Soy-Sauce-Flavored Kit Kats? In Japan, They’re No. 1

Posted: March 4, 2010 in Advertising & Marketing, Misc

With 18 Other Exotic Flavors, Nestle Takes Product Localization in Country to Culinary Extremes

TOKYO (AdAge.com) — Western marketers are adept at catering to the tastes of Japanese consumers, with quirky products such as McDonald’s Filet-O-Shrimp burgers and a cucumber-flavored soft drink by Pepsi.

In Japan, Kit Kat comes in 19 flavors like baked corn.
In Japan, Kit Kat comes in 19 flavors like baked corn.

But Nestle has upped the ante for the most creative only-in-Japan product by creating 19 unique flavors for Kit Kat, one of the best-selling chocolate candy bars in the world and the No. 1 brand confectionery brand in Japan.

Besides the regular chocolate variety, which must seem mundane to Japanese by now, Nestle has come up with variations that reflect the local produce and palate of each region. There are some staple flavors like miso, soy sauce and green tea, but the list doesn’t end there.

Kit Kat varieties now range from yubari melon and baked corn from Hokkaido island to green beans and cherries from Tohoku in northeastern Japan to uzu fruit and red potatoes from Kyushu island at the southern-most tip of the country. The Kanto region, including Tokyo, contributed the sweet potato, blueberry and kinako (soybean) flavors.

The strategy started three years ago with a handful of flavors but has escalated into a national phenomenon. It’s also unique to Japan, so Kit Kat lovers in other countries shouldn’t expect to see exotic local flavors. (Kit Kat is owned by Nestle, but is produced in the U.S. under license by The Hershey Company). (get the rest of the story)

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