Taste the rainbow… You know, because rainbows are optical illusions that don’t have a taste.

It seems like Japan has done it all when it comes to simulating the flavor of one food in another food. Over the years we’ve seen spaghetti-flavored ice pops and sake-flavored Kit Kat bars. It’s gotten to the point where it seems as though it’s all been done before and products are now moving into avant-garde creations like instant-yaki-soba-flavored instant yakisoba.

And now, we have candy that tastes like nothing.

Aji no Shinai? Ame (Tasteless? Candy) is a candy sold exclusively through Lawson convenience stores and offers all the satisfaction of eating a candy without the sweetness, sourness, mintiness, or anything at all that might taste like a candy. Instead, you get a general absence of taste.

Or so they say, but is it really possible to make a food that is totally without taste? Even inorganic substances like metals that aren’t supposed to have a flavor tend to pick one up from the chemicals and oils that adhere to their surface. The question mark in the name would also suggest that they didn’t completely wipe out the flavor, but how close did they come? To find out, our reporter Tasuku Egawa headed out to a Lawson store to try some.

One bag costs 189 yen (US$1.29) and contains seven pieces of candy. According to the ingredients, they’re only made of two things: synthetic sugar substitute polydextrose and organic sugar substitute erythritol.

Tasuku popped one in his mouth and was surprised by how much they were able to reduce the flavor. However, there was a noticeable, albeit extremely weak, taste like very watered-down sports drink. He ranked the sweetness as a little more than white rice, but a little less sweet than raw egg.

As the candy dissolved and he chewed it a little more the sweetness became more pronounced, but it never got to the point where the smell of candy emanated from his mouth. He thought that might come in handy in close-quarter situations like crowded trains where he wouldn’t have to worry about bothering everyone with his candy breath.

These candies are a part of Lawson’s Test Product Election. From 25 October to 7 November seven test products by seven companies will be sold and customers are encouraged to vote for their favorite. The three items that receive the most votes will become full-time Lawson products.

In addition to the flavor-free candy, there’s a sports-drink-flavored alcopop, a cocktail made of awamori distilled liquor and lemon, chu-hi with protein powder mixed in, cafe latte in a microwaveable cup, Korean-garlic-bread-flavored instant ramen, and garlic-and-mayo-flavored potato chips.

Image: Lawson

It’s a fairly enticing lineup overall, which might make you wonder who would vote for flavorless candy. However, it was created for a reason and according to customer feedback, people wanted a flavorless candy simply to keep their mouths and throats from drying out without having to consume undesired sugar. Also, with mask-wearing still in vogue, you don’t have to worry about getting a blast of mint in your eyes or a murky sweetness lingering around your mouth.

So this election is still anyone’s race. Make sure you try these test products out and vote for your favorite because as they say, every convenience store fan base gets the products it deserves.

Source: Lawson via Netlab
Top image: Lawson
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