NYTimes: “Big in Japan”

Tejal Rao in a super fun, super big feature on the New York Times magazine on the Japanization of Kit Kats, a once humble chocolate from Britain:

There are three ways for a new Japanese Kit Kat flavor to make its way into the world. The classically trained pastry chef Yasumasa Takagi, a kind of Kit Kat maestro, was brought in by Nestlé as a collaborator in 2003, after the success of the strawberry Kit Kat. He may decide he wants to make a special bar and propose the new flavor to Nestlé — his first was passion fruit in 2005. The marketing team may also build a partnership with a brand, like Tokyo Banana, the locally famous cream-filled cakes on which the Kit Kat flavor is based, then ask a product-development team to experiment so they can bring a sample bar to the pitch meeting. Or the product-development teams themselves may feel inspired on a late night in the test kitchen after one too many cups of green tea and vending-machine sweets.