July 3 2024  |  Confectionery & Fine Foods

Ritter Sport sweetens travel retail with innovation and sustainability

By Wendy Morley

Ritter Sport’s latest “Greetings from...” campaign exemplifies the industry trend towards increased personalization and sense of place

Ritter Sport is carving out a unique niche in travel retail confectionery with its innovative product designs, engaging marketing strategies and unwavering commitment to sustainability. The German chocolate maker is not just selling squares of chocolate; it’s offering travelers a taste of destination, a burst of music and a bite of responsible indulgence.

The activation aims to capture the attention of travelers at the point-of-sale through colorful and visually appealing displays featuring iconic destinations

Personalizing the point of sale

Ritter Sport’s latest “Greetings from...” campaign exemplifies the industry trend towards increased personalization and sense of place. This activation strategy aims to transform the point-of-sale (POS) experience into a memorable journey for travelers.

“At the point-of-sale, the activation captures the attention of travelers through colorful and visually appealing displays featuring iconic destinations,” explains Kerstin Krüger-Worreschk, Global Travel Retail Marketing Manager at Ritter Sport. “These eye-catching designs not only draw visitors from a distance but also captivate attention in the destination-specific personalized Ritter Sport mini tower.”

The campaign goes beyond mere visual appeal, however. Emphasizing the strategic product placement, Krüger-Worreschk, says, “Alongside these specially themed chocolates, the display also features other Ritter Sport travel retail exclusives. This tailored presentation not only enriches the shopping experience by evoking a personal connection to specific locales but also incentivizes purchases through its collectible and gift-worthy design.”

To further enhance engagement, Ritter Sport is leveraging digital assets. “The point-of-sale activation can be supported by a ‘tasty chocolate’ clip at a digital display, creating ‘yummy moments’ that entice shoppers through appetite appeal,” she adds.

Ritter Sport's Ignacio Aznar and Kerstin Krueger-Worreschk at the company's exhibition space at TFWA Asia Pacific 2024

A fresh look

Ritter Sport’s commitment to innovation was on full display at the recent TFWA Asia Pacific exhibition in Singapore. The company unveiled a redesigned, colorful “feel-good” stand that aimed to create a living room-style space, marking a significant departure from traditional confectionery displays.

“Ritter Sport’s redesigned exhibition stand attracted the attention of customers, new customers and even competitors,” Krüger-Worreschk comments. “The new approach to product presentation effectively put new products in the spotlight by giving them their own stage, greatly increasing their visibility.”

This fresh approach serves a dual purpose, as Krüger-Worreschk explains, “The redesign of the stand with the colorful, modern and clear travel retail design also serves as a preview of the new POS look.”

Ritter Sport Fruity Yogurt Mix (160 grams) is available in three flavors; with these new varieties, the brand is responding to the gap in the market for fresh and fruity mixes

Evolving preferences

As consumer tastes evolve, Ritter Sport is staying ahead of the curve, particularly in the Asia Pacific (APAC) region. The company has identified a growing preference for fruity and yogurt flavors, leading to the introduction of new travel retail exclusive varieties.

“Ritter Sport’s decision to introduce exclusive yogurt and berry varieties in travel retail is well-supported by our assortment mixes data from the APAC area, which confirms that these flavors and smaller format chocolates perform very well in this region,” says Ritter Sport Global Brand Manager Nicole Miltenberger.

Elaborating on the strategic thinking behind these new offerings, she says, “Acknowledging a gap in the travel retail assortment for fresh and fruity flavor mixes, we launched these new varieties. These chocolates not only cater to the regional taste preferences but also emphasize quality and natural ingredients – with 100% certified cocoa and no added flavorings – meeting the demand for high-quality, natural confectionery products in travel retail.”

Ritter Sport Summer Selection 5×100 grams; the brand's new Tasty Vibes concept uniquely combines chocolate with music themes

Tasty Vibes: a symphony of chocolate and music

In a bid to stand out in the crowded travel retail space, Ritter Sport has launched its innovative Tasty Vibes concept, which uniquely combines chocolate with music themes. This approach is designed to create a multi-sensory experience that resonates particularly well with younger consumers.

Explaining the concept rationale, Miltenberger shares, “Music and chocolate both have a strong emotional impact. Music evokes memories and emotions and creates a backdrop that enhances the sensory experience of chocolate enjoyment. By associating each flavor with a different musical genre, the product appeals not only to the taste buds, but also to the emotional and nostalgic senses, making the experience even more memorable.”

This strategy is particularly effective in targeting key demographics in travel retail. “Travelers, including Gen Z, are often looking for unique and appealing products, either for personal enjoyment or as a gift,” she notes. “Integrating music themes with different chocolate flavors creates a novel product that stands out. This strategy not only attracts customers seeking something different but also resonates with younger consumers, particularly Gen Z, who value innovation and themed product.”

Nicole Miltenberger, Global Brand Manager, Ritter Sport

Beyond sourcing

Ritter Sport’s commitment to sustainability is deeply ingrained in every aspect of its operations, from cocoa-sourcing to retail presentation. Since 2018, the company has sourced only certified sustainable cocoa for its entire range, setting an industry benchmark as the first major chocolate manufacturer to do so.

“As of 2023, 90% of this cocoa is derived from long-term partnership programs with producer organizations in cocoa-producing countries,” Miltenberger states. “Annually, Ritter Sport invests approximately seven million euros in these programs in West Africa and Central and South America, enhancing the resilience of cocoa production and improving the lives of farmers and their families.”

The company’s sustainability efforts extend beyond sourcing. In Nicaragua, Ritter Sport operates its own El Cacao farm, which Miltenberger describes as “a climate protection project.” The farm spans 2,500 hectares, with 1,200 hectares dedicated to sustainable cocoa cultivation using an agroforestry system, while another 1,200 hectares of forest and wetlands are preserved in their natural state.

Ritter Sport has also made significant strides in reducing its environmental impact. “Ritter Sport has been a climate neutral company since 2020, following the GHG Protocol, with a clear path toward achieving complete climate neutrality by 2025,” she says. The company’s strategy includes avoiding, reducing, and compensating for emissions, supported by investments in renewable energy sources.

In packaging, the brand is leading the charge towards more sustainable solutions. "We utilize single-material packaging made from polypropylene to facilitate recycling, moving away from composite materials,” Miltenberger says. Ritter Sport also transitioned all its outer packaging from plastic to paper in 2021. "We avoid plastic labels or plastic glue closures wherever possible," she adds.

As Ritter Sport continues to innovate and expand its presence in travel retail, it’s clear that the company’s commitment to quality, creativity and sustainability is resonating with consumers and retailers alike. By offering travelers a unique, responsible and emotionally engaging chocolate experience, Ritter Sport is not just selling confectionery – it’s creating sweet memories that last long after the journey ends.

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