Kit Kat Celebrates 75 years.

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ppy 75th birthday Kit Kat
Oct 10, 2010
KIT KAT:Sold in 72 countries worldwide Kit Kat celebrates 75 years.

Three quarters of a century on from launch, Nestlé Kit Kat continues to be a recipe for success. With around 540 Kit Kat fingers consumed every second worldwide and 17.6 billion fingers sold every year as noted by the Guinness Book of Records in March 2010, today Kit Kat proudly celebrates its 75th birthday. The Kit Kat name originates from the late 17th century in London, where a literary club met at a pie shop owned by pastry chef Christopher Catling. The group was called theKit Kat club and took its name from an abbreviated version of the owner’s name. In 1911, Rowntree’s, based in York in the United Kingdom, registered the brand names Kit Cat andKit Kat, but did not immediately use these. In 1935 in London and the South East of the United Kingdom, the first four-fingered wafer was launched as Rowntree’s Chocolate Crisp.  Within 18 months however, it was rebranded by Rowntree’s marketing director George Harris, as Kit Kat Chocolate Crisp.  Here, an iconic brand was born.

This marked the start of a revolution in confectionery.  The snap of the chocolate coated wafer fingers became a household ritual in its home market of the UK, and then quickly all over the world as the brand was successfully launched in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Canada. In 1988, the acquisition of Rowntree meant that Kit Katcame under the Nestlé umbrella, catalysing an expansion of the brand into Central & Eastern Europe, emerging Asian markets and Latin America. A year after the acquisition, Kit Kat production extended to a new Nestlé facility in Kasumigaura in Japan.  In the following decade Nestlé also set up operations in Malaysia, India and China. For its first 64 years Kit Kat was only available in two-finger and four-finger formats.  But following the successful launch of Kit Kat Chunky in 1999, which took the brand into the hunger-satisfying segment of confectionery, there have been a further series of brand innovations, the most recent being the successful launch of a more indulgent Kit Kat Senses in 2008.

Marcelo Melchior, left, Head of the Confectionery Strategic Business Unit (SBU) at Nestlé, said:  “Today, we sell Kit Katdirectly 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.” Timeline: Kit Kat is born

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Late 17th century: A literary and political club met at a pie shop in central London, owned by Christopher Catling.  The group was called the Kit Kat club, which took its name from an abbreviated version of the owner. 1911: Rowntree, a major confectionery business based in York in the UK registers the names Kit Cat and Kit Kat. 1920s: Rowntree launched a brand of boxed chocolates named Kit Cat. 1930s: Rowntree concentrated on strong assortment brands, Black Magic and Dairy Box.  Kit Catwas eventually phased out. August 29th 1935: First manufacture of the four-finger wafer in York. This is then sold in London and the South East of England as Rowntree’s Chocolate Crisp. 1937: George Harris, Marketing Director for Rowntree, re-branded the product as Kit Kat Chocolate Crisp. This year also heralds the first use of the word ‘Break’ in Kit Kat advertising. 1942: During the Second World War due to a shortage of ingredients including milk, Rowntree altered the recipe of Kit Kat Chocolate Crisp. The wrapper was changed to blue and the oval logo was removed along with the Chocolate Crisp. Kit Kat was written in bold. 1949: Kit Kat returned to its original milk recipe and the glory of its red wrapper....
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