Family Mart Mystery Stink Caused by New ‘Cheese Nugget’

The storefront of the major Japanese convenience store chain, Family Mart

Recently netizens have been in uproar about a strong smell coming from ‘Family Mart’ stores across Japan. After floods of complaints from customers of the major Japanese convenience store chain, the company revealed that the smell was coming from their latest product, the ‘cheese nugget’.

The stench of the ‘cheese nugget’, which had been likened to ‘vomit’ and ‘human by-products’, went viral long before netizens realised that the taste was actually not all that bad. Below is a translation of the article that explains the entire misunderstanding, along with netizen comments from Twitter and Yahoo!News.

From Yahoo!News:

What is the Ruckus about the ‘Family Mart’ Mystery ‘Stink’? The Lowdown on the New Product that Made Stores Leave Entrances and Exits Wide Open

There has been an online uproar with netizens saying that there is a ‘nasty smell’ in branches of the major convenience store chain ‘Family Mart’. This information has come from all over Japan, and in branches where customers have complained, the entrances and exits to the stores have been left open under the cold winter sky.

The cause is apparently the new ‘cheese nugget’ that went on sale ov November 13, that customers have said ‘stinks’. The smell in the shop is particularly pungent when the nuggets are being cooked in oil.

■ ‘Now, all we’re being told is it stinks, it stinks.’

At around 4pm on November 16 2012, I went to a ‘Family Mart’ in Chiyoda district, Tokyo. Despite the season, when it gets chilly at night, for some reason all entrances and exits were wide open, and the temperature in the store was not very different from the temperature outside. When I asked the store clerk the reason for this, I was told that it was ‘the cheese nuggets’.

A Twitter user uploads a picture of the offending 'cheese nugget'

A Twitter user uploads a picture of the offending ‘cheese nugget’

‘We rarely receive complaints, but now all we’re being told is it stinks, it stinks. In particular, when they’ve just been cooked and put out, the smell fills the store, so we leave the doors open to allow the air to circulate’, the clerk explained. Still, they were selling well.

The ruckus over the Family Mart stink began on Twitter and internet message boards immediately after the ‘cheese nugget’ went on sale. At first, there were also murmurings that it might be ‘ginko’ for example, because no one knew what the smell was. There were also those who imagined that the smell might be human waste products, and there were some messages that said people were hesitant to go to the stores. Once people knew that the smell was the ‘cheese nuggets’, relief spread, but now people are posting in sympathy for ‘the poor store clerks who are in there all day’.

■ In fact, the ‘Cheese Nuggets’ Are a Hit, With Everyone Rushing to Buy.

According to a Family Mart press-release, these ‘cheese nuggets’ are a juicy nugget in which chicken breast, thighs and skin are used, mixed with a ‘richly-flavoured cheddar cheese’. One piece costs 130 yen ($1.60), and is relatively large for a nugget.

When I asked Family Mart public relations about the story, they explained that there had been complaints about the smell. They revealed that it must be because some customers dislike cheese. Still, ‘Despite the smell, those customers who have kindly bought and eaten the nuggets have deemed them to be delicious, and they are selling very well.’ It seems that they want to quickly build on the momentum of a line-up of hit products.

Comments from Twitter:


I went specifically to smell them (笑) People who like cheese will be fine but it’s a full-on smell.


I stopped by before work, but I never thought it would smell like that…I knew what the cause of the smell was because of this article, but if someone didn’t know I don’t think they’d go near there.


That’s what it was! (ノД`) I was sure it was human waste…(;´Д`A Do your best, store clerks!ヽ(;▽;)ノ


I didn’t know anything about this, and I bought them from a Family Mart in south Nagasaki, and ate them, and I thought that they were as delicious as usual.

Naoki Wada:

This is bizarre. Weren’t there any signs when they were testing the product?


I thought that there was a funny smell in Family Mart recently, and it turned out to be this( ³ o ³ )


I’ve been to Family Mart several times recently, but was there really a bad smell…w


When I just went there, I suspected that the rotting smell was because they hadn’t been cleaning properly. I was wrong — sorry.

kenta sakamoto:

I went to Family Mart to check when I was on my way home, and it did smell. But the nuggets had sold out. Seeing as I like cheese, I wanted to try them!

海老原 治:

Ah, so that was it. I thought someone was puking in the bathroom.

Comments from Yahoo!News

JPN as No.1(jpn…)さん:

I guess they’re not using a good cheese.


When I went to Family Mart for the first time in a while today, it smelled of shit. Was the cause the cheese nuggets? They have to stop selling them or they’re going to lose business.


Is this…
Family Mart…
Stealth marketing?


I mean, convenience stores everywhere smell strange because of the oden and weird fried things that they sell.


It really smelled. Oh, and also, it’s ‘poor’ not ‘pure’. [The netizen is referring to using the wrong kanji for kawaisou; the incorrect kanji mean ‘it seems cute’ and the correct kanji mean ‘pitiful’]


It really did stink, I thought that a homeless person had come to the shop.


Since when did convenience stores become restaurants? Oden and stuff just seems so unhygienic I’ve never felt like eating it. There are some people who order what they want by basically sticking their fingers in and stuff.


This is bad. I’ll be disappointed if I don’t get to try them at least once before they stop selling them….Σ(゚д゚lll)


They’re probably tasty because they stink


Ah, so that’s why it was so smelly…That was cheese? I just thought it was a bad smell, but after I bought them there was a hair in the batter. The onigiri that they made in conjunction with SNS were also really disgusting…I won’t go there any more.


In Kokoichi curry stores there were some twats having curry with a natto topping and it majorly stunk. I wanted to kill them. I mean, going out of your way to put fermented soy beans on curry, idiots! Take it off the menu!


Ummm…so I guess that vomit stench was because of this…When I went today it didn’t smell anymore though wwww

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