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New Japan Kit Kat factory opens to meet exotic flavour demand

Wasabi and Okinawan sweet potato may not be everyone’s preferred type of Kit Kat but booming demand for exotic flavours in Japan has prompted bar-maker Nestle to open a new factory.

The Switzerland-based food giant announced Wednesday that it will on August 1 open its first new Japanese Kit Kat production site in 26 years, located in the western city of Himeji.

The move was made to “respond to (the) popularity of Made in Japan” Kit Kat bars, Nestle said in a statement.

In Japan, where Kit Kat was introduced in 1973, the bar is not a typical four-fingered chocolate treat.

Aside from Wasabi, a notoriously hot condiment served with sushi and sashimi, Nestle currently offers around 30 Kit Kat flavours in Japan — raging from green tea to ginger, to Yokohama cheese cake and Kobe pudding.

Nestle said the bars made at the new Himeji site will be sold at boutique shops — a popular destination Kit Kat aficionados with unorthodox tastes — and online.

But these speciality flavours are often far more expensive than the standard version.

A special edition gold-coated Kit Kat bar introduced in 2015 sold for a jaw-dropping $16 (13.75 euros) when it first hit shelves, while an average high-end flavour currently sells for about $13.