Nestle’s Japanese Green Tea KitKats Are Finally Coming to Europe

(Bloomberg) -- European chocolate lovers are about to get an injection of Japanese culture, as Nestle SA’s green-tea matcha KitKat launches on the continent.

The confectionery brand will begin to sell the green chocolate bar in Europe this month, 15 years after it was created in Japan. The blend of imported green-tea matcha powder with cocoa butter and white chocolate will be made at Nestle’s factory in Hamburg. It will be rolled out initially in eight countries, including Germany, the U.K., Italy and Switzerland, before going wider.

Japan’s $5 billion chocolate confectionery market is Asia’s largest, according to Euromonitor International, and it is KitKat’s most popular. The green-tea matcha bar lands in the top three favorite of its 350 products in the country. Globally, KitKat accounted for more than 1 billion Swiss francs ($1 billion) of Nestle’s 8 billion francs in confectionery sales last year. It has an organic growth rate of nearly 9 percent, exceeding Nestle’s total confectionery growth of 3 percent in 2018.

Green-tea matcha is a powdered green tea that is deeply rooted in Japanese culture and is often used as part of an elaborate tea ceremony in the country. The tea has become increasingly popular in Europe in recent years, especially in matcha green-tea lattes.

“We are excited to bring one of the most iconic Japanese KitKats back home to Europe this year,” said Alexander von Maillot, global head of confectionery at Nestle.

The launch comes a year after Nestle sold its U.S. confectionery unit to Italian Nutella maker Ferrero SpA for $2.8 billion. Unloading the unit, maker of Butterfinger and Baby Ruth candy bars, demonstrated Nestle’s shift toward faster-growing categories like coffee, pet food and water.

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