Give me a break: History of the Kit Kat bar

6:15 PM, Jan 3, 2013   |    comments
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By Ayesha Durgahee, CNN

Here's a legal battle to get your teeth into; Nestle has beaten rivals, Cadbury, in a trademark case all about the shape of the four-finger Kit Kat bar.

The kit-kat's been around for quite a while, giving millions a break for decades; fingers of Wafer ND chocolate that started out as a "chocolate crisp" in 1935 made by Rowntrees. The confection was renamed Kit Kat in 1937.

Then came the tagline that offered an excuse to take time out and take a bite.

Bought by Nestle in 1988, Kit Kats are still made at the original Rowntree factory in New York. Three million Kit Kat bars are produced there every day.

"In total we make 52,000 tons, 27 percent of that volume is exported to the Middle East, our biggest customer, we sell 6,500 tons," said David Broxup, Kit Kat production manager.

Broxup has worked at the factory for 40 years and has seen a lot of changes from hand-feeding the chocolate into the machines to a completely automated process.

But what about the taste?

"Nestle kept the original Rowntree recipe. There might have been small tweaks here and there, but predominately the recipe is identical to what it was when Rowntree made it," said Broxup.

Kit Kat is now sold in 70 countries with different flavors to suit local taste buds with "green tea" Kit Kats in Japan or peanut butter flavored Kit Kats in the United States.

In an age of austerity, chocolate remains a small and affordable indulgence.

Market research company Mintel expects chocolate sales in the UK to continue to increase by five to six percent over the next few years where the market could be worth as much as $8.9 billion by 2016.

"The thing about confectionary, especially in markets like the UK is that it is broadly recession proof from a demand point of view," said David Rennie, VP of Nestle Zone Europe.

Whether it's chunky or caramel orange or mint, Kit Kat is still as sweet as ever.


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