Regulation

Ritter Sport’s new chocolate bar made from 100% cocoa falls foul of German food regulators

By Anthony Myers contact

- Last updated on GMT

Ritter Sport's Cacao y Nada, made from 100% cocoa, can't be called chocolate in Germany. Pic: Ritter Sport
Ritter Sport's Cacao y Nada, made from 100% cocoa, can't be called chocolate in Germany. Pic: Ritter Sport

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The German family-owned company Alfred Ritter GmbH & Co. KG, makers of Ritter Sport, is at loggerheads with the country’s regulators over a new chocolate bar that can’t be labelled chocolate because it contains no sugar.

Ritter’s new bar, called Cacao y Nada (cocoa and nothing) is made from 100% cocoa and sweetened with cocoa juice extracts from the pulp naturally found in cocoa beans in an innovative process on its own El Cacao plantation in Nicaragua.

'Absurd'

The juice of the cocoa fruit was first approved as a foodstuff by the EU in 2019. But there is a problem in Germany: chocolate without any added sugar cannot be called chocolate in Germany. “That’s absurd,​” said Ritter Sport CEO Andreas Ronken.

He said the new bar is naturally sweet, tasty and is made from 100% cocoa fruit. “Our food legislation needs to keep pace with innovations such as this. If sausage can be made of peas, chocolate does not need any sugar. Wake up! This is the new reality​,” he said.

Ritters Cacao y Nada variety contains nothing but cocoa - cocoa mass, cocoa butter, cocoa powder and cocoa juice. Unlike previous chocolate varieties with 99 or 100% cocoa content, it does not have a bitter taste but is as pure and sweet as good chocolate should taste, the company, which has been making chocolate at its Stuggart factory for more than a century, claimed.

Confectioners who break the ‘cocoa rule’ in Germany risk being fined and banned from selling their product.

'Cocoa-fruit bar'

The company told German media it has provisionally agreed to bring out the new bar under the label Kakaofruchttafel or ‘cocoa-fruit bar’, but has said it will put pressure on the authorities to change its rules.

A limited number of Cacao y Nada – the 'chocolate' that must not be called chocolate – will be available in the Ritter Sport ChocoShop in Waldenbuch, Germany, and online from early February in 57g square bars (retail price of €4.99).

Ritter’s new square-shaped innovation will also be available, where regulations permit, as a limited edition in EU countries only. It will not be sold in the UK due to the concentrated juice from the cocoa pulp only being permitted in products sold in the EU and USA at present.

In line with Ritter Sport’s sustainability commitments, the limited edition bar will be hand wrapped in a paper wrapper, sealed with a paper sleeve and a paper sticker.

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