If you thought Kit Kats were just delicious chocolate-covered wafers, think again. It turns out, there is a hidden meaning behind every Kit Kat that may make you want to eat more of them. In fact, your luck may be all the better for it.
CBS Sunday Morning went to Japan to figure out the country's obsession with Kit Kats. According to Cedric Lacroix, the managing director of chocolate & confectionery at Nestlé Japan, people have "up to five million Kit Kats a day." Part of the reason they're so popular has to do with the chocolate's name in Japanese, Kitto katto.
No doubt Kitto katto sounds more fun than just plain ol' Kit Kat, but to people in Japan it sounds like the Japanese phrase kitto katsu, which means “You surely will win!” The similarity in pronunciation turned the candy into a good luck charm. Families began sending Kit Kats to their college-aged kids before exams, hoping the sweet treats would help them get better grades. In 2009, according to AdAge, Nestlé even teamed up with Japan's postal service to create "Kit Kat Mail," which was a "postcard-like product sold only at the post office that could be mailed to students as an edible good-luck charm."
Nestlé admits they leaned into being a brand that inspired confidence. Lacroix went as far to tell CBS that "Kit Kat’s mission in Japan is really to encourage people.” Who wouldn't want to eat a candy that wants to see them succeed like a delicious champion in your corner? It certainly strikes up more emotions than the U.S. slogan for Kit Kats: “Have a break, have a KitKat."
While Kit Kat becoming a Japanese talisman certainly helped Nestlé's bottom line, it has also given Kit Kat fans all over the world more flavors to choose from. In 2015, the UK Telegraph reported that 300-plus Kit Kat varieties were created specifically for Japan including purple yam, matcha, and wasabi. Last year, Kit Kat launched a boozy flavor with sake.
You may have to take a trip to Japan to try some of these unique flavors, but Kit Kat is expanding its flavor palette in the United States, too. Last year, Kit Kat released a red velvet flavor. If you want to try cookie dough stuffed Kit Kats though, you're going to have to make a trip to Canada. Sorry.