Alfred Ritter GmbH & Co. KG is a company whose headquarters is located in Waldenbunch, Germany. The company produces a brand of chocolates which is known as Ritter Sport was started by Alfred Ritter and his wife Clara Ritter. The brand originated in the year 1912 with the aim of bringing the drink of royalty to the masses.
For over a hundred years now Ritter Sport has been producing chocolates and popularising authentic German flavours all over the world. The brand has almost become synonymous with Germany itself. Today the company has spread in over 70 countries of the world and produces a ginormous range of chocolates along with entertaining chocolate lovers with its Museum and Popup Chocolate Store.
From the History of the Company
The year was 1912 when Alfred Eugen Ritter and Clara Ritter founded the Alfred Ritter GmbH & Co. KG company. The company began as a chocolate and confectionery factory at the Innere Moltkestraße in the Stuttgart district of Bad Cannstatt. It was at this time when first of the Ritter chocolates were created and then sold in the market.
In a matter of few years the company began to grow and its brand, Ritter Sport gained popularity amongst the masses. By the year 1926 the company was operating with 80 employees and it has been achieving all the marked thresholds by the company proprietors. With the growing demand and the aim to become more efficient producers, the company moved out of the manual production and then internalised industrial operation as a mode of production. 1926 was also the first time when they purchased their first lorry.
1930 was a rather significant year in Alfred Ritter GmbH & Co. KG’s history. Since the operations were growing faster which was supported with an exponentially increasing demand, they had to move into a much larger facility. Moreover, their then factory at Bad Connstatt could not have supported this need of their hence they had to shift into idyllic Waldenbuch. Most of their employees who posed skills and were essential for the company, they were made to commute using busses between the older facility at Bad Connstatt and the new facility at Waldenbuch.
Two years later the company came up with the chocolate square. These chocolate squares were sold under the brand name Ritter’s Sport Chocolate. Clara Ritter, one of the original proprietors proposed the idea of a square chocolate bar which could fit anyone’s pocket and thus be easy to carry. She was reported saying, “”Let’s make a chocolate bar that fits in everyone’s jacket pocket without breaking and weighs the same as a normal long bar”. Alfred Ritter GmbH & Co. KG immediately approved of the idea and they then went on with the new design. Furthermore, in the due course they came up with the long bars, boxes of chocolates, Easter and Christmas items.
With the emergence of the Second World War the company had to halt its production facilitates and the chocolates thus seemed to disappear for a while. During the War chocolates were rationed and it was not until the 1950’s when the company could resume its operations when the rationing stopped. There were indeed difficulties that the company faced. They also lost one of their pioneers Alfred Eugen Ritter who died at the age of 66 in 1952. He was succeeded by his son Alfred Otto Ritter. Under Alfred Otto Ritter’s leadership the company focused more on the chocolate square. Initially produced items such as the long bars, boxes of chocolates, the hollow chocolate figures and the seasonal items were removed in the due course from the production range. A lot of efforts were made in the building and development of the Ritter Sport brand. In the 1960’s the square chocolate was presented in a brown cellophane wrapper which carried the prominent Ritter Sport logo.
1970 is another important year in the history of the company. It was in this year that the company received a national recognition. The year also saw the company bringing out its Ritter Sport Yoghurt. It was the company’s first chocolate flavoured yoghurt in production. Also the television saw the first premier of the advertisement which carried the Ritter Sport brands memorable slogan: “Quality. Chocolate. Squared”.
Around the mid of the 1970’s Alfred Otto Ritter introduced the Colourful Palette. It was a revolutionary measure and a bold decision on Alfred Otto Ritter’s part where each variety of the Ritter Sport was marked with a characteristic, brighter colour. These colourful labels were meant to be in sync with the emergence of the colour television. The advertisements of these chocolates carried a line which goes like this: “Everything is becoming more colourful, more cheerful, more modern, more active – including chocolate”.
Another interesting development came in the year 1976 when the snap-open packs were invented. “The pack with the snap that’s the packet in the pocket” – was the line which these packets carried. They wrappers of these chocolates were specially sealed and were designed to snap-open completely. These wrappers made the Ritter Sport Brand stand out completely and they were also marked by these characteristic features.
With the death of Alfred Otto Ritter the company was managed by his wife Marta. In 1978 Alfred Ritter GmbH & Co. KG moved into the hands of the third generation of the family – Alfred Theodor Ritter and his sister Marli Hoppe-Ritter. They are part of the Advisory Board of the company.
The company evolved and many new verities were introduced. For instance in 1982 a whole range of 100g square Ritter Sport Minis were brought into the market. In the 1990’s the company founded CACAONICA which was its agroforestry project in Nicaragua. This project was meant to support the local small farmers so that they can achieve sustainability in the production of cocoa along with an improved standard of living of the families who are dependent on agriculture. Preservation of the rainforest was also one of the main agendas of the program. The company is also the first one in the whole of the confectionery industry to participate successfully in the Eco Management and Audit Scheme. The company has also implemented many environment protection and friendly schemes which are a part of its comprehensive management system.
When the company entered into the new millennium they decided to construct their own power station. This black type thermal power station which was also connected to the grid managed to produce 30 % of the company’s electricity requirements and also satiated approximately 70% of its heat needs.
The year 2004 is also considered very important because Ritter Sport was making its global presence felt. It not was able to reach to over 70 countries of the world. The very next year in 2005 Alfred Theodor Ritter became the Chairman of the company. The same year the Ritter Museum along with the extended RITTER SPORT ChocoShop were created. These centres were meant to showcase the company’s illustrious history and also their love for chocolates to the world.
Within the next two years the company introduced The Classic Alpine Milk, Yoghurt, Whole Hazelnuts and Praline, along with organic chocolate varieties in April 2008. In 2010 the company opened COLOURFUL CHOCOWORLD of RITTER SPORT in Berlin. Here the visitors can experience chocolates like never before. It is a 10000 metre squared facility full of chocolate and creativity.
2012 marked the 100th anniversary of the company. So, the company decided to let the whole nation be a part of their celebration. They came up with what was called Colourful Chocolate Tour which was a fantastical experience full of chocolates. This tour reached 19 cities in Germany between the months of March and September of 2012.
Following is a list of some of the chocolates that the company produces:
- Vollmilch: These are plain milk chocolates which carry the Royal Blue Wrapper.
- Schoko-Duo: They are available in two versions: plain milk chocolate and white chocolate. They carry the signature royal blue wrapper which has the chocolate bar on the outside.
- Dunkle Vollmilch: They are plain medium dark chocolates which contain 40% cacao and are wrapped in azure blue.
- Halbbitter: The classic plain dark chocolate which contains 50% cacao and wrapped in the traditional Burgundy wrapper.
- Edelbitter: Another classic which contains 71% cacao – it is the plain dark chocolate wrapped in a pink wrapper.
- Knusperkeks: These are milk chocolates which come with a butter biscuit and are packed inside a brown wrapper.
- Pfefferminz: It carries the peppermint filling inside the chocolate.
- Joghurt: It is the Yogurt.
- Erdbeer Joghurt: This milk chocolate has a strawberry and yogurt filling,
- Voll-Nuss: They are milk chocolates with whole hazelnuts inside. The covering is brown in colour and has hazelnut-Patterns.
- Dunkle Voll-Nuss: A traditional dark chocolate with whole hazelnuts. They are wrapper is dark brown in colour and it also has hazelnut patterns.
- Weiße Voll-Nuss: A traditional white chocolate with whole hazelnuts. They come in a creamy white wrapper with hazelnut patterns.
- Knusperflakes: A revolutionary verities of milk chocolates which come along with corn flakes in a golden yellow wrapper.
- Voll Erdnuss: Whole peanuts which come with milk chocolate and an orange covering.
- Ganze Mandel: Whole almonds in milk chocolate and a dark green wrapper.
- Marzipan: These are dark chocolates with marzipan centre and a red covering.
- Cocos: Flakes of coconut located right in the centre with milk chocolate on the outside and a silver wrapper.
- Trauben-Nuss: Inside the carmine red wrapper of this chocolate you can find raisins and hazelnut pieces with milk chocolate.
- Rum Trauben Nuss: Delicious milk chocolate with raisins which are soaked in rum and hazelnut pieces wrapped in crimson red covering.
- Cappuccino: A brilliant milk chocolate carrying cappuccino cream covered in an amber coloured wrapper.
- Alpenmilch: It is a special milk chocolate which comes with high proportions of alpine milk in a sky blue wrapper.
- Nugat: These are milk chocolates which come with hazelnut-nougat centres.
- Feinherb à la Mousse au Chocolat: Chocolte mouse filled inside the dark chocolate in a bistre wrapper.
- Williams Birne Trüffel: Poire Williams pear brandy mousse filled inside the dark chocolate.
- Karamel Nuss: It is milk chocolate that comes with butter caramel cream dropped hazelnuts and crispy rice.
- Haselnuss: These are milk chocolates which come with chopped hazelnuts.
- Neapolitan: This medium dark orange packaging contains milk chocolate and neapolitan wafers, made with a hazelnut cream filled wafers and praline.
- Noisette: It is hazelnut-flavoured milk chocolate which comes in a light green wrapper.
- Kakao-Mousse: Alpine Milk Chocolate stored inside whipped cream.
- Kakao-Keks: A cookie centred dark chocolate.
- Karamell: Caramel filled inside milk chocolate in an orange wrapper.
- Olympia: These are milk chocolates which come with yoghurt, honey, and glucose.
- Honig Salz Mandel: These are milk chocolates which contain salted almonds and honey in an orange covering.