Coming up with new ways to make your business stand out to tourists is no easy task. A good marketing tool to use is offering customers free ice cream, which is what one small village in Japan’s Fukushima Prefecture is doing. The catch? The ice cream is their signature ultra-spicy habanero-laced ice cream.
Hirata Village decided to up its game by sprinkling soft-serve ice cream with hot habanero pepper power, all depending on the person’s spiciness tolerance of course. This may seem like a fun moment to share on social media but the ice cream is no joke. People actually need to sign a waiver before they’re able to try it.
The interesting story of how this habanero ice cream came to be can be traced back to the Fukushima nuclear disaster back in 2011. A tsunami hit the region hard and made it extremely difficult to trust produce coming from the area after fears of radiation fallout were widespread.
A group of three local farmers wanted to drop the sigma and came up with a way for their little habanero peppers to thrive in the market. In 2015, they came up with the idea of using the spicy veggie as a soft-serve ice cream ingredient.
Making the habanero ice cream is a difficult process, which involves workers wearing gloves, masks and goggles as they sprinkle the pepper powder onto the sweet treat. Their most extreme flavor, hellish spiciness, comes with a reward for anyone brave enough to order it: the ice cream is free if you’re able to finish it. That’s about $3.80 worth of savings that could be in your pocket.
This trendy new challenge is sort of like Japan’s own version of the cinnamon challenge but with a sweet treat and a bit of a burn to round out the flavor profile.