato lover sings its praises at the end.

It’s clear that if you love tomatoes, you’ll love this new yoghurt, but if you don’t like tomatoes, you’ll probably want to steer clear of it.

Kind of like how egg lovers ought to stay six feet away from the egg-omelette Garigari-kun ice popsicle.

Photos © SoraNews24
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[ Read in Japanese ]