Ritter felt "vindicated" by court ruling, although watchdog will appeal

Ritter felt "vindicated" by court ruling, although watchdog will appeal

German consumer watchdog Stiftung Warentest is to appeal a court ruling supporting labelling claims made by local confectioner Alfred Ritter GmbH & Co.

A court in Munich upheld an earlier interim injunction placed on Stiftung Warentest to prevent it from publishing claims Ritter was misleading consumers by calling vanilla flavouring piperonal a "natural flavour".

However, on Monday (13 January), Stiftung Warentest said it would take its case to the Munich's higher regional court.

A spokesperson for the watchdog told just-food it still believes it is "right" but declined to comment further.

The consumer group tested 26 chocolate products containing nuts, including products from Ritter, Lindt & Sprungli and Mondelez International, plus private-label lines on sale at German retailers Aldi, Edeka and Rewe.

Stiftung Warentest argued Ritter's description of piperonal in its Ritter Sport Whole Hazelnuts line as natural was incorrect. The watchdog argued piperonal could not be produced naturally.

Flavours giant Symrise supplies the piperonal to Ritter and stated in court the ingredient comes from the Sasafrass tree. However, Symrise does not manufacture the ingredient, sourcing it from an unnamed third party.

Alfred Ritter GmbH & Co. said it felt "vindicated" by the ruling.