Hello Panda is a delicious brand of Japanese shortbread cookies manufactured by the Meiji Seika corporation. Each bite-size snack is a sugar cookie filled with either sweet milk cream, smooth strawberry spread or decadent chocolate filling; the chocolate is the most common variety. Printed on these delicate biscuits are cartoons of cuddly pandas, and printed on the cardboard package are pictures of smiling mammals.
2008: The HP cookie mysteriously degenerates into mainstream Koala
The Koala Yummies box is garish green. Koala Yummies are manufactured by the Lotte corporation and have been poorly translated to the United States. These crusty biscuits are hardened to a violent X shape and filled with either a grainy strawberry, chocolate or white chocolate cream. In 2008, this cream was found to carry a dangerous amount of melamine, an organic product illegally added to increase protein content. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, melamine can “cause cancer or reproductive damage. (It is an) eye, skin and respiratory irritant.”
Koala Yummies were recalled in Macau and Hong Kong. But they are marketed toward children and can be purchased at the Target store located on Third Street in Bloomington, Ind.
Meanwhile, the Hello Panda trade snacks are nowhere to be found.
The disappearance of Hello Panda snacks began in 2008, when most Sanrio boutique stores closed their doors for good. Sanrio, a retailer specializing in Japanese manufactured products, was the most common carrier of Hello Panda cookies. The closure of this international boutique brought winter for the adorable Hello Panda corporation; American availability was drastically cut.
Now, three years later, Hello Panda snacks can only be purchased online or at “select Walmart retailers.” Japan has reintroduced Hello Panda cookies to the U.S. market (turning a harsh winter to a slow spring) but, for the Hello Panda corporation, a cold frost remains.
Hello Panda can’t compete with the cartel Koala Yummies has created. Koala Yummies can be purchased in Target’s dollar section (priced to reflect Bloomington’s major student population). Shoppers with a Target REDcard can receive an extra 5 percent discount on this brand.
Meanwhile, shipping costs extra for Hello Panda products off amazon.com.
Hello Panda needs to be saved. As a town with a large international influence, Bloomington is the community to do it.
In 2008, Panda Express opened on Kirkwood Avenue. This chain restaurant served spicy kung pao but also worked to raise awareness about Hello Panda oppression. They opened the same year as the Hello Panda Empire fell.
Now, with continued support from Bloomington residents, the Hello Panda kingdom can rise again. These savory snacks are available online.
If the “invisible hand” of our Hoosier community demands it, these savory cookies will be reintroduced to the Indiana market (barring a direct attack from the Koala Yummies mafia), according to economist/Hello Panda connoisseur Adam Smith.
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