The story of Want-Want could best be described as a story of "patience".
Once upon a time, Want-Want was known as I Lan Foods, a Taiwanese canned food manufacturer founded in the 1960s. When Tsai Eng-Meng, the son of the founder, took over the company in the 1970s, I Lan Foods began to take on a new direction.
One day, Tsai Eng-Meng came up with a great idea that would change I Lan Foods forever – "Senbei", a word that means Japanese Rice Cracker. Tsai knew exactly who had the perfect formula to create the ultimate Senbei snack - Iwatsuka Confectionery Company.
Tsai started off by sending out 50 letters to Iwatsuka Confectionery. Unfortunately, none of the replies were positive. However Tsai didn't give up so easily. He later decided to personally visit the Iwatsuka office. After stopping by the office many times, Tsai finally impressed Keisaku Maki, the president of Iwatsuka Confectionery. Thus began dialogue between I Lan Foods and Iwatsuka.
In 1983, I Lan food and Iwatsuka officially began their collaboration in creating the ultimate Senbei. Wan-Want’s signature Senbei Rice Cracker, and Shelly Senbei Rice Cracker was born and the rest was history.
As for the name “旺旺” (Want-Want), it came to Tsai one morning as he thought the name was easy to remember. He felt there's a connection between “旺旺” and the English phrase ”one by one”. From that piece of thought, he envisioned his customer will munch on pieces of Want-Want Senbei one after another non stop.
Tsai then went to the Temple of the Eighteen Lords to predict fortune. He discovered a dog worshipping inside. As if he received a divine message from heaven, Tsai proclaimed with great excitement that the barking of the dog was “Want Want”. In mandarin, the sound of dog barks are very similar to the pronunciation of “Wan-旺”, a Chinese character that represents prosperity.
With such inspiration, Tsai evolved I Land Foods into one of the world's most renowned brands know as Want-Want.
In 1987, Tsai & I Lan Food officially registered "Want-Want" as the main brand and began the quest to spread the culture of Senbei and Asian snacks to the rest of the world.