Tapioca soft drinks have long been a big seller in Taiwan. Now, they're a fast-growing favorite among young people in Japan.
Taiwanese companies are keeping a close eye on this trend, aiming for a bigger market share. About 20 of them pitched their products at an event in Fukuoka hosted by a Taiwanese trade organization.
Tapioca is loved for its soft, chewy texture, but getting it to that state can take up to 90 minutes of boiling. One Taiwanese firm is selling an instant tapioca that is ready to add to a drink after only one minute of boiling. Other companies are offering tapioca in a variety of colors, as well as some containing collagen.
Japanese imports of tapioca surged in the first seven months of this year to four-and-a-half times the volume of the same period last year.