If you haven’t heard about Honey Butter Chips then you are seriously missing out. It’s advertised as made from “sweet, sweet honey from beehives” and “gourmet butter” from France by confectionery company Haitai. They were first introduced to Japan in 2012, but the demand was so low that they were only sold during a limited time frame. When Haitai decided to bring the chips over to South Korea in the summer of 2014, nobody expected them to blow up to the extent that it did.
So what exactly was it about the Honey Butter Chips that drove the country to such a frenzy? Well, honey was considered as an exclusive ingredient that was only served to royalty and the upper class during the Joseon Dynasty. It is assumed that this royal status of honey has been transferred throughout the generations to the 21st century. Honey was not available at the store as it is today. Today, a dessert made of honey called Dragon’s Beard Candy was originally served to only the king.
The rise in popularity of the Honey Butter Chips was facilitated through the use of social media. In the span of a few months convenience stores were putting up signs that read “Honey Butter Chips, sold out” and even limited purchases to 1 bag per person. Because these chips were impossible to find during this craze, some were found to be selling online for $50! Suddenly a black market had sprung up and people were buying from it. After seeing this exponential growth of popularity in South Korea, Haitai had to have the production lines running around-the-clock. Fast-forward to 2018; these chips are still popular but are no longer a craze that has people scurrying around trying to buy them. The company is now producing special flavours like Canadian maple syrup and much more.
Written by Kristina Marchenko