Alfred Theodor Ritter gains key European Candy Kettle award

Alfred Theodor Ritter, chairman of the advisory board of Alfred Ritter company behind Germany’s Ritter Sport brand, has claimed the 50th annual European Candy Kettle award, writes Neill Barston.

As the organisation noted, the senior industry figure gathered with his family at lake  Neusiedler close to Vienna, alongside company representatives to celebrate the coveted sector accolade, which recognises long-term contributions to the sector.

He was joined by former winners including Pedro Lopez Lopez and his family, Oliver and Sonja Schindler, Josef Zotter and his daughter Julia, Majlen Fazer from Finland and of course Mr. Jan Kolansky and his son Lukas from Colian in Poland, to mark the occasion.

As the Kettle Club noted, it was ‘proud to give the award to a man, who dedicated his life to chocolate and the people who work with and around it,’ with the business having seen considerable expansion over the decades since its formation back in 1912. Confectionery Production recently welcomed the business to play its part in this year’s World Confectionery Conference (see our exclusive video of the event here).

Reflecting on Alfred’s career, the European Candy Kettle Club noted that Alfred T. Ritter was born on April 1, 1953 in Stuttgart. He is a shareholder and since 2015 Chairman of the Advisory Board of Alfred Ritter GmbH & Co. KG. From 2005 to 2014, he was CEO of the family business founded by his grandparents in 1912.

As a former graduate psychologist, he practiced as a psychotherapist in Heidelberg in the 1980s, holds several positions on various foundation and supervisory boards and is a founding member, main shareholder and chairman of the advisory board of Ritter Energie- und Umwelttechnik GmbH und Co. KG. A turning point in his professional career was the reactor catastrophe in Chernobyl in 1986, as a result of which the hazelnut harvest in Turkey, which is important for Ritter Sport products, became unusable due to radiation exposure.

Against the background of this experience, Alfred T. Ritter increasingly turned to the topic of renewable energies and founded Ritter Energie und Umwelttechnik in 1988, which made him a pioneer in the field of solar thermal energy. Alfred T. Ritter, who was named “Eco Manager of the Year” in 1997, has received numerous German and international sustainability prizes such as the European-Chinese Sustainability Prize, the German Solar Prize and the B.A.U.M. environmental award. He is a recipient of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany and the Order of Merit of the State of Baden-Württemberg. In 2019 he was also awarded the German Founder’s Prize for his lifetime achievements.

Furthermore, when Ritter Sport reportedly got into a difficult phase in the early 2000s, Alfred T. Ritter himself took over as CEO. A step that he justifies as follows: “A company like this is like a family member, you can’t let them down when they’re not doing well.” He managed to put the company back on the road to success. He shared the conviction with his sister Marli Hoppe-Ritter that only a company that operates sustainably can have a future, which led to the development of the company’s on cocoa plantation, El Cacao in Nicaragua.


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