If you don’t like the watery texture of water, you may want to try to keep yourself hydrated with some water jelly, a new hit summer product from Japan.
I’m too old to spend time on TikTok, but every once in a while I deep dive down a rabbit hole only to find the craziest things imaginable. The latest such experience lead me to a short clip of someone buying a bottle of water from a Japanese vending machine. Only the water doesn’t flow as you’d expect; instead, it comes out as jelly, which apparently makes sense, since it’s something called water jelly. You can drink it right out of the bottle, eat it with a spoon, or top it with fruit and enjoy it as a refreshing treat.
Except for the above-mentioned TikTok video, there isn’t too much information on water jelly online, at least outside of Japan. Luckily, we have Google Translate, and even though it always struggles with Japanese, it did help me find some info on this intriguing product.
Apparently, water jelly is one of the hottest drinks in Japan right now. According to a PR Times press release, it was launched last year and ended up being a huge summer hit, selling 2.8 times better than the producer – a company called JR East Cross Station Water Business Company – expected.
Although its clear color and misleading name – From AQUA Water Jelly – makes it seem like it’s just water in jelly form, this is actually a flavored product, with the most popular flavor available being ramune. It apparently has a caloric content of 55 calories per 100 ml, which is surprisingly high, considering 100 ml of Coca Cola contains only 37.5 calories.
From Aqua water jelly has to be chilled to achieve its gelatinous texture, but you can also freeze it if you want to consume it as a sorbet.
Although some commenters on TikTok argued that water jelly makes it easier for the elderly and people with swallowing difficulties to stay hydrated, because it slows down the flow rate, market data shows that the product is most popular with consumers between the ages of 30 and 50.
Following last year’s successful launch, the maker of water jelly has already increased production to keep up with demand, and also introduced a larger 515-gram bottle. Unfortunately, water jelly is currently only available in Japan.
If you like clear jelly treats, check out another Japanese favorite – the water cake.