Buy The Genuine Article: The 80-year-old Kit Kat is one of the world’s most iconic chocolate bars – and it’s made in York. Or is it? The truth is, the Kit Kats you’re putting in your spirals might be imposters…
BY IAN REYNOLDS-YOUNG
So, when is a Kit Kat not a Kit Kat? Nestlé produces Kit Kats in 43 factories spread across 16 countries, and that’s not including those made under license, for instance by the H. B. Reese Candy Company in the USA, a division of The Hershey Company.
All told, Kit Kats are sold in over 100 countries.
So it’s no wonder that Kit Kats are slightly, subtly different, depending on where you buy yours. In Britain, Nestlé uses milk crumb, a sweetened, dehydrated milk product, to make the bars. In the United States, Hershey uses non-fat milk and milk fat while in Japan, the factories work with whole-milk powder.
In Japan, Nestlé buys most of its cacao beans from West Africa. In the United States, a mix of beans from West Africa and Latin America is favoured. What’s more, the US version contains more sugar, while the British ‘original’ is higher in fat and cocoa, resulting in a richer, smoother flavour.
As a vending operator in the UK, does it matter where the Kit Kats in your machines come from? Should you bother to Buy The Genuine Article? Well, yes you should. You see, the British consumer expects every Kit Kat to taste the same as they always have, since time immemorial.
If you expect something to taste a certain way, and it doesn’t, the brain goes into a frenzy. I remember, as a teenager, being on a cultural exchange representing Manchester, my hometown, to its Twin City; then called Leningrad, now St. Petersburg. After a hot and sweaty game of volleyball, we were offered a glass of cold milk. I gulped mine thirstily, only to discover that it wasn’t milk as I knew it: actually, it was sour milk and 45 years on, the memory still makes me retch. From then on, I’ve always been careful, when given a choice, to make sure I Buy The Genuine Article.
The differences between our iconic ‘original’ Kit Kat and the current impostors, which are made in Germany, are not nearly so acute; but the gulf between expectation and reality is nevertheless sufficient to jar the senses. You see, the German factory serves markets in Southern Europe, where temperatures are higher. They add a certain je ne sais quoi to prevent the chocolate from melting as soon as it hits the shelves and as Sainsbury’s might suggest, you really can taste the difference.
However, when stocking up with the imported stuff costs less than it does to Buy The Genuine Article, it’s tempting to think ‘ker-ching’ and take the extra margin, on the basis of ‘never mind the punters, even if they turn their noses up, they’ll get over it’.
Of course, in an ideal world, you’d sell ‘proper’ Kit Kats without compromising your bottom line; and guess what? Now, you can.
Nestlé here in the UK has met the challenge head-on, adjusting their prices with wholesaler ARN so you can enjoy the best of both worlds: satisfied customers and healthy margins. Subsequently, ARN’s sales of Kit Kat have gone off the graph. Before the price change, ARN was shipping 3,000 cases a month. Now, they’re up to 15,000 and counting. When there’s no incentive to stock a product that is, well… not quite as good as the one we’re all used to, why bother? It’s better all round to Buy The Genuine Article.
And now, to add a layer of icing to the cake, you can take advantage of a great promotion. Order 10 or more cases of Kit Kat 4 finger from ARN and you’ll be in with a chance of winning a top-notch Nestlé filled hamper. What’s more, you’ll be entered into a ‘Lucky Draw’, which could see you walking away with 700 quids worth of iPad Pro. You’ll have to get your skates on mind: the promotion ends on 29 March.
So, now you’ve read all that, have a break, have a (genuine British) Kit Kat!
And remember, Automatic Retailing Northern sells ONLY the genuine article.
How Do I Tell The British Kit Kat From The German Version, If I Want to Buy The Genuine Article?
- Right now, it’s easy: the Kit Kats made in York are all flashed with details of the ‘hamper’ promotion.
- The German packs are otherwise very similar to ours, but turn them over and you’ll see the words ‘Made In Germany’. Additionally, their on-pack information is printed in a whole range of languages…
Did You Know?
- When it was launched on 29 August 1925, the product was called ‘Rowntree’s Chocolate Crisp’
- … it changed its name to ‘Kit Kat Chocolate Crisp’ in 1937, before adopting the name ‘Kit Kat’ in 1942
- During WW2, Kit Kat was promoted as a valuable food ration under the slogan, ‘what active people need’.
- There are many different flavours of Kit Kat available around the world. This is especially true in Japan – Kit Kat’s largest market – where you can buy Kit Kat Apple Vinegar, Kit Kat Houjicha (Japanese roasted tea), Kit Kat Kokuto (Black sugar) and Kit Kat Wa Guri (Chestnut flavor).
- The most popular kind of Kit Kat in Japan is the mini – a bite-size package of two ingots. Nestlé estimates that it sells about four million of these every
- In December 2009, Nestle announced that in Britain and Ireland the Kit Kat 4 Finger Original would be made using Fairtrade chocolate.
- The Nestle factory in York produces five million Kit Kats every day; that’s a billion each year, and they’re all sold in the UK