Kit Kat, one of the most successful brands produced by the Nestlé company, is celebrating its 75th birthday. The name of the iconic chocolate ‘fingers,’ approx. 540 of which are consumed every second around the globe (according to the Guinness Book of Records as of March 2010), dates back to the 17th century and originates from a London-based literary and political club called Kit Kat, the abbreviated name of pastry chef Christopher Catling, the owner of a pie shop where its meetings were held.
In 1935, stores located in London and the South East of the UK welcomed the first four-fingered wafer known as Rowntree’s Chocolate Crisp. The manufacturer registered the brand names Kit Cat and Kit Kat in 1911, but only 18 months after the new wafer confection came to the market they decided to call it Kit Kat Chocolate Crisp. The hunger-satisfying product became extremely popular across the United Kingdom, so the company decided to sell it in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Canada.
The expansion continued in 1988 with the acquisition of Rowntree by Nestlé—the new owner took the brand to Central and Eastern Europe, emerging Asian markets and Latin America. For the next 22 years of Kit Kat’s presence on the global market, the brand added new varieties and sizes to its line. The anniversary of the sweet fingers is celebrated with the launch of the new versions, some of which have already arrived in duty-free shops.
“Today, we sell Kit Kat directly in 72 countries. Consumers will not find exactly the same recipe in each country, but Kit Kat has the same fundamentals; the perfect balance of chocolate and wafer with a recipe tailored to the consumers’ needs. This is then combined with consistent branding and great communication to the customer with our famous ‘Have a break, have a Kit Kat.’ advertising line. These are the ingredients for its on-going success,” commented Marcelo Melchior, Head of the Confectionery Strategic Business Unit (SBU) at Nestlé.