The Kit Kat, produced by Rowntree and distributed by Nestlé, is one of the UK's most popular chocolate biscuits. Wrapped in foil with a covering of red paper going around it lengthways, this is one of Britain's most famous cultural icons. A Kit Kat is two or four rectangular pieces of wafer covered in chocolate with slightly sloping sides and ends. In lengthwise cross-section, it looks like this:
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On top of each finger, the Kit Kat logo is etched. According to the wrapper, the average Kit Kat contains:
Milk Chocolate (66%), Wheat flour, Sugar, Vegetable fat, Cocoa mass, Yeast, Raising agent (Sodium bicarbonate),
Salt, Calcium sulphate, Flavouring.
And the nutritional information:
Energy 2117kJ/506 kcal
Apart from the original milk chocolate version, there have also been: Kit Kat dark (With dark chocolate); Kit Kat orange (with orange-flavoured wafer); Kit Kat mint (with mint-flavoured wafer) and Kit Kat Chunky, a chocolate bar which is an oversized Kit Kat finger, which also has a variant: 'Kit Kat Chunky King Size'. It's big.
When the Kit Kat bar was originally released, it was named Rowntree's Chocolate Crisp and was first launched in London and the South East of England in 1935. It changed name to 'Kit Kat' in 1937 and became Rowntree's leading product, a position it still holds today. The name apparently came from the Kit Kat club, a literary club whose building had very low ceilings. It could therefore only hold paintings which were very low and wide - paintings which were called 'kats' in artistic circles. Apparently, paintings had to be snapped apart to fit in the building. Hence the name.
During the war, Kit Kats were advertised as 'what active people need' and were fairly successful in coercing people to part with their weekly sweet ration. In 1945, there was a shortage of milk, so Kit Kats began to be made with plain chocolate and used a blue wrapper to reflect this change. Apart from that, though, the red wrapper has been dominant.
In the 1950's, the two-finger Kit Kat was launched and advertised by 'Kitty the Kat'. Also in this decade came the brand's first television advertisement, in 1957, with the slogan 'Have a Break - Have a Kit Kat', with the first colour ad. in 1969. Minor changes were made to the packaging in the next few decades as NestlÃƒÂ© took over Rowntree, and then in 1999, the Kit Kat Chunky was launched and has been a huge success for the brand.
In recent years, when Kit Kats have been sold as part of selection packs or have needed individual wrapping, they have been wrapped in red plastic all over instead of the traditional foil-and-paper combination. This can only be a sign of bad things to come.
*UPDATE* - 7th January, 2002.
I have returned from a rare shopping excursion to find that the problem is more universal
than I had imagined. In a pretence of 'preserving freshness', 4-finger Kit Kats are being sold separately in foil-lined plastic
wrappers! This cannot be allowed to continue! Sign the E2 "We want our Kit Kats foily, like our men" Petition, now! /msg me!
Honorable signers of the "We want our Kit Kats foily, like our men" Petition:
- dwardu says add me to the list.
- DejaMorgana says add me to the list.
- Frankie says re: Kit Kat I WANT MY MEN AS READILY AVAILABLE AS A KIT KAT! (er, add me to the list?)
- <fuzzie> FOIL! FOIL! FOIL! FOIL OPENS TO CHOCOLATE! CHOCOLATE SPLATTERS ENEMIES! FOIL!
<fuzzie> or maybe not. :)
generic-man informs me that, in Japan at least, there exist such things as pineapple and banana Kit Kats. I find this blatant national favouritism highly unfair, and almost worthy of another worthless petition. Hmm.