The Meaning of “Sport” in Ritter Sport Chocolates
By Kaye Nemec
In 1912, two chocolate lovers fell in love with each other and started the Alfred Ritter Cannstatt Confectionery Factory in Bad Cannstatt, Germany.
By 1919, Alfred and Clara Ritter were ready to take their chocolate to the world. They were very successful and within 11 years, they were already at their third location, which was in Waldenbuch, Germany. In 1932, Clara Ritter had an idea for a new kind of chocolate bar: a chocolate square. Her idea was to have a square of chocolate that fit neatly in the pocket of a gentleman’s sports jacket. It didn’t extend out of the pocket and it didn’t break during daily activities that preceded chocolate eating.
It was a huge hit with consumers and gave birth to the next generation of Ritter products.
Alfred passed away in 1952 and his son, Alfred Otto Ritter, took over the business. In 1966 Clara also passed away and Alfred Otto remained in charge of the family business. By 1960 some items in their product line had begun to fizzle out and Alfred began focusing all efforts on the square chocolate bar, officially creating the Ritter Sport brand.
By 1982, the squares were available in a variety of flavors and each flavor had a uniquely colored package. The original size square had become so popular, the family decided to introduce a new, smaller version of the original. Twenty-two years later the mini chocolate square was followed up by the chocolate cube, available in 6 different flavors.
In 2001 the “RITTER SPORT Chocolate Shop” Visitors’ Center opened in Waldenbuch, Germany. At the Chocolate shop, visitors learn all about Ritter Sport’s history and watch the chocolate get produced. The Chocolate Shop is the first part of what later became the Ritter Sport Museum, which opened in the fall of 2005. The museum stays true to Ritter’s square tradition by showcasing square contemporary art. Most of the art pieces belong to Marli Hoppe-Ritter, a co-owner of Ritter Sport. One of the main collections at the museum is titled, “Homage to the Square” and consists of nearly 600 pieces.
Clara was clearly onto something when she dreamed of the chocolate square, although I doubt she knew how many nights her dream would last or how big such a small chocolate could be.
Photos: Museum Ritter