GIMME A BREAK

Nestle’s Kit Kat lawsuit is great marketing for Kvikk Lunsj, its Norwegian rival

One of these is a clear winner.
One of these is a clear winner.
Image: EPA-EFE/Fredrik Hagen NORWAY OUT
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Quick, what chocolate treat is best described as a four-fingered wafer shape? If you’re not Norwegian, then a Kit Kat mostly likely came to mind first.

Nestlé, maker of the iconic crispy chocolate candy, has been arguing in courts across Europe since 2002 that it has the right to trademark not only the name, but also the shape of Kit Kat bar. The European Court of Justice tossed the global snack conglomerate’s appeal to an earlier ruling today (July 25), effectively saying that no, the shape of a Kit Kat may not be trademarked.

Cadbury, which has been Nestlé’s candy-coated nemesis in court over the past decade may be the legal victor here, but the real winner is Kvikk Lunsj, or “quick lunch,” a Norwegian candy bar that looks nearly identical to a Kit Kat.

Made by candy behemoth, Mondelez (parent company of Cadbury) Kvikk Lunsj lacks Kit Kat’s global recognition factor, and its numbers—Nestlé sells “more than 17.6 billion fingers” each year. Every time news from this ongoing legal battle breaks though, it gains a little more fame.

In 2017, when Kit Kat lost a similar appeal, The Guardian was inspired to conduct a taste test comparing the two chocolate bars. The Norwegian entrant won handily, beating out the Kit Kat in every category except the crispiness of the wafer itself. Just look at the packaging—Kvikk Lunsj has a retro, 1976 Winter Olympics design that feels downright wholesome.

That look isn’t just a nod to the outdoors—the bar is considered a tursjokolade, or “tour chocolate,” a bite to enjoy and energize with while skiing, hiking, or otherwise being generally rosy-cheeked and Nordic. The wrappers feature trekking maps and profiles of famous trekkers, and Freia, the Norwegian confectioner that makes Kvikk Lunsj, has a website that suggests that the rest of the world is not having nearly as much fun eating chocolate as they are in Scandinavia.

Yes, Kit Kat is known around the world for its many innovative special editions, and perhaps a candy bar that comes in every flavor from sweet potato to ruby chocolate has a special interest in trademarking its shape. It seems clear though, every time news of this ongoing legal battle breaks, a few new Kvikk Lunsj fans lace up their boots and grab a four-fingered chocolate wafer treat for the road.