Tag Archives: Kit Kat

Manufactured Luck: KitKat in Japan

For those people who follow the candy industry, the tale of the popularity of KitKats in Japan is a fairly well known phenomenon. The basic story goes like this:

  • KitKat sounds roughly like the Japanese phrase “kitto katsu”
  • “kitto Katsu” is apparently a phrase that students tell each other prior to exams.
  • Parents, who want to wish their children well during exam times, purchase KitKats for the kids as a form of “good luck” charm.
  • Nestle, noticing the trend of upward sales around the national exams, ensures new flavors are available around these times.
  • Profits galore for Nestle!!

It’s a nice little story that has been mentioned repeatedly over the internet . It is completely believable and quite possibly…not true.

AlphaMale has his own version of the story:

Year 1: Hotels in Tokyo began giving complementary KitKat bars to students who came to the city by the thousands to take the fiercely competitive university entrance exams. The KitKat was presented as a little “lucky charm”. Students were surprised and touched. They didn’t know the candy giveaway was sponsored by the manufacturer.

Year 2: The advertising agency behind this stealth campaign wangled some news stories (not ads) about the hotels’ candy giveaway. The reason for the stealth: Japanese young people are suspicious and scornful of advertising.

Year 3: Some ads began to appear. They didn’t look like ads. They were cute little stories about teachers, mothers, students and the lucky charm. The ads were fiction, but real Japanese moms began packing KitKats for their kids when they left home to take the exams.

While the author of the post offers no links to help reference the above actions, the marketing process is entirely plausible (and probable, in my opinion).

Technorati Tags: KitKats, Japan, Marketing

KitKat Follow Up

A few weeks back, I posted about the differences between the KitKat bars in the United States (made by Hersheys) as compared to those found in Canada (made by Nestle). In that post, I mentioned the fact that Nestle KitKat bars have a greater variety of flavors. This is a fact that upsets me a little.

A reader of the site, Jamie of From a Room in Roppongi, has decided to take it upon herself to taste test as many varieties as her waistline can handle. If you’re into KitKat bars (and who here isn’t), head over to her post about the Maple, Yogurt, Wine and Noir KitKat bars.

Now if we could perhaps arrange a foreign candy exchange, we could all benefit.

Technorati Tags: candy, food, kitkat, japan

Healthy Chocolate…A Warning

Sometimes I wonder if there’s a writer/editor out there with a cynical sense of humor, so that when several different news items cross their eyeballs, they carve a single storyline out of it.

Some of you may have read of the various news articles claiming things along the lines of “Chocolate May Help Smokers’ Blood Vessels” or “Chocolate found to lower ‘bad’ cholesterol” or even “Chocolate may relieve intestinal ills“, it’s important to understand that this is a bit of yellow journalism, unintentionally giving out the wrong idea about chocolate candy bars.

Point of fact, it’s the flavonols within the chocolate which lead to the healthy responses. Flavonols are hardly to unique in the food world.

What are some other items containing flavonols? There’s citrus fruits, apples, onions, avocado, cantaloupe, watermelon, alfalfa sprouts, green pepper, blueberries, yellow squash, corn, green beans, tofu, parsley, legumes, green tea, and red wine, all of which can reproduce the same health benefits to some degree or another as chocolate. It’s simply sexier to dress up news stories with the blaring headlines of “CHOCOLATE ACTUALLY GOOD FOR YOU!!!!”, when, point of fact, the sugar and saturated fat also within the chocolate is still as bad as it always has been.

Sorry for the buzzkill. Now I’m off to my freezer to indulge in some KitKat bars smuggled in from Canada.

UPDATE: My favorite Chocolate guru, David Lebovitz, added a comment which I thought pertinent. So I’m copying it to the post itself.

The irony is, most anti-oxidents dissipate when the cacao beans are fermented. The ‘better-quality’ chocolates are fermented longer than others, therefore, if you want to get the most benefits from cacao, you should eat lower-quality cacao beans, which of course are mostly used in lower-quality chocolate (and milk chocolate) bars.

So perhaps that Kit-Kat bar is healthier than you think…we’ll at least the 10% of cacao in the thin milk chocolate part.

Thanks for the info David!

Kit Kat vs. Kit Kat

Living within a 2 hour drive of the Canadian border, I am aware of the differences in candy found in our fair country versus the ones found in the Maple Leaf country to the north. I particularly noticed in with KitKat bars, with the ones found in the states being rather uninspiring (until last year, they were only in one flavor…chocolate). Those I found in Canada were amazing in their variety of flavors. Upon the shelves were Chocolate KitKats, as well as strawberry, orange, mint, vanilla.

“What the hell?” I asked myself.”Why does Canada get a diverse option of KitKats while we’re stuck with the Joe Average of candy bars?”

The reason, I have found out, is that KitKats are actually owned by two different companies. Here in the States, KitKat is owned by Hershey’s, while everyone else in the world has their KitKat bars made by the other mega-candy behemoth Nestlé’s.

Candy Blog has the reason for this discrepancy:

KitKat was first introduced in 1935 by London candymaker Rowntree under the name Rowntree’s Chocolate Crisp. A couple of years later they settled on the name KitKat Chocolate Crisp. The bar has always been the familiar four finger design and was an immediate big-seller for the company. It was briefly produced as a dark chocolate bar during the war because of dairy shortages, but returned to its familiar sweet milk chocolate recipe in 1947. In 1969 the American owned Hershey Corp bought the rights to manufacture and sell KitKat bars in the United States. I don’t think you will find American KitKats sold anywhere else in the world, probably part of the agreement. Rowntree was later purchased by Nestle in 1988 but the KitKat remains the same.

Nestlé has done a really good job in providing new and unique flavors of Kit Kats throughout the world, while Hershey’s has been less than satisfactory. They did recently release a white chocolate KitKat. Color me underwhelmed.

However, Hershey’s has recently released a Coffee Flavor Kit Kat bar which is not bad. Sadly, it’s for a limited time only. Oh, and it seems Nestlé already has a “coffee” flavor. Available for more than a limited time.

UPDATE: As always, the internet has the answer. If you want the other flavors of KitKats not available in the States, you can always head over to ebay.