The Kinder Surprise, or Kinder Sorpresa as the product is called in Italy, is one of the most popular products of the Ferrero brand (which also produces Nutella and Ferrero Rocher, among others). The idea is simple; chocolate in the shape of an egg containing a small toy for children. The toys come in a plastic capsule and sometimes consist of one piece and sometimes the toys still need to be put together with the help of illustrations. The Kinder Surprise has been incredibly popular since its introduction in 1974.
This apparently brilliant idea from Ferrero grew out of another very successful product: the Kinder chocolate bars. In the 50s Ferrero devised a separate line especially for children, the Kinder products. For the Italians it will be less obvious, but the word 'Kinder' comes of course from German and literally just means 'children', that will be clear. Ferrero simply likes simplicity. These chocolate-based products were especially conceived for children and the recipe contains a lot of milk and only a little bit of cocoa to soften their strong taste. The portions were kept so small that it became a perfect little snack for children.
Introducing Kinder Surprise
In 1974 Ferrero thought it was time to go a step further and launched the Kinder Surprise. The same chocolate as the bars, but in a different shape and with a small toy as an extra. Every year, more than a hundred pieces of new toys are invented that are released in series, so that the children can also save to have a series complete. This, in combination with the acquired fame of the Ferrero brand, ensured that the Kinder Surprise became an immediate success. And not just among children. The toy's savings factor (it is estimated that some 15.000 different toys have been made) also attract many collectors and there is a large market for exchanging and selling the Kinder Surprise toys at collectors' fairs. Make no mistake, because for some rare copies, amounts of up to € 1.000 can be requested. In 2009 a documentary by Monique Nolte about the collecting culture surrounding the Kinder Surprise was released called A bittersweet temptation. If you didn't know this 'world' yet, watching this documentary (below) will open it up to you (unfortunately not in too high quality).
Kinder Surprise: banned in America
The success of the Kinder Surprise has not been able to conquer the whole world. The surprise egg is sold worldwide except in the United States. In the United States, the sale of Kinder Surprise is not allowed due to the choking hazard of the small toys. A 1938 law prohibits the introduction of non-edible elements into candies. A few years ago an attempt was made to lift the ban on the Kinder Surprise, but unfortunately without success.