I do like peanutty things a lot. It’s a little bit odd, because I’m not overly mad on peanuts or peanut butter. Sure, they’re nice, but they’re nothing special. But Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups are awesome, if rather too salty. And Peanut Lion bars were my favourite chocolate bar ever.
I also have a soft spot for Kit Kats. They are ridiculously simple: wafer and chocolate — no frills. And while it’s all very well having fancy-pants confectionary once in a while, we always revert to the basics in the long term: milk chocolate, ready salted crisps. Winner. Kit Kats fall into this basic-but-faithful category.
Like kj at newvibes.com, I can remember taking Kit Kats to school, where the foil would rip itself open in my bag. I distinctly remember Kit Kats getting mixed in with all the grime at the bottom of my bag, leading to them tasting of pencil sharpenings. But I still ate them. Kit Kats are just part of your life like that.
It’s not that Kit Kats wouldn’t work as exotic limited editions. An old favourite can be twisted inside out and it can still work: take the many different versions of Cadbury’s Dairy Milk bars you can get, or the many limited edition Walkers Crisp flavours. Indeed, Wikipedia shows that there have been far more exotic versions of Kit Kats than you might suspect.
So why have the current crop of Kit Kat ‘Editions’ failed? I have now seen two people — Neil McIntosh aswell as kj — suggest that it is all down to the fact that the old foil wrapping has gone:
[Nestlé] callously disposed of that delicious ritual about eating one – removing the paper wrapper and running your thumb down the foil to snap off the four legs of biscuit. When they got rid of the paper and foil wrappers in favour of a plastic all-in-one wrap the ritual was ruined for all – even if the new packaging did have little perforations.
The ritual lent a humble KitKat great value – it simply lasted much longer than other biscuits – but it also allowed you to regard eating one as something a little more than simply scoffing “product”. The marketing people obviously didn’t get it.
I don’t know about that. Opening a Kit Kat like that always seemed like a bit of a pain. I never open a Kit Kat that way. Perhaps this is out of habit. The Kit Kats I took to school always seemed to have their wrappers on the wrong way around, which rendered sliding your finger down the middle pointless, because the wrapper was already open there anyway.
My own suspicion is that the flavours of the ‘Editions’ were just poor. Perhaps they were rushed out too quickly without being properly trialled. But I’ve heard bad stories about them. For example, from the Post-Gazette.com article:
…by early 2005, some shopkeepers say they noticed that their regular customers were complaining the candy tasted strange or too sweet…
Colin Snead, a 24-year-old Londoner, has been a fan of KitKats since he was a kid, often stocking up on them so he can eat one with his afternoon tea. Curious about the new flavors, he tried the new strawberries-and-cream variant last year. “It was a bit sickly and sweet,” he says. “It wasn’t what I wanted from a KitKat. That was it for me. I noticed the red berry flavor, but after that strawberry one, I stuck with the normal KitKat.”
…the syrup made my teeth hurt which made me suspiscious of the sugar content.
I’ve only ever tried the peanut one. As I said, I love peanut-flavoured confectionary, but the Kit Kat Peanut was distinctly underwhelming. You shouldn’t be able to go wrong with it, but it felt like I was just eating a Kit Kat Chunky with an unevenly spread layer of cheap peanut butter on the top. It wasn’t a bad idea at all. But the execution was awful.