Kit Kat (History, Marketing, Flavors & Commercials)

The Kit Kat Bar is one of the most recognized candy bars in the world. It is sold on every continent and has various flavors depending on what country you’re in.

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Here is the history of the Kit Kat Bar and how it became an internationally recognized brand. Starting from when it was created by the Rowntree’s company to after it was sold to Nestle in 1988.

Kit Kat

The beginning of the Kit Kat Bar

The Kit Kat Bar was originally created by Rowntree’s, a confectionery company located in York, England.

Before Rowntree began developing the chocolate, they would trademark the names Kit Cat and Kit Kat in 1911. Names that were originally used for a type of mutton pie that was eaten by a group called “The Kit-Cat Club.” Their club meetings were also held in a pastry shop owned by a chef named Christopher Cat.

The Rowntree’s would start using the names Kit Cat and Kit Kat in the 1920s for their box of chocolate crisps. 

They would sell these boxes of chocolate crisps along with their other box of chocolates known Black Magic. An affordable version of luxury chocolate that the Rowntree’s created.

Unfortunately the original Kit-Cat Chocolates were discontinued shortly after being introduced.

The Kit Kat Bar gets recreated

After the original candy was discontinued, it would be brought back thanks to a suggestion of a Rowntree’s employee. This employee suggested that the company “make a snack that a man could take to work in his pack.”

The Rowntree’s loved this idea and quickly began developing a type of chocolate that workers could take with them to work.

This is how they came up with the 4 finger bar that would be the design for the candy. Originally, they would call this chocolate bar the “Rowntree’s Chocolate Crisp”, which they released in 1935.

Then in 1937, Rowntree’s changed the name of the candy to the Kit Kat Chocolate Crisp.

The Kit Kat’s early success

After being introduced in 1937 and successful advertising campaigns, the Kit Kat became one of England’s most popular candy bars. It became so successful that after three years of existence, the Kit Kat would be exported to international markets.

From 1940 to 1950, the Kit Kat was exported to Canada, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and Ireland. The candy would also quickly become popular in these markets.

The Blue Kit Kat Bars

From 1944-1947, there was a milk shortage from World War 2 within the UK. This led to the use of milk chocolate being suspended during this time period.

The Rowntree’s would be forced to change their Kit Kat recipe to meet the new ration laws that were put in place. They replaced the red Kit Kat packaging with a blue package and started making the candy with dark chocolate.

After 1947, the ban on using milk chocolate was lifted and Rowntree’s brought back the original Kit Kat Bar recipe.

The iconic Kit Kat slogan

In 1957, Donald Giles, who was the executive of JWT London was hired by Rowntree’s to create an advertisement. Giles would come up with the iconic Kit Kat Bar slogan that is still used today.

“Have a break. Have a Kit Kat” 

The Kit Kat would quickly become one of the world’s favorite candy bars after this advertisement.

The Kit Kat Bar Expands its global reach

By 1970, the demand for Kit Kat Bars were at an all time high across the world. Rowntree’s would start the decade off by building a new distribution factory in Germany to meet the European demand.

Shortly after the construction of their factory in Germany, Rowntree’s would reach distribution deals in the US and Japan. The Hershey Chocolate Company would have the distribution rights in the US and Fujiya would have the distribution rights in Japan.

Both of these markets loved the Kit Kat Bars and quickly became one of the most sold candies in each country.

Rowntree’s is bought by Nestle

In 1988, Nestle would purchase Rowntree’s for $4.6 billion dollars and own the rights to the Kit Kat Bar. They owned the rights to distribute Kit Kat Bars in every country, except in the US.

Nestle would quickly begin building distribution plants in Malaysia, India, and China to meet public demand for the Kit Kat Bar.

Nestle’s battle with the Hershey Company

Nestle originally wanted to expand distribution of Kit Kat Bars in the US, but were stonewalled by the Hershey Company. This was due to the original deal that was agreed upon between Hersey’s and the original Kit Kat Bar owner’s Rowndtree’s.

In the original contract between the two stated that Hershey’s could continue distributing Kit Kat Bars on one condition. The condition was that the contract would be upheld as long as Hershey’s wasn’t sold to another company.

Today, Kit Kat Bars are still made and distributed by the Hershey Company within the US. If you’ve ever eaten a Kit Kat Bar in the US and different countries, you’ll notice the flavor is distinctly different.

Kit Kat Bar advertisement in the US

Within the US, the advertisement for the Kit Kat Bar also had an incredibly popular advertisement campaign. Since the 1980s, a jingle has been used in every American Kit Kat Bar commercial.

“Gimme a break! Gimme a break! Break me off a piece of that KIT KAT BAR!!!”

Numerous musicians and actors have done commercials for Kit Kat singing this jingle.

Variations of the Kit Kat Bar

Since the original Kit Kat Bar came on the scene, Nestle and Hershey have made different variations of the chocolate bar. Here are some of the more notable variations of the Kit Kat Bar.

The Original Kit Kat Bar

Still the most popular type of Kit Kat Bar is the original 4 finger bar that was created in the 1930s. No design changes have been made to the bar since other than the packaging that went from aluminum wrap to plastic.

Snack Sized Kit Kat Bars

The next variation of the Kit Kat bars was the snack sized two finger bars. A smaller variation of the bar for those that want a lighter version of the Kit Kat Bar.

Kit Kat Big Chunk(Big Kat)

In 1999, the Big Chunk(Big Kat in the US) was introduced into the market. A larger candy version of the Kit Kat that is one big chocolate covered krisp bar.

Kit Kat Pop Chocs(Pops)

The last variation of the Kit Kat Bar were the Pop Chocs or Pops. A miniature version of the candy in bite sized form that is sold in small bags to buckets.

Kit Kat Logo

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Kit Kat Flavors

The first alternate Kit Kat flavor released internationally was an orange flavored Kit Kat in the 1990s. Since then there have been numerous flavors of Kit Kat Bars released throughout the world.

Especially in Japan, where Japanese Kit Kats are beloved and has had over 200 different flavors introduced.

Some of the more known Kit Kat Flavors released internationally or Japan include:

  • Strawberry 
  • Orange 
  • Banana 
  • Strawberry w/ Milk
  • Duplo Berry 
  • Green Tea 
  • Cheese & Lemon Cake 
  • Cafe Latte 
  • Honey White
  • Takagi Passion Fruit
  • White Miruku Shitate
  • Leite de Hokkaido 
  • Fruit Salad
  • Special Winter Strawberry 
  • Cherry 
  • Leite Nasu White 
  • Bean Azuki 
  • Almond 
  • Kiwi 
  • Hokkaido Azuki Beans
  • Sakura Saku
  • Hokkaido Milk 
  • Matcha Milk 
  • Caramel 
  • Cookies & Cream
  • Waguri 
  • Bitter 
  • Caramel Macchiato 
  • Azuki w/ Vanilla 
  • White 
  • Soy Sauce
  • Soy Flour
  • Dainagon Azuki beans 
  • Potato
  • Apple
  • Chocolate Drink
  • Jasmine Tea
  • Semi Suite 
  • Sparkling Strawberry 
  • Milk w/ Coffee
  • Veggie Flavored
  • Milk Tea
  • Caramel Aroma
  • Sakura Matcha 
  • Raspberry 
  • Raspberry & Passion Fruit
  • Cola & Lemon Squash
  • Bitter Almonds
  • Zunda 
  • Plum & Soda
  • Vanilla Aroma
  • Brown Sugar
  • Cocoa
  • Little Pepper 
  • Tiramisu Green Tea 
  • Banana Bar
  • Red Beans
  • Big Flavor Pudding 
  • Wine & Chocolate
  • Blueberry Cheesecake
  • Hazelnut & Strawberry
  • Citrus Golden Blend
  • Pear
  • Soy Green
  • Shinshu Apple 
  • Potato
  • Cinnamon Biscuit
  • Pancake
  • Grape Mousse 
  • Soy Sauce
  • Corn
  • Watermelon
  • Half Bitter
  • Maple
  • English Tea w/ Milk!
  • Wafer

Kit Kat Ingredients

  • Sugar
  • Wheat Flour (contains Calcium, Iron, Thiamin and Niacin)
  • Milk Powders (Whole and Skimmed)
  • Cocoa Mass
  • Cocoa Butter
  • Vegetable Fats (Palm, Shea, Mango Kernel, Sal)
  • Lactose and Proteins from Whey (from Milk)
  • Whey Powder (from Milk)
  • Butterfat (from Milk)
  • Emulsifier (Lecithins)
  • Yeast
  • Raising Agent (Sodium Bicarbonate)
  • Natural Flavourings

Kit Kat Nutrition

Serving Size:1 bar (1.5 oz) (42g)% Daily Value*
Amount Per Serving
Calories218
Total Fat 11g17%
Saturated Fat 7.5g38%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.4g
Monounsaturated Fat 2.5g
Cholesterol 4.6mg2%
Sodium 23mg1%
Total Carbohydrates 27g9%
Dietary Fiber 0.4g2%
Sugars 20g
Protein 2.7g
Vitamin D 0mcg0%
Calcium 52mg4%
Iron 0mg2%
Potassium 97mg2%
Caffeine 5.9mg
  • The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

Kit Kat Bar’s Global Reach

The Kit Kat Bar in its almost 90 year history has firmly become one of the world’s most popular candy bars. They are sold in over 16 countries around the world with millions of Kit Kat Bar products sold each day.

Pictures of Kit Kat

Kit Kat Commercials

Kit Kat FAQ

Who makes Kit Kat?

Nestlé acquired the Kit Kat brand as part of its purchase of the Rowntree business in 1988.

How many calories in a fun size Kit Kat?

Kit Kat Fun Size (2 fingers) contains 89 calories.

How many calories in a Kit Kat?

There are 218 calories in a 1 Kit Kat bar.

How many Kit Kat flavors are there?

In total, Nestlé has calculated that there are over 1,500 possible different combinations flavors for customers to choose from but typically there are about 40 different flavors of the Kit-Kat mini available at any given time.

How many calories in a mini Kit Kat?

There are 87 calories in 1 bar (16.7 g) of Kit Kat Mini.

When was Kit Kat made?

KitKat was invented in 1935 in York and was originally named the ‘Rowntree’s Chocolate Crisp’, before being renamed ‘KitKat’ a couple of years on.

What is in a Kit Kat?

The ingredients of Kit Kat are Sugar, Wheat Flour (contains Calcium, Iron, Thiamin, and Niacin), Milk Powders (Whole and Skimmed), Cocoa Mass, Cocoa Butter, Vegetable Fats (Palm, Shea, Mango Kernel, Sal), Lactose and Proteins, from Whey (from Milk), Whey Powder (from Milk), Butterfat (from Milk), Emulsifier (Lecithins), Yeast, Raising Agent (Sodium Bicarbonate), Natural Flavourings.

How many Kit Kat flavors in Japan?

Japan is home to over 300 unique flavors of Kit Kats created exclusively for certain cities, regions, and seasons.

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