Nestlé to Open New Plant for Novelty KitKats to Meet Millennial Demand

KitKat heaven I © Marco Ooi/Flickr
KitKat heaven I © Marco Ooi/Flickr
Photo of Christine Bagarino
27 July 2017

Millennials can’t get enough of Japan and its limited edition Nestlé KitKat flavors. Those born in the 1980s and 90s are now the largest living generation, wielding considerable influence with their wallets – and that’s having a big impact on Nestlé Japan. The Kobe-based company is slated to open its second Japan KitKat factory on August 1 in nearby Himeji. Here’s everything you need to know.

Himeji Castle in springtime | © Reginald Pentinio / Flickr


Compared to the generations that preceded them, millennials are more likely to spend more of their money on life experiences like traveling to other countries. Japan is one of the top travel destinations in the world with the number of foreign visitors growing year on year, and the country even achieved its 2020 tourism target five years ahead of schedule. One of the most popular souvenirs for foreign visitors are Nestlé KitKats, but what makes them so popular, especially among young travelers?

A world favorite with a unique twist

KitKats are sold in over 100 countries and recognized by people all over the globe, but only in Japan can you find KitKat flavors like matcha green tea, Japanese sake, and even wasabi horseradish – to the delight of many foreign visitors. Since Nestlé Japan’s launch, the company has offered more than 300 unique flavors including seasonal varieties such as red velvet for Valentine’s Day and pumpkin pudding for Halloween.

Sake-flavored KitKats | © Luke Standridge / Flickr

High-quality sweets

The KitKats found in Japan aren’t your everyday drugstore chocolates either. With its ‘regional souvenir’ series, Nestlé Japan focuses on the local flavors of various cities and prefectures for a gourmet touch. Hokkaido melon flavored KitKats filled with mascarpone cheese represent the famous sweet melons and creamy dairy produced in Japan’s northernmost prefecture, while beni imo KitKats from Okinawa highlight the purple sweet potatoes that are a famous food of Japan’s southwestern islands.

At the ‘KITKAT Chocolatory’ specialty shops located in high-end department stores, you’ll even find exclusive flavor combinations like chili and passion fruit or pistachio and grapefruit crafted by Yasumasa Takagi, one of the premier pâtissiers of Japan.

KitKat Chocolatory specialty store | © Guilhem Vellut / Flickr

An ideal souvenir

KitKats in Japan are sold in packs of small, individually sized sweets thanks to the Japanese custom of omiyage gift-giving, where people are expected to buy small, typically food-based souvenirs from the places they visited for their family and coworkers.

For foreign tourists in Japan, KitKats are a highly recognizable and reasonably priced souvenir that’s easy to bring back from their travels for friends and loved ones back home.

Conveniently packaged for sharing | © Fried Toast / Flickr

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