(NEXSTAR) – The lyrics to the decades-old Kit Kat jingle would suggest that each individual chocolate-covered Kit Kat wafer is known as a “piece.”
But strictly speaking, that’s not the official term.
“The standard bars consist of four pieces, called fingers, and each finger can be snapped from the bar as an individual piece,” the Hershey Company writes of Kit Kat on the brand’s official website.
Though it may seem like an interesting choice, the term “finger” isn’t an altogether uncommon term for a rectangular or oblong treat. Ladyfingers, for instance, are a common ingredient in cakes or tiramisu, and the Keebler Company has long produced a brand of sandwich cookie known as Vienna Fingers. Even some companies that produce shortbread cookies or snack cakes call their products “fingers.”
What’s more unique about Kit Kat, however, is that “finger” rarely appears in the bar’s marketing materials or packaging.
Even in 1937, when U.K. candy company Rowntree’s renamed its signature candy to “Kit Kat” (the bar was previously known as Rowntree’s Chocolate Crisp upon its debut in 1935), the package advertised “4 big chocolate wafers” rather than fingers, according to wrappers obtained by CollectingCandy.com.
Kit Kat bars sold in the U.S. in later decades — the ‘50s through the early ‘70s — more readily embraced the term “finger” on their wrappers, the site’s photos appear to show.
A representative for Hershey, which produces Kit Kat for the U.S. market, was not immediately available to clarify when the term “finger” was adopted, or dropped, from marketing materials. But Nestlé — which owns the Kit Kat brand throughout the rest of the world — appears to be using “finger” much more often in its online product descriptions. (Nestlé’s website, too, is more forthcoming about the origin of the name Kit Kat, explaining that it was derived from the nickname of a man named Christopher Catling, or “Kit Cat,” who started “an 18th century Whig literary club.”)
Even upon the Kit Kat’s 75th anniversary in 2010, Nestlé proudly used “fingers” in a press release, despite terms such as “bars” or “candies” being equally appropriate — and perhaps a little less silly.
“[Kit Kat] was born 75 years ago this month,” Nestlé wrote in 2010. “Since that momentous day in 1935, Kit Kat® has firmly established itself in British culture, spreading its chocolate fingers far and wide … sold in more countries than any other chocolate brand.”