Japan’s exotic Kit Kats entice tourists, new Nestle plant



By Naomi Schanen, Bloomberg News 

Wasabi, green tea and sake aren’t just foods in Japan, they’re also a few of the many versions of Kit Kats offered in the country.

While the wafer-and-chocolate snacks have been available in more than 300 flavors here for more than four decades, recent offerings from custard pudding to ginger have made the nation the go-to destination for picking up odd variations. They’re so popular among tourists that Nestle is building its first Kit Kat factory in 26 years to meet booming demand.

It’s no surprise, then, that the archipelago boasts the world’s second-largest consumption of Kit Kats. Nestle Japan will start operating a second factory in the western city of Himeji from August dedicated to making upscale, pricier versions of the snack.

That’s probably a safe bet, thanks to Japan’s tourism boom. Spending by visitors surged to a record 2.5 trillion yen ($22.5 billion) in the six months through June, according to the Japan National Tourism Organization. They’re also spending more on confectionaries, with candy consumption more than tripling over the past four years to 131 billion yen in 2016, according to the Ministry of the Environment.

“We have Kit Kat back in Germany, but it’s not the same,” said backpacker Matt Borscak, 34. “The cultural touch makes it interesting. I bought a few packs of the wasabi ones, and I can’t wait to shock my friends.”



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