In most parts of the world, Kit Kat lovers may have just one flavor to spend their breaks with.
That is not the case in Japan, where the brand has concocted more than 400 flavors since its arrival in 1973.
Today, Kit Kat Japan continues to add more flavors to its ever-growing roster, with one man responsible for much of the innovation.
Yasumasa Takagi, a classically-trained pastry chef, has added at least 50 variants since his arrival — as well as countless more prototypes.
“In my time, Kit Kat only had the milk chocolate base. Since I became involved, it’s no longer the case,” Takagi told Great Big Story.
The chef first developed a passion fruit flavor, which was then marketed as “passionate passion fruit.” The product was first released in 2013.
“I’ve made over 50 different flavors, but I’ve made many, many more prototypes,” Takagi shared. “We have products that [make people] go ‘wow’ or ‘hmm.'”
Takagi creates new flavors right from the kitchen of his Kit Kat store. Making a prototype involves pouring the flavor into the mold, placing cut wafers above it and putting another layer on top.
It’s unclear how many Kit Kat flavors are currently on sale in Japan. Some flavors are also specific to certain regions, such as melon in Hokkaido and purple sweet potato in Kyushu.
Regardless, Kit Kat, under Nestlé, has become the top product in the Japanese chocolate market. It overtook Meiji in 2012 through multiple innovations and “emotion marketing,” according to Confectionery News.
“There are many customers who are anxiously waiting for the next new flavor and wonder, ‘What will it be, what will it be?’ Many people say, ‘We want to buy it right away,'” Yuji Takeuchi, marketing manager for Nestlé Japan, told Great Big Story.
Chef Takagi added, “Ultimately, I wanted to make people happy, moved and surprised. Unless there’s a wide variety of Kit Kats, it’s not possible for a wide range of people to be happy.”
Many people might not know this, but NextShark is a small media startup that runs on no outside funding or loans, and with no paywalls or subscription fees, we rely on help from our community and readers like you.
Everything you see today is built by Asians, for Asians to help amplify our voices globally and support each other. However, we still face many difficulties in our industry because of our commitment to accessible and informational Asian news coverage.
We hope you consider making a contribution to NextShark so we can continue to provide you quality journalism that informs, educates, and inspires the Asian community. Even a $1 contribution goes a long way. Thank you for supporting NextShark and our community.