COLUMN: In defense of the Kit-Kat


Dan Hahn

Dan Hahn is a graduate student studying English and can be reached at 217-581-2812.

Dan Hahn, Columnist

I don’t particularly care if the Kit Kat is loved or hated. But, my fellow columnist Will Padgett’s opinion that “Kit Kats are God-awful” paints an incomplete picture of the candy bar, and the record needs to be put straight.

First off, of course contemporary consumers will scoff at the weak Kit Kat candy bar. Wafer and milk chocolate are certainly not a powerful confectionary combination by modern standards.

Though it was a childhood favorite of mine, if I were to lapse my vegan lifestyle for a candy bar confection, Kit Kat would be high on the list. I have quite fond memories of the Kit Kat, and it’s not so much the candy bar as the packaging.

The old packaging housed the candy bar in foil, and red paper wrapped around it was held together, perhaps, by a little bit of glue. The Reddit community /r/nostalgia has an 8-year old discussion lamenting the discontinuation of the old Kit Kat packaging.

In February 2011 blogger everythingyoudoisaballoon wrote Nestlé HQ requesting they bring back the old packaging. Nestlé explains that “[t]he [new] flow-wrapper keeps Kit Kat at its optimum freshness for more than three times longer than the foil and paper-strap.”

While I certainly prefer the old packaging, the modern Kit Kat wrapper serves as a reminder that simpler days are behind us. Simpler days when freshness, sanitation, and profit were not as high a priority for giant corporate candy bar manufacturers.

Any discussion about Kit Kat must include the diversity of flavors coming out of Japan. The “Kit Kats in Japan” Wikipedia article boasts a comprehensive list of over 70 Kit Kat varieties including high end flavors such as orange-chocolate rum or sake and white chocolate.

If the standard flavor doesn’t inspire you then by all means don’t buy it, but perhaps there is a flavor from Japan that would appease your discriminating palette?

Finally, if there was a vegan Kit Kat bar widely available in the United States I would purchase it, and you can be certain that I would hand it out as a treat on Halloween.

The vegan blog Vegnews reported in August that the vegan Kit Kat is being produced in “Nestlé’s confectionery site in Hamburg, Germany and sold in 15 countries across Europe.”

The “rice-based formula” does not sound particularly appetizing, but the article goes on to mention that Nestlé is partnering with McDonalds to create a vegan McFlurry:

“The McFlurry is made with a base of dairy-free soft serve—which McDonald’s introduced in Germany in 2020—along with pieces of vegan KitKat V and sweet strawberry sauce.”

Sounds good to me.

So, let there be no debate or imbroglio over the Kit Kat. Sure, it’s not a great candy bar, but it has a storied history and cult following of its former packaging.

Further, the Kit Kat as a genre is more impressive than the sum of its wafers, and has inspired dozens upon dozens of experimental flavors.

And Finally, the vegan Kit Kat and McFlurry products are demonstrating a future where animal cruelty and exploitation are removed from confectionary candies and fast foods.

If Ian Bogust defines an imbroglio as “an intellectual kind of predicament, a muddle to be sure, but a muddle wearing a monocle”, then let us put down our monocles and loosen our belts. The Kit Kat just isn’t that bad.

Dan Hahn is an English composition/rhetoric student. He can be reached at [email protected] or 217-581-2812.