Ritter Sport, the square range of chocolate bars, celebrates 75 years of yum this year. But why is Ritter Sport called Ritter Sport? And why are they always square?
The Ritter bit is relatively straight forward.
Alfred Ritter and his new wife Clara founded a small shop in Stuttgart-Cannstatt back in 1912 making chocolates. Shortly afterwards they founded the company ALRIKA (Alfred Ritter Cannstatt) and moved to Waldenbuch, a small place between Stuttgart and Tübingen, in 1930. It is still an independent family-run company in fact.
In 1932, Ritter Sport was launched.
Now the Sport bit doesn't have anything to do with actually doing sports. It actually refers to sports jackets.
The typical square chocolate bars were Clara's idea, who wanted to create a chocolate bar that would fit into every jacket pocket without breaking, hence the shape.
The local football team would pop into the store to buy post-match chocolate but the long bars just wouldn't fit into their jacket pockets. Ritter Sport was born.
Alongside Milka, Ritter Sport is Germany's favourite chocolate range, both brands enjoy about 25% of the market.
About 2.5 million bars are produced in their factory daily by the around 800 employees.
One thing many will notice is the standard packaging colours according to type. This came about in the 1970s when Ritter chose to start changing the packaging from the then usual brown or gold towards colourtyping. And the idea caught on with other manufacturers. That's why in most brands blue wrapping is for milk chocolate, green for nut, red for marzipan...
The square shape is actually patented at the German Patent & Trademark Office, rather unusually in fact.
Traditionally geometric shapes are excluded from such protection, unless a brand can prove that the buying public only associates their brand with that particular shape.
After tons of research and consumer tests showing customers square bars, with neutral packaging, no packaging, even with Milka lilac packaging with a cow on it, the public still saw square as equalling Ritter Sport.
Love Ritter Sport? Then why not visit the factory? Or more importantly the Schokoladen? Info here And yes it is true, they really do sell off the broken bars for cheap. Happy chomping!