Ritter Sport has delayed buying a second piece of machinery from Ishida following a legal battle with German consumer group, Stiftung Warentest.
The company, part of Nagel Group, installed a 24-head CCW-R multihead weigher at its factory in Germany for its Ritter Sports Choco cubes, but plans for a second machine have been put on hold.
According to reports, Stiftung Warentest said the chocolate firm is deceiving consumers with misleading natural flavor claims on its Ritter’s Whole Hazelnut (Voll-Nuss) bar and has since been involved in lengthy court proceedings denying its vanilla flavoring piperonal was falsely labelled.
Torsten Giese, marketing manager, Ishida, told FoodProductionDaily.com the company was planning to buy a second machine working in parallel with the first multihead weigher due to increased sales of its Choco cubes and had reserved space on the factory floor but this has been delayed due to the legal case.
“This court hearing of course affects Ishida and could have a detrimental effect on our sales,” he said.
“I think Stiftung Warentest has made a mistake in claiming one of Ritter’s ingredients was not natural and it didn’t go far enough in its research.
“Nager disputed this but a ‘scare scandal’ can have a bad impact on sales and this in turn affects decisions in buying a new piece of machinery.
“A company has got to recover its costs if a production line goes down and Stiftung Warentest has damaged the reputation of Ritter Sport without true evidence.
“Nager Group has not bought a second machine from us yet but it is looking at something and it has made space on its gantry providing extra space for an expansion.”
Six chocolate varieties
Ritter Sport’s Choco cubes come in either a 176g size with 22 individual chocolates in three or four varieties or a 240g box made up of 30 chocolates in six varieties.
It needed a machine which could pack mixed varieties of chocolates into cube-shaped cardboard boxes.
The Ishida packing technology has a 24-head multihead weigher and an automatic product infeed system adapted to the ceiling height of six metres.
Each variety of choco cubes is placed in a mobile buffer container which transfers the products to one of six buffer conveyors.
The system checks the fill levels of each buffer conveyor and then the choco cubes are transported to the 24-head CCW-R multihead weigher.
Giese said the weigher is divided into six sections, with a vibration control system for an even product flow to the pool hoppers.
“If Ritter Sport invests in a second piece of equipment it could go from a six mix to an eight mix machine to increase the efficiency of the line,“ he said.
“We are now working on converting the R Range into an RV range as this would be more accurate and faster. We are hoping Ritter Sport will buy the equipment this year but we are waiting for the legal hearing and the court case to settle down.”
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