Kit Kat’s coolest flavors aren’t sold in the US
In a Japanese grocery store, you might find Kit Kats flavored with salt lemon, caramel pudding, whole grain biscuit, melon, and milk tea. In the US, you’ll have a hard time finding those at Target or Walmart.
Aficionados of Kit Kat know that the best varieties can be found outside the United States or in specialty stores that carry imported products. What’s the reason? In the United States and internationally, Kit Kat is distributed by different companies. The US company Hershey sells Kit Kats. Nestlé is responsible for the rest of the world.
There are different flavors and recipes across the world – even two kinds of dark chocolate Kit Kat, Hershey’s and Nestlé’s, don’t taste the same.
There are more traditional Kit Kats sold by both companies than seasonal or limited-time flavors. Those unusual flavors, however, can be a powerful marketing tool. As a result, decades-old brands like Kit Kat remain relevant by creating buzz and urgency.
A number of seasonal and regional flavors are available in Japan thanks to Nestlé’s partnerships.
When launching new flavors, Hershey tends to follow the tastes of just one market, the US. In addition, with Nestlé releasing so many new flavors, Hershey doesn’t need to do as much, said Lynn Dornblaser, Mintel’s director of innovation and insight.
There was a time when Kit Kat was controlled by two separate companies. Nestlé and Hershey had nothing to do with Kit Kat at first.
In 1935, the British candy company Rowntree’s introduced the treat as Rowntree’s Chocolate Crisp. The product was renamed Kit Kat Chocolate Crisp a few years later by Rowntree’s.