KITKAT bosses have stuck two fingers up at new figures which say the popular chocolate is no longer Britain's favourite.

The figures, which appear in The Grocer magazine, place Cadbury's Dairy Milk in the top position, with Mars second and KitKat in third place. KitKat has been the number one favourite chocolate bar for 14 years.

But today Paul Kirkwood, a spokesman for Nestle Rowntree, in York, branded the figures misleading for not taking into account their two fingered biscuit.

"It's based on what they consider to be a chocolate bar," he said.

"What they haven't done is take into account the two fingered biscuit which affects our sales considerably. As far as we're concerned the KitKat is one brand whether it's two fingered, four fingered or whatever."

But Simon Mowbray, the magazine's marking editor, said that even taking the two-fingered KitKat into account, Dairy Milk sold more.

KitKat was launched in 1935 as Chocolate Crisp, and is believed to have been named after the Kit Kat Club, an 18th century club for writers and politicians

. Since then, new variations of the brand have been launched, including the KitKat Chunky in 1999, a fantastic success which sold more than 200m in its first year.

But the firm has come under fire from traditionalists for switching from foil wrapping to plastic.

Mr Kirkwood denied the controversial move had put people off.

"People have adapted to it fairly swiftly and are now starting to realise what the benefits with products being fresher for even longer," he said.

Nestle Rowntree is now looking forward to launching its white chocolate chunky KitKat in March which looks set to be a winner.

When the limited edition orange flavoured KitKats went on sale in 1996, one shop in Darlington sold out of two boxes in two days.

The company has more variations planned but is remaining tight-lipped over what they may be.