Employees from Around the World Making a Splash at Glico - An Interview with Atita, a Thai employee who is the creator of Deliche, a new rich and flavorful ice-cream for chocolate lovers
On September 28, 2015, Glico released Deliche, an ice-cream made with a new technique of the company that gives it a novel cake-like texture. In this article, we sat down and chatted with Atita, a Thai employee who was involved in the development of Deliche from start to finish, and heard the story behind the product.
In the latter half of the article, Rou, a Chinese employee, joins the conversation and the theme of the discussion shifts to their daily lives in Japan. Let’s find out what these two think of Japanese sweets.
Glico products going global! Working as an ice-cream creator
Interviewer: Atita, you are originally from Thailand, but what made you decide to work in Japan?
Atita: One of the reasons was from the advice my mother gave me when I was about to graduate from college. She said that recently there are many Japanese companies in Thailand, and that the relationship between the two countries would deepen, so working in Japan would be a good experience for me. I, myself, had been studying at a Japanese university, and wanted to make use of the knowledge and experience I had learnt there, so I started looking for work in Japan.
Interviewer: Please tell us the reason you chose Glico out of the many Japanese companies in Japan.
Atita: Firstly, it was the fact that I would be able to create and make my own products. Also, as a Thai person who can speak not only Thai, but Japanese, English and Chinese, I thought I could become a bridge connecting Japan and the world, to further popularize Glico’s products around the world. On top of that, the work environment is good and I enjoy the challenges the work offers.
Deliche – Full of new ideas
Interviewer: Now you are currently working on ice-cream development, and in charge of the recently released Deliche. Can you tell us a little bit more about it?
Atita: First of all, the naming is a combination of “delicious” and “dolche,” the Italian words for sweets. Together meaning delicious sweets. It is an ice-cream that has a rich flavor and a cake-like texture. Ideal for the autumn and winter seasons.
Interviewer: What do you mean by a “cake-like texture”?
Atita: Deliche is a product that was actually developed using a new technique of the Glico research laboratory. This technology allows the ice-cream to stay moist and soft even after being frozen, creating a cake-like texture unlike anything before. Between the vanilla ice cream and the gateau chocolate cake in this cup, there is a cocoa cookie added for a more satisfying texture in this 3-layered ice cream. At a cafe, when you have a gateau chocolat cake, you usually have it with ice-cream or whipped cream, right? Deliche was designed to allow customers to enjoy this combination of rich sweetness and lightness easily in one hand.
Interviewer: I see. So Deliche is the first product to use this new technique! Could you tell us how the product development was carried out in more detail?
Atita: First of all, we received the task of looking into how we could utilize the new technology from the research laboratory. This project really started from scratch. Next, we gathered data on the types of ice-cream that tends to sell well in autumn, and then went on to plan the project and create the actual form of the product. What type of packaging should we use? What ratio of flavors gives the best balance? My 5-member team and myself worked together with the research laboratory, manufacturing department, and technique development department looking into these and other questions.
Interviewer: It must have been difficult, as it is the first time the technique has been used.
Atita: Yes, it was. Finding the balance of the flavor was particularly difficult. In order to find the right balance of the cake and ice-cream, we had all sorts of people try the product, and repeated the brush-up cycle countless times. In addition, as we were utilizing a new technique, there were lots of difficulties on the manufacturing side, particularly with the communication, as there were a lot of terms related to manufacturing that were very difficult to understand. But despite all these difficulties, after a year and a half of development, we finally managed to complete Deliche!
Interview: How did you feel when you finally finished it?
Atita: It was a very satisfying feeling of achievement! At the same time, I felt like I want to continue to make a whole range of Deliche products. Oh, please feel free to try some!
Interviewer: It's a texture unlike anything I have had before. A mild sweetness, and a very satisfying texture.
Atita: With its moist and the unique soft cookies texture and rich vanilla ice cream, Deliche is a very luxurious dessert for adults. Our target is people in their 30s and 40s. We wanted to create a product that people would enjoy as a reward to themselves after a long tough day at work or when they want to relax.
[Extra] Do people who make sweets really like sweets?
Interviewer: Here, we would like to invite Rou-san to join our discussion and hear about the daily lives of people involved in sweet-making.
Interviewer: Is the reason you are involved in sweet making because you both like sweets?
Atita: I like them very much. Actually, in Thailand I often eat Pocky when I was a child and I still enjoy it very much. My sister and I used to compete to see who could eat Pocky the fastest, so for me, Glico’s Pocky is a snack full of the many childhood memories.
Rou: In my case, I started eating sweets after joining Glico and coming to Japan. When I was young, I didn’t especially like sweets, but Pocky and PRETZ were the snacks that I always take with me on school trips in elementary and junior high school, so I have lots of memories about them as well.
Interviewer: So for both of you, Japanese Pocky and PRETZ were snacks you are both familiar with in Thailand and China from when you were young. Are there any differences between sweets from Japan and your own countries?
Atita: In Thailand, we often eat tropical fruits as sweets. There aren’t many sweets made with lots of sugar, like Japanese wagashi sweets.
Rou: In China, we also have a lot of salty sweets, for example sunflower seeds which we eat like snacks. But even so, I was surprised at the variety of sweets in Japan when I first arrived.
Atita: That’s for sure! I think there really is a lot of variation in the sweets in Japan. I also see a lot of products combining different types of sweets, such as chocolate and biscuit.
Rou: As well as the variation, when I first started working at Glico, I was impressed at the attention to detail that goes into things like the flavor, the packaging, and the concept.
Interviewer: So that’s how Japanese sweets are seen outside of Japan. On a different topic, are you both close outside of work?
Atita: Yes. On our days off, we often go out and try new sweets together.
Rou: Atita is my senior, so as a foreigner living in Japan, there are many things we have in common. We have been friends since I joined the company last year.
Interviewer: You both look like you get along well! What sweets did you have together?
Atita: We went out to enjoy some tart. As a person from a country with lots of tropical fruits, I love tarts with lots of fruit.
Rou: Now that you mentioned it, going out to eat cake was how we became friends in the first place.
Atita: Rou works very hard, and always supports me even though it was me who asked her about work, regardless of the senior and junior relationship. Outside of work, we enjoy having fun together, and I think we have a good relationship supporting each other.
From the perspective of the two foreign employees,
It looks as though Japanese sweets and confectionary have left a strong impression on these two.
*Deliche is only available in Japan