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The making of a KitKat

Vinay Kamath Ponda (Goa) | Updated on January 16, 2018

KitKat

Nestle’s largest chocolate-making plant in India churns out the wafer delights

If one thought a chocolate factory will be like Willy Wonka’s in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, with rivers of flowing chocolate in which you can dip, well, it’s anything but that.

You could mistake Nestle’s largest chocolate-making plant in India, in Ponda, Goa, which churns out its blockbuster KitKat, among other brands, for a chemical process plant with its gleaming steel pipes, boilers, long conveyor belts and intricate machinery.

Scientific process

Chocolate-making is scientific and not made of the romantic stuff one thinks, points out Jagdeep Singh Marahar, Factory Manager. KitKat’s manufacturing process starts with a proprietary baking process. Wafer-thin sheets of, what else but golden wafers, emanate from a long oven on belts, baked to a crisp. The wafer sheets move forward on the belt to the next stage where a layer of creamy cocoa-based praline is smacked on and from above another wafer sheet is placed on the chocolate immediately. This is repeated to add one more layer of wafer. This is then processed under controlled conditions, and then precisely cut — it could either be a two-finger or a four-finger wafer.

These wafer fingers are then coated with chocolate using a specially designed moulding process, and cooled. The last stage involves wrapping the bars in silver foil and in KitKat’s bright-red packs, all untouched by human hand, and placed in appropriate box sizes and ready to be shipped out. One of the high-speed lines in the factory can pack approximately 50 million KitKat bars a month, depending on the size/format and weight.

The two-finger KitKat was launched in the 1930s by Rowntree of York, UK, and has remained a best-selling wafer brand ever since. Nestle acquired the company in 1988. Annually, Nestle today sells enough two-finger KitKats to go round the world more than one-and-a-half times!

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