Court orders Ferrero Raffaello to count chocolates in each box rather than give total weight
A court in Germany has ordered the chocolate-maker Ferrero to count the number of sweets in each box it sells.
The German courts are well known for issuing rulings on the most minute details of every day life.
But the court in Frankfurt took the country’s love of precision to new heights this week when it ordered Ferrero to specify the number of chocolates in each box of its popular Raffaello brand it sells in Germany.
The court ruled that the Italian chocolate-maker was in breach of European Union regulations, under which the specific number of sweets inside the box must be listed on the packaging.
The case was brought by the local consumer watchdog after a complaint from an individual customer.
Ferrero currently only lists the overall weight of the chocolates inside on the packaging. In Germany, it sells Raffaello sweets in 40g, 150g and 230g boxes.
But the official consumer centre for the state of Hesse said that was not enough. “Consumers either have to be able to see the number of sweets inside, or it must be specified on the packaging, which is the only way they can judge the quantity correctly,” Wiebke Franz of the centre said.
Ferrero fell foul of the arcane regulation because its Raffaello coconut-almond chocolates are individually wrapped.
Under EU rules, chocolates and ice cream can be sold by weight provded they are not individually wrapped. But when they have their own packaging, the quantity must be specified.
The chocolate-maker argued unsuccessfully that the regulation should not apply, claiming the wrappers were “separation aids” and not packaging.
While the ruling only applies to chocolates sold in Germany, it could have far-reaching effects if the courts in other countries decide to follow it.The court ruled that if it was impractical to count the precise number in every box, the company could provide an approximate number.
Ferrero said it would appeal against the ruling. “Implementing such a ruling would overturn standard practice and have an impact on the entire confectionery industry,” the company said in a statement.
“In order to provide legal certainty for Ferrero and the industry and to reach a practical decision, the case is now before the higher regional court of Frankfurt for review.”