Demand for Japanese candy has grown so high in the U.S. that Hi-Chew
— a popular brand of fruit-flavored chewy candy— has decided to open a new factory in North Carolina to make its candy in the U.S.
According to RocketNews24
, Hi-Chew’s manufacturer, Morinaga, has been pushing Hi-Chew in the U.S. since about 2008, but it was still hard to acquire outside of Japanese grocery stores and Asian markets.
But when Boston Red Sox pitcher Junichi Tazawa started sharing his Hi-Chew candy with teammates, Hi-Chew became so popular among the players that in 2012 Morinaga became an official sponsor of the Boston Red Sox, and there are Hi-Chew ads all over Fenway Park.
Hi-Chew reports its U.S. sales doubled in 2013, and the candy will now be sold in Safeway stores across the U.S. With demand that big, shipping the candy all the way from Morinaga's production facilities in Taiwan started to seem silly, so the company decided it will open its first-ever U.S. production facility for Hi-Chew in North Carolina sometime next year.