I have been eating Kit Kats religiously for years.
I love everything about them. The simple milk chocolate, the wafer, the fact that there’s nothing else mucking it up. No caramel or nougat or candy shell.
So I wasn’t immediately sold on the various far-out flavors Nestle markets to its Japanese customers. Flavors like soy sauce, ginger ale, creme brulee, banana, even corn.
I guess I’m a Kit Kat purist.
How in the world did Kit Kat, a decidedly American snack with roots in northern England, get its break — no pun intended — in Japan?
Turns out “Kit Kat” sounds awfully like the phrase, “kitto katsu,” which roughly translates to mean, “surely wine.” It’s a term used to wish others good luck, often in school before exams. The candy has long been popular among students — and many of Japan’s faddy snackers.
Taking advantage of this, Nestle has put out more than 200 special edition flavors since 2000, many of them only found in certain regions in Japan. Most are bought as gifts or omiyage. And nearly every Hawaii resident who travels to Japan brings them back to share.
Nestle hasn’t launched very many new and different flavors of Kit Kats in the U.S. The only one I’ve found on shelves in the dark chocolate version, which is somewhat appealing and hardly adventurous.
But why? Wouldn’t Americans — namely those living in Hawaii — love the unusual flavors favored by Nestle’s Asian consumers?
What do you think?
And what interesting flavors have you tried?
As you know, I’m kind of a nerd when it comes to junk food, so I should point out Hershey’s makes KitKats in the US. But everywhere else in the world it’s Nestle.
As for limited edition KitKat flavors in the US, in 2006 there was a few of them, which included KitKat Mocha and KitKat Milkshake. Yup, not very exciting.
Having unusual flavors would bring a lot of attention to the KitKat brand in the US, I don’t know why Hershey’s won’t do it. Nabisco has been successful with their slightly wild limited edition flavors. This year, they released a Birthday Cake Oreo and a sherbet flavored Oreo, and over they past few years they had a number of limited edition flavors, like Neapolitan, Creamsicle, Strawberry Milkshake, DQ Blizzard, and Banana Split.
Hate to say it but Kit Kats are not at the top of the list for me. In Japan I tried a variety of flavors and I still didn’t get excited. It might be I am not a big candy bar guy. I do think that mixing it up could be good for Hershey’s brand strategy.
i have a bag of macha kit kats sitting in a drawer in my office. my cousin from fukuoka brought them for me and I can’t get rid of them. I don’t like green tea flavored things and no one else is adventurous enough to try them.
americans aren’t very adventurous in their eating habits. the recent trends in nose to tail eating only highlights this. we’re just now discovering how wonderful some of the junk cuts of meat are (some of us, obviously already knew and are pissed that the per pound prices on flap meat and short ribs and belly and jowl etc are rising through the roof) while the rest of the world, collectively, says “duh!!”
i’d better stop now before i go off on the eating habits in this country.
I’d gladly take the green tea kit kat off your hands
send me your address at [email protected] and I’ll mail it to you
I love the green tea kit kats. We’ve also tried strawberry and I think a sakura flavored one.
I like the Green tea Kit Kats….
From a business viewpoint, I’m somewhat surprised the company could offer so many different KitKat varieties year round there. Different packaging, production, and distribution would probably be cost prohibitive in the US. When manufacturers here do offer new varieties of a popular product, it’s usually only for a limited time because the novelty wears off. Case in point: the McRib. I suspect there’s something about the Japanese market that almost seems to cater to offering consumers as many choices as possible.
I mistakenly bought the wasabi kitkat instead of green tea. I just figured it was the only green kitkat. I was surprised when my coworker who is Japanese said, “WOW!” you bought wasabi flavor, how interesting! It was super hilarious, and in the fine print it did say in English, WASABI FLAVOR on the side of the box. But everyone liked it alot! Its not gross, how everyone thinks it may be. The flavor was like a sweet white chocolate, then a little burst of wasabi at the end. Delicious!
My niece brought home a bunch of the different flavors which all turned out to be pretty ordinary. The WORST flavor had to be potato, darn thing tasted like dirt!!