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|Japanese snack food|
|Japanese name||ハイチュウ (haichū)|
|Maker||Morinaga & Company|
|Ingredients||Chewy Candy (Taffy)|
Hi-Chew (ハイチュウ Haichū) is a Japanese fruit chew sold by Morinaga & Company.
This soft chewy candy was first released in 1975. It was re-released in its current shape (a stick of several individually wrapped candies) in February 1996.
The origins of Hi-chew began when Taichiro Morinaga sought to create an edible kind of chewing gum that could be swallowed because of the Japanese cultural taboo against taking food out of one's mouth. Morinaga already produced caramel. By combining his chewy caramel with strawberry flavoring, Morinaga was able to create his new candy called Chewlets in 1931. Morinaga, whose business was hampered immensely by World War II, had to rebuild his company from scratch, again, and Chewlets were reintroduced in the form in which they are known today.
Hi-Chew candies are individually wrapped in logo-stamped foil or plain white wax paper (depending on the localization). Each individual candy piece consists of an outer white coating (this is the same for most flavors) and a colored, flavored interior. The exceptions to this rule are the Strawberry Cheesecake, Yogurt, Honey Sriracha, and Cotton Candy flavors, which have an outer colored coating with a white, flavored inside, whereas the Cola flavored Hi-chews are brown colored. The texture is similar to a cross between chewing gum and fruit-flavored candies in the United States such as Laffy Taffy or Starburst, similar to the long discontinued Bonkers. Hi-Chew can be found widely in shops in Taiwan, Shanghai, Singapore, and Hong Kong. Specialist shops in other countries also stock this product, including most places in the United States, Cost Plus World Market locations, and also many import stores. In Walt Disney World's Epcot in Florida, Hi-Chew can be also found sold in a smaller package and translated into English. Special editions are sometimes released. Hi-Chew's ingredients include: Glucose syrup, Sugar, Hydrogenated Palm Kernel Oil, Gelatin (derived from pork), Natural and Artificial Flavors, Strawberry juice from concentrate, DL-Malic Acid, Citric Acid, Emulsifiers, Sodium lactate Solution, and Natural colors (Beta-Carotene, Carmine). Hi-Chew is not kosher, halal, or vegetarian. Hi-Chew may contain soybeans. Product could also be processed in facilities with dairy products.
As the main ingredients are glycogen and palm kernel oil, it is relatively simple to remove if it becomes stuck on clothing. By applying a warm, wet towel, the candy will soften and wash off.
In the United States
Hi-Chew is available in nine flavors in the United States: Strawberry, Green Apple, Mango, Grape, Peach, Banana, Melon, Cherry, and Kiwi. Hi-Chew Sours and Hi-Chew Bites were released in February 2016 . Hi-Chew Sours are the sour version of the original stick and is being offered in lemon, lime, and grapefruit flavors. Hi-Chew Bites are soft chew candy blended with already established flavors, being offered in "grape and strawberry" and "mango and orange". Since its inception, over 131 flavors have been created. In the case that it cannot be found in stores, Hi-Chew can readily be found online for purchase. Currently, stores in the United States that carry Hi-Chew are primarily clustered on the West and East Coasts. A recent development with Hi-Chew is that it has become a gluten-free product. Though Hi-Chew itself never actually contained gluten ingredients, it is now produced in facilities that do not process other gluten containing products. However, this is only true for products that have a "Best by" date in 2012 or later. Though Hi-Chew is gluten free, it does contain gelatin ingredients derived from pork, and it is not halal, kosher, or vegetarian.
Morinaga's American branch donated Hi-Chew in support of athletic programs in northern Utah and Los Angeles. Hi-Chew was donated to help fund raise for soccer and football programs in northern Utah high schools as well as football programs in Los Angeles county high schools. Morinaga donated a total of 7000 Hi-Chew sticks to the schools, with about 500 sticks going to each high school.
In 2008, Morinaga recalled some of its Hi-Chew products due to complaints that rubber-like material had been found in the candy. The source of this turned out to have come from a piece of a worker's glove that had fallen into the cooking vat in the Hyogo Morinaga factory. The green apple and grape flavored varieties of Hi-chew that had a 2009 expiration date were recalled. Some of the affected products also had been exported to Hong Kong, where the Centre for Food Safety monitored the situation and warned the public against its purchase or consumption.
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