The Rare Flavors of Japanese Kit Kat
Why does Japan have so many exclusive Kit Kat flavors?
Japan has a wide variety of Kit Kat flavors because Nestle, the company that manufactures Kit Kats, has made a significant effort to cater to the unique tastes and preferences of Japanese consumers. This includes offering a wide range of flavors that are unique to Japan, such as green tea, sweet potato, and sake, as well as seasonal and limited-edition flavors with over 300 different flavors exclusive to Japan. Kit Kats have become a popular gift item in Japan, so the vast flavor variety allows for more options when selecting the perfect gift.
Why is Kit Kat so popular in Japan?
Kit Kats are popular in Japan for a few reasons. One reason is that the brand has effectively marketed itself as a luxury item in Japan, through the release of special edition and unique flavors, and aesthetic packaging design makes it a popular gift item.
Additionally, the name 'Kit Kat' sounds similar to the phrase 'kitto katsu,' which means 'surely win' in Japanese, making it a popular item for students to give to their friends before exams as a way to wish them good luck. Seen as a symbol of good luck and prosperity, they are also often given as gifts during special occasions like weddings, ceremonies, and New Year's. These factors together have helped make Kit Kats a beloved and cherished brand in Japan.
Kit Kat Origin Story - Japan
In Japan, Kit Kats are produced and marketed by Nestle Japan Ltd., a subsidiary of Nestle S.A. Nestle Japan has been selling Kit Kats in Japan since 1973 and has since introduced over 300 different flavors exclusive to Japan.
Some of the most popular flavors include matcha green tea, sweet potato, and wasabi. Nestle Japan also releases special editions and limited time flavors, often tied to seasonal or cultural events. The company's strategy to create different and unique flavors, along with smart marketing, has made Kit Kat brand very successful in Japan.
Compared to Kit Kats sold around the world, individual servings of Japanese Kit Kats are smaller in size, presented as two bars as opposed to the traditional four finger bar. The most common Kit Kat package in Japan arrives in a shareable bag of 10-16 pieces.
Kit Kat Japan Exclusive Flavors
Some of the most unique Japanese flavored Kit Kat include:
These flavors are considered to be unique and rare and are highly sought after by Kit Kat enthusiasts and collectors. Some flavors and products are regional and can only be found in certain areas of Japan.
Kit Kat Japan Store Experience
Kit Kat Japan offers a 'DIY' (Do-It-Yourself) service at some of their stores, where customers can create their own custom Kit Kat bars by choosing from a variety of flavors, coatings, and toppings. This service is available at select Kit Kat Chocolatory boutiques, which are specialized stores dedicated to the luxury Kit Kat line.
When creating your own Kit Kat, customers can choose from a variety of base flavors such as milk chocolate, dark chocolate, and matcha, and then add toppings such as nuts, dried fruit, and cookies.
Once the custom Kit Kats are made, they are packaged in special, customizable boxes that can be decorated with different messages and designs. This service makes the Kit Kats a perfect gift for special occasions such as birthdays, weddings, or as a souvenir of your trip to Japan.
Kit Kat History – The Inventor
Kit Kat is a chocolate-covered wafer biscuit bar that is manufactured by Nestle. The brand was first introduced in the United Kingdom in 1935 and has since become popular worldwide. The chocolate-covered wafer biscuit bar was first created by Rowntree's of York, England in 1935.
The origins of the 'Kit Kat' name are not entirely clear, but it is believed to be a shortened version of the original name 'Kit Cat,' which was the name of a popular political and literary club that met at a London coffeehouse in the 18th century. The club was known for its 'kit-cat' portrait, which was a portrait of a woman with a high head-dress, and it is thought that this image may have inspired the name of the confectionery.
The original Kit Kat was a four-finger bar made from wafer covered in chocolate. In the UK, Kit Kats were marketed as a 'fingers' or 'fingers of chocolate' that people can enjoy during their break time, hence the catchphrase 'Have a break, have a Kit Kat' was born. The brand quickly became popular and by the 1950s, it was one of Rowntree's flagship brands.
Nestle acquired Rowntree in 1988 and since then has continued to produce and market Kit Kats worldwide. Today, Kit Kats are available in many different varieties and flavors around the world, and it remains a popular confectionery item.
Kit Kat Collectors
The rare, interesting, and weird flavor offerings of Japanese Kit Kat has cultivated a culture of collecting among Kit Kat enthusiast, who seek out all the varieties to add to their collection. Collectors focus not only on the flavors, but also the packaging.
The hobby can be expensive and time-consuming, but for some enthusiasts, the thrill of finding and adding new Kit Kats to their collection makes it worth it.