Ritter Sport reflects on 2022 ‘beyond expectations’ as business looks forward

By Luke Barras-hill |

Ritter Sport

Left: Jan Pasold, Managing Director Global Travel Retail, Ritter Sport. Right: The all-new Ritter Sport ‘Taste the World Tower’.

Despite a 2022 characterised by volatility, economic fragility and prolonged uncertainty, the overall year was ‘very successful’ for Ritter Sport’s global travel retail division.

Jan Pasold, the man leading Ritter Sport’s expanding travel retail presence, was in an upbeat mood when he spoke to TRBusiness on camera recently.

“We are fully back on track for the vast majority of our customers and beyond 2019 results. In 2023, we can compare year-on-year again,” he revealed.

In 2022, the family-owned confectionery firm headquartered in Waldenbuch, Germany made investments in its ‘Discover Ritter Sport’ retail activations at Zurich and Frankfurt Airports fronted by mascot ‘Don Choco’.

This year, Ritter Sport launches its ‘Taste the World’ Limited Edition 100g bar as a travel retail edition for the first time and the all-new ‘Taste the World Tower’ featuring five x 100g Ritter Sport Limited Edition square bar varieties. These are presented in a colourful gift box sporting a travel-inspired design concept.

“We are fully back on track for the vast majority of our customers and beyond 2019 results. In 2023, we can compare year-on-year again.” Jan Pasold, Managing Director Global Travel Retail, Ritter Sport

Meanwhile, the Ritter Sport Mini Tower 250g range has been extended to 15 mini bars in five different flavours. These join other novelties such as the vegan tower range. This plays to a more conscious, mindful and sustainable consumption experience and is being highlighted in different regions and territories in combination with airports.

Ritter Sport

The #DiscoverRitter Sport activation at Zurich Airport in partnership with Dufry ran during summer 2022.

Confectionery, like other categories, is not immune to the current supply chain challenges that have dogged other industries, from raw material shortages and inflationary-driven cost rises to transportation and logistics bottlenecks, exacerbated by the war in Ukraine.

READ MORE: Ritter Sport to release Travel Retail Edition Vegan Tower 5x 100g set

“Be it sugar, wheat, milk, butter… a lot of raw materials have had a high double-digit [price] increase,” commented Pasold.

Ritter Sport Mini Colourful Variety.

The Ritter Sport Mini Colourful Variety.

“The supply chain challenges we had during the pandemic and afterwards, has added up.

“From a company perspective, I would say our purchasing department did very well and we never ran out of any key raw materials, so no supply chain issues in terms of products, it is more the logistics part that is still very challenging.

“Ritter did very well in 2022 to deal with these challenges. For us, the most important thing is we could supply everything.

“Ritter domestically and also in travel retail benefitted that certain key competitors couldn’t always supply, but the pricing is of course a big topic.”

Conversion is too. A TFWA ‘Confectionery in Travel Retail’ webinar in December highlighted research from m1nd-set conducted among 30,000 people in the past two years.

Virtual attendees heard that while overall impulse purchasing in confectionery had fallen during the pandemic, key indicators such as the purchase rate and amount spent have remained stable over the years.

Footfall increased slightly in 2022, while conversion decreased, revealed the research.

Interestingly, while interest in gifting confectionery reduced in Q3, the rise in purchases for own consumption and sharing was significant.

The dynamics of gifting and self-consumption were discussed during a wide-ranging conversation, which also touched on Ritter Sport’s unshakeable commitments to carbon neutrality and cocoa traceability.

READ MORE: Ritter to trumpet new LEPs, activation and sustainability ethos at TFWA WE

As mentioned, confectionery has been a resilient category for many years. However, clawing back revenue after footfall effectively vanished at airports in the wake of the pandemic remains a tricky enterprise when price points are leaner and margins decidedly slimmer than say, for example, alcohol and tobacco. This is not to mention the invariable shelf-life constraints on chocolate.



“Confectionery is a really underestimated category when we speak about LTC in general,” maintained Pasold. “I believe our category is very important to bring people into the store. We have one big advantage as a category: we are open to everyone – millennials, families, older and younger people. We as a category don’t get the space or visibility a lot of the time that we deserve […] but it is an impulse category, with people going into the store and browsing.”

“Confectionery is a really underestimated category when we speak about LTC in general; We have one big advantage as a category: we are open to everyone – millennials, families, older and younger people.” Jan Pasold, Managing Director Global Travel Retail, Ritter Sport

The dynamism of the category means retailers should be open to considering new concepts to deliver increased basket spending and average transaction values, argues Pasold, rather than simply concentrating on ‘who brings more cash to the table ’.

“You can definitely attract more people and increase conversion rates if you play the category well,” he added.

Interview conducted prior to the announcement in late December that China would restart outbound travel from 8 January.

This feature first appeared in the TRBusiness January 2023 e-zine

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