German authorities claim that new Ritter Sport Cacao y Nada bar isn’t actually chocolate

Ritter Sport chocolate bar on white background
Photo: Sean Gallup / Staff (Getty Images)

Last week, we reported on a dubious lawsuit that hinged on Subway’s equally dubious tuna salad. Now another food product is embroiled in an ingredient-based legal battle. The Guardian reports that German regulators forbade chocolate manufacturer Ritter Sport from calling its latest creation a “chocolate bar.” Why? Because it doesn’t contain sugar.

Ritter Sport produces chocolate near Stuttgart, Germany, which means the brand must follow Germany’s strict Kakao-Verordnung, or “chocolate ordinance.” The ordinance requires that products labeled as “chocolate” contain cocoa mass, cocoa powder, cocoa butter, and sugar. But Ritter’s new bar, called Cacao y Nada (cocoa and nothing) is 100% cocoa. Instead of sugar, the bar is naturally sweetened with cocoa juice—which is why German food regulators say that Cacao y Nada does not technically fit its definition of chocolate.

“It is absurd that a chocolate, which is totally made out of cocoa and does not need any added sugar, cannot be called chocolate,” Ritter Sport CEO Andreas Ronken told German media. “If sausages can be made out of peas, chocolate should not have to have sugar in it,” Ronken said. It took me a second, but I think I follow the argument.

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For now, Ritter Sport has agreed to bring out the Cacao y Nada bar under the label Kakaofruchttafel, or “cocoa-fruit bar.” But the brand still plans to raise a ruckus with German authorities. “Our food laws need to keep up with innovations like this,” Ronken said. “They must wake up—this is the new reality.”

Staff writer @ The Takeout, joke writer elsewhere. Wrangling dogs and pork shoulder in Chicago.

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DISCUSSION

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Does that mean they don’t have Sugar Free Chocolate in Germany?

German officials being sticklers for bureaucratic detail aside (and somebody will say this is the kind of thing that drove the UK out of the EU), is this the same as the Subway case? I’m not clear why The Takeout was so ready to frame the action as being dubious? Subway have previous form when it comes to products being labeled in a misleading fashion. Have you grabbed a tuna melt and run it down the lab lately? (Coincidentally, a restaurant in these parts has just been fined because their lobster special was missing a key ingredient.)