Friday, May 4, 2012

Lotte Freba (Product Info.)

Image acquired from Lotte's web site

One of the things I'm finding now that I'm back home is that I don't know how to pronounce product names in the way in which people here pronounce them. If it was introduced in the last 20 years, there's a good chance that I'll embarrass myself by saying it wrong and getting a funny look from one of the natives who have had the luxury of parking their asses in front of American T.V. and watching commercials that blare out the proper pronunciation again and again. Knowing that creatine is pronounced "kree-at-in" and not "kree-ah-teen" is something I learned in the last week or so. What can I say, muscle-building supplements weren't big on the market when I lived here last.

On the other hand, one of the linguistic skills (of absolutely zero value) that I acquired in Japan was the ability to extrapolate the meaning of mangled English to its most likely original meaning. That is what leads us to this product. I wonder what most people who don't read or speak Japanese think is the the pronunciation of the product name. I would guess that most would believe it is "free-bah" as it rhymes with "Reba" (as in "Reba McIntyre", a country singer who I never listen to but looks spunky). In Japan, this is "foo-ray-bah", which is almost certainly their version of "flavor".

Image also taken from Lotte's site

The gimmick for these pretzels rods with almonds is that there are flavor particles (otherwise known by the civilized world as "dried spices" including salt) at the bottom of the bag which you can shake to coat the foodstuffs therein. You can shake more to give the snacks within a thicker coating for a stronger flavor or you can shake less to create a milder flavor. Of course, unless the pretzels are coated with something sticky, chances are most of the spices are going to remain in the bottom of the bag. This has to work on the same principle as popcorn, which the salt will not stick to unless you coat it with lashings of melted fat or fat-like substances.

You may notice the words "furu" on the advertising and instructions. That means "shake" (it also means "fall", but I'm guessing this isn't about dropping the bag). "Otsumami" means snacks to be consumed with beverages, and usually booze. The available flavors are spicy curry, salt and pepper, and wasabi. My guess is that these are positioned to compete with Glico's Cratz, which are also bits of pretzel with almond. The main difference is that Freba is supposed to give you a choice about how intense the flavor will be and Glico is just going to dictate how much spice comes on your salted snack treat like some demented pretzel storm trooper. 

If I were in Japan, I'll be honest, I wouldn't buy these for several reasons, though I would at least be tempted by the wasabi version. The main reason is that I'd lack confidence that the spice would stick to the pretzels, but also, I was hugely satisfied with Cratz and this is essentially the same product type. I also like super strong flavors on salted snacks and am perfectly happy to have Big Brother Glico decide what level of intensity is right for me. 

If you like to watch video of snack foods flying in the air with bits of spice and attractive women eating pretzels, you can see the commercial for Freba on Lotte's commercial gallery web site. At present, it's the one in the lower right hand corner (though it'll probably move in the rotation through time). 


Hirayuki said...

Plus "fureba" is an if/when form of "furu", which is a nice pun to work into everything here.

Hope you're enjoying things Stateside so far! Thanks for keeping up the blogs.

Orchid64 said...

Thanks, Hirayuki! I completely missed the pun. :-)

paperjellyfish said...

I've always said "kree-uh-teen," but that's based on my chemistry and biology experience. Maybe it's different in the world of body building.

Rodzilla said...

creatine seems to be "tomato-tomahto" type deal. And I haven't come across too many commercials with that mention it...then again I'm not one of these natives that have been parking my ass in front of American TV. I prefer the computer for leisure activity :D

Orchid64 said...

Me, too, Rodzilla! There isn't working T.V. reception where I am now anyway. ;-) I have no T.V. to park in front of!