Fantastic Kit Kat facts and figures. How do you break yours?

Kit kat facts and figures

Kit Kats are huge. Well, not in absolute size terms as they were made to fit a lunch box, but in terms of being a globally recognised brand.

Billions of them are made each year, with one being consumed every 500 seconds. They are owned and produced by Nestle (who took over Rowntree) and produced by Hershey’s in the US. They have their own website, and are in a different league to some of the other biscuits I’ve looked at, like the custard cream, bourbon or Jammie Dodger.

Kit Kat History

The Kit Kat was born in York UK, back in 1935. It was made in response to a worker’s suggestion at the Rowntree factory who asked for a snack that a ‘man could have in his lunchtime’.

Kit Kat history - was chocolate crisp before being renamed Kit Kat

Originally called the Rowntree Chocolate Crisp, it was renamed the Kit Kat Chocolate Crisp in 1937 and it was only after the World War 2 it went trendy, calling itself simply “Kit Kat”. That said, it was still some time before the marketing message ‘Have a break, have Kit Kat’ came into being (1957).

It’s uncertain exactly where the name “Kit Kat” comes from, but was recorded as a term for a snack in the 1700s. The one I like best is that it came from a London meeting place called the Kit Cat Club. I have been to a Kitty Cat Club in Brighton, but there were no chocolate biscuits on show there. Certainly not.

Normally provided in red packaging, in World War 2, when the chocolate had to be changed to plain, the packaging turned blue. Things were back on track by 1949.

Kit Kat turned blue during world war 2
The blue Kit Kat

Exactly what is a Kit Kat?

The standard bars consist of two or four pieces composed of three layers of wafer, separated and covered by an outer layer of chocolate. Wafer was used to keep the costs down, so it could remain affordable to that worker who wanted it in his lunchbox.

American Kit Kats are made by the Hershey Company, while British Kit Kats are made by Nestlé. The American-made chocolate bar contains more sugar, while the British-made chocolate bar is higher in fat and cocoa, resulting in a richer, smoother flavour. American’s always have to be different.

In keeping with this lunch box idea, Rowntree’s marketed Kit Kat bars as “the biggest little meal.” However to appeal to those who preferred it as a snack, Rowntree’s also came up with the slogan “the best companion to a cup of tea.”

You can never have too many tea breaks. That concept of taking a tea break would help inspire the even more effective slogan in later years.

Going above and beyond: The many flavours of Kit Kat

Kit Kat flavours from Japan
Japan has a bizarre set of Kit Kat flavours

There are many different flavours of Kit Kat, including milk, white, and dark chocolate. Over 200 in fact, and many of them are available in Japan where Kit Kats are huge and have also become a pizza topping. Flavours tried in Japan include wasabi, sake, matcha tea, miso soup, soy sauce and Tokyo banana. Weird.

Want a big one? You can make a Kit Kat cake using Moldyfun’s exclusive cake mold…

Giant cakes can make a statement at any party. If you want it to look like the authentic bar have exclusive rights to the Kit Kat giant silicone cake mold.

Kit Kat silicone cake mold from
Giant silicone cake mold from Moldyfun

Dimensions: 1.1 cm x 25.9 cm x 9.4 cm

Other Kit Kat facts you might not know….

  1. 17.6 billion fingers are eaten across the world every year.
  2. The largest single retail outlet for is Dubai Duty Free, which sells over 1 tonne per day.
  3. Over the years, TV advertising campaigns have featured stars such as Roy Kinnear, Sue Pollard, Roy Keane, Kelly Brook and Girls Aloud.
  4. The 1989 Panda advertisement featured in Channel 4’s “100 Greatest Adverts” poll in 2000.
  5. The Chinese version is sold in a plastic bag due to the humid weather in the region.
  6. Every five minutes enough are manufactured worldwide to overshadow the Eiffel Tower, while a year’s GLOBAL production would stretch around the London Underground more than 350 times.

So there you go. Next time you put one in your lunchbox, just think of how many other people are doing the same… have a break:

1989 Kit Kat Panda commercial

The Jammie Dodger. Aka the breaking bad of the biscuit world.

Jammie dodgers facts

Now I’m going to be honest here. The Jammie Dodger isn’t my favourite biscuit. I feel it fails the dunking test, as the biscuit stays hard and the jam is always a bit too sticky. There again, what do I know? Plenty of people disagree, with the Jammie Dodger remaining one of the most popular children’s biscuits after 60 years in production.

For those who don’t know, it’s basically two pieces of circular shortbread sandwiching some sticky raspberry jam. Well not quite jam, but a jam like chemical that sticks the biscuits together like glue. There’s no custard cream game of two halves here.

Invented in Wales in the 1960s, the biscuits were made originally by Burton Biscuits. There have been several incarnations and spin-offs, notably the Choccie and Toffee Dodgers, but these newbies have never quite hit the heights of the original.

Comic sense for naming the Jammie Dodger

The Jammie Dodger got its name from Rodger the Dodger in the Beano comic. Rodger the Dodger, or Rodger Dawson to give him his real name, spends his life trying to get out of doing chores and homework. He’s been failing on that score since 1953, showing how if it’s not broken, it doesn’t need fixing.

Jammie Dodgers were named after Rodger the Dodger from the Beano
He’s eating a donut, but Jammie Dodgers are his thing

‘Jammie’ apparently comes from the UK slang word ‘Jammy’ for luck, although the official biscuit is spelt with the ‘ie’ rather than ‘y’. Not at a lot of people know that, but then it’s not going to change the world.

In 2009, Jammie Dodgers were the most popular children’s sweet biscuit brand in the United Kingdom (although 40% of the year’s sales were consumed by adults. Maybe the filled in the form. “yeah, my kids eat them all the time…”).

More interestingly they featured in Dr Who (Matt Smith, s5), where one was used to battle the Daleks as a Tardis self destruction tool, or at least until it went into Matt Smith’s mouth.

Blue Dalek : Scan reveals nothing! TARDIS self-destruct device non-existent!

The Doctor [takes a bite out of the purported self-destruct device]  … it’s a Jammie Dodger, but I was promised tea!

There’s nothing like being promised tea and not getting it.

Want to bake a Jammie Dodger cake?

Giant Jammie Dodger cakes

If you fancy making a giant Jammie Dodger cake, then use a Moldyfun’s giant silicone cake mold, also available on Amazon.

Oreo Cookies. The American dream, but global food.

Oreo cookies

Someone once promised to make me an Oreo cake for my birthday. They never did. Maybe they didn’t have the right equipment, like a cake mould, or maybe they just didn’t care. Either way, it introduced me to the Oreo cookie. Or as us Brits say, biscuit.

Oreo cookies - one of the world's favourites
Oreo cookies – a world favourite

So where do Oreo cookies come from and how do they rank in the world of tea and cake?

Actually they’re pretty much number one. Over 40bn Oreos are produced globally each year so someone likes them.

History of Oreo Cookies

Oreo cookies are American, and were launched to the public in 1912. In some respects they’re similar to the custard cream, which is a favourite in the UK. Both Oreo cookies and custard creams feature two layers of biscuits sandwiching a cream filling. Obviously being round and dark, Oreo cookies are completely different to custard creams or jammie dodgers, but their history is a more murky.

To be clear, there’s no claim the Oreo copied the custard cream. However there is a claim that the Oreo is a copy (rip-off?) of a cookie produced by Sunshine Biscuits in 1908 (the same year the custard cream was launched. Coincidence?). Both the Sunshine Biscuit (called the Hydrox) and the Nabisco (Oreo) were two chocolate discs with white cream in the middle. How lucky was that?

Anyway in the long run it was the Oreo that turned out to be the winner in this VHS vs Betamax battle, and was finally trademarked in 1913.

Oreo cookies – naming as complicated as British royal family

Although it’s widely known as the Oreo, the Oreo was born as the Oreo Biscuit. It’s full title from 1974 has been Oreo Chocolate Sandwich Cookie. However no one uses full titles nowadays, not even the British royal family, who quite happily ditch theirs when they want to live someone else.

Oreo cookies - two O biscuit discs sandwiching cream
Oreo cookies – two O‘s sandwiching cREam

Oreo is a strange name though, and no one is sure where it comes from. The early packaging was gold, so there’s a suggestion is came from the French word “or” for gold. More interesting is the idea they took the “re” from the word cream, and sandwiched it between the two ‘O’s representing the biscuit discs. Most likely a group of marketeers sat for weeks in a room discussing names, before getting bored and going back to the first one they came up with. Did they have flip charts and PowerPoint back then?

In the end Oreos got so famous that New York renamed West 15th Street between 9th & 10th Avenue ‘Oreo Way’ after the first cookie that was made at the Nabisco bakery.

Eating Oreos proves tea and biscuits as addictive as cocaine

Eating Oreo cookies poses the same issues as eating custard creams. For some, it’s a simple down in one motion. However more educated people either split them in half to go cream then no cream, or dunk and eat. Apparently women are more predisposed to splitting, but that might be an old wives’ tale.

In 2013, research from the US Connecticut College suggested that Oreos might be just as addictive as cocaine. Faculty and students were studying the effect of high-sugar/high-fat diets on lab rats, and they found that certain foods — specifically Oreos — stimulated the pleasure centres of the rats’ brains more so than cocaine or morphine. One student also observed that the rats “would break [the Oreos] open and eat the middle first.” They must have been female rats.

Just goes to prove, once you’ve had the highest quality tea and biscuits you just can’t give it up.

Making an Oreo cookie (or biscuit)

Oreo biscuits are fairly simple to make. They were made with lard until the mid-1990s, when Nabisco swapped the animal fat with partially hydrogenated vegetable oil due to growing health concerns. In 1997, Nabisco also earned kosher certification — a process that took over three years. 

Basic ingredients include sugar, flour, oil, cocoa, vanilla, high fructose corn syrup, cornstarch, salt, and chocolate. The lack of any animal products could make them vegan, if you like that sort of thing and ignore the cross-contamination potential that the company mentions on it’s website.

The ultimate – a giant Oreo cookie cake

Finally, the ultimate in Oreo cookies fans is as I said at the beginning, an Oreo cake.

Luckily, Moldyfun have a a giant Oreo Cookie Mould to make your life easier.

Oreo cookie cake can be made with a silicone cake mould
Oreo cookie cake – needs a mould?