On 30th of March this year, new fashionable shopping/business/leisure district Tokyo Midtown opens in Roppongi, Tokyo (it’s situated in the old Self-Defense Force Agency Headquarters location between Roppongi and Akasaka).
I browsed through the list of shops which are to open in the complex, and one of them was, to my big surprise, Noka Chocolate. If you haven’t lived under a rock without Internet-access for the last few months you would know that this is a Texas-based chocolate company who produces ridiculously over-priced chocolates with, if you believe their critics, little to no value added to the original chocolate bars they buy from France.
You can read the whole expose on Noka Chocolate here: Dallas Food expose on Noka Chocolate
and there are various of other sites commenting on this:
Slash Food, Boing Boing, Crunchgear
So, the “the world’s most expensive chocolate” is coming to Japan. It’s been here before, temporarily, as part of various department stores’ Valentine’s Day specials (for instance at Mitsukoshi), but now they are also opening up shop permanently. I did a quick search in Japanese for ノカ チョコレート (Noka Chocolate) and did not get any relevant hits commenting on the recent news, but only links to where you can buy it, and some reviews: Enjoytokyo reviews Noka Chocolate (To sum up this review, the reviewer was impressed by the luxurious packaging, the high price and a deep, dark, bitter taste.)
Unfortunately, I think the Japanese will flock to this new store and happily line up to get a piece of the exclusive goodness which they promise their customers. The brand image is extremely attractive for the Japanese market, it has a definate “high end” and “exclusive” air to it; which Japanese will literally eat up (pun intended). Secondly, the price. The price will probably be ridiculously high, as it is in the US as well. I think they will manage to squeeze out another few 100% mark-up just for the Japanese market – and if there is anything that Japanese consumers are suckers for, it is exclusive brands which are highly priced.
“Price = Quality” in the minds of many Japanese shoppers which plays right into the business plan of Noka…
Of course, I have nothing personally against Noka – if their business works and they make money from it, fine – but I do not approve of shady business practices where companies are not honest about what they do and do not do.