Kinder Surprise

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Kinder Surprise is a chocolate egg that contains a toy inside a plastic shell.

Kinder Surprise, also known as a Kinder Egg or, in the original Italian, Kinder Sorpresa (sorpresa being Italian for "surprise"), is a candy manufactured by Italian company Ferrero. It was invented by William Salice (1933–2016)[1] and is one of several candies sold under the Kinder Chocolate brand. Intended for children, it is also popular with adult collectors[2] and has the form of a chocolate egg containing a small toy, usually requiring assembly.


Each Kinder Surprise egg consists of a chocolate shell, a plastic container, the contents of said container, and an external foil wrap. The chocolate shell is shaped like a chicken's egg. It consists of two layers: a milk chocolate layer on the outside, and a white chocolate layer on the inside. [3]

During the egg's production, before the halves are fused together, the plastic capsule containing the toy is placed inside. This capsule is made from thin, flexible plastic, and is often yolk-yellow. The capsule is made of two non-symmetrical, overlapping pieces: its bottom piece is almost as long as the entire capsule, and has two ridges protruding along its outer rim; the top piece is about half as long as the entire capsule, and has two corresponding ridges along its inner rim. When the pieces are pushed together, the ridges interlock and do not come apart without manual manipulation. To separate the two pieces, it is often necessary to apply pressure to the interlocking region at its opposite ends, bending it and causing the ridges to separate inside so that the halves can be pulled apart. Once the capsule is opened it can be re-closed easily by pushing the two pieces back together.

The plastic capsule contains the toy itself (either in a single piece or in several pieces requiring assembly) and at least two pieces of paper. One paper lists the "choking hazard" warnings in multiple languages. The other paper shows assembly instructions for the toy and a picture of the assembled toy (if applicable), and/or an illustration of all toys belonging to the same line as the one contained within this particular capsule. Many capsules also include a small page of adhesive decals that may be placed on the assembled toy after construction.

Once the egg is assembled in the factory, it is wrapped in a thin foil bearing the Kinder Surprise brand name and various production details. The eggs are then sold, either individually or in a boxed set of 3 eggs, or in some cases in a tray of 24 eggs. Assembly of the toys requires no additional tools, as the pieces will simply lock ("snap") together. Assembly rarely takes more than a few simple steps. Most toys can be disassembled and reassembled freely, while a few cannot be disassembled without causing permanent damage. Over the years, Ferrero have also created a variety of no-assembly toys, whether more complex toys that can be used immediately or simple character statuettes made of a single, pre-painted piece of hard plastic.[4]


Kinder Surprise originated in 1974 in Italy as Kinder Sorpresa.[5]

The toys are designed by both inside designers and external freelancers (for example the French artist André Roche based in Munich) and manufactured by many companies worldwide, such as Produzioni Editoriali Aprile, a small company based in Turin, Italy, run and founded by two brothers, Ruggero and Valerio Aprile.[1]

Kinder Eggs are sold all over the world, including the United States, where they are sometimes sold in European markets and Russian deli stores, despite a ban on their importation.[6]

A relatively new innovation, triggered by the advent of the Internet, is the introduction of "Internet surprises". Accompanying the toy is a small slip of paper containing a "Magicode". This code gives access to games at the Magic Kinder website, some for downloading, some for playing online. A second revision of the code replaced the Magicode with a QR-like version. This was later discontinued sometime in 2015 and replaced with a QR code for the Magic Kinder website.[7]

Classification and identification[edit]

Classifying and identifying Kinder Surprise toys is a rather complex exercise. There are several different lines, and a number of different numbering systems have been used over the years. Until the 1990s, the toys were seldom numbered at all, which can make identification difficult (although some early toys, especially hand-painted figurines, have a Ferrero mark). Kinder history can be broadly split into two periods: pre-2004 and post-2004. The pre-2004 toys were made by Ferrero. But in 2004, a Luxembourg-based company called MPG (which stands for Magic Production Group) took over toy production, although Ferrero continues to make Kinder Surprise chocolate.

In recent years, there have also been reproductions of older toys, which Kinder collectors frequently refer to as "recasts". These "recasts" first appeared in Poland, but soon spread to other Central European countries and eventually to Canada, Mexico, South America, Australia and New Zealand. They have very similar papers to the original releases, but the numbering is slightly different. For example, a "recast" of K93 No. 81 is simply numbered "No. 81". Both the toys and papers have this altered numbering. Recasts are not very popular with collectors, but they are nevertheless sought after by completists.[8]

Limited editions and variations[edit]

In addition to the regular collectible toys, Kinder Surprise series generally contain special limited-edition sets. These sets tend to vary greatly between countries, with many variations in toys, but more especially paper instructions, which tend to be unique to the specific countries in which the sets are released. Some sets are released in many countries, while others are only issued in one or two.

Hand-painted figurines are solid toys that generally do not require assembly. They are for younger children, but older people have been known to keep and collect the Kinder Egg Surprise toys. They are very popular with collectors.[9] They can be broadly divided into two types: animal themes and cartoon characters.[4]

Other known editions includes a mascot of Kinder Surprise (Kinderrino) which contains 7 eggs inside, an advent calendar and a pack of 5 of 5 airplanes, plus some of the variations include:

  • Kinder Surprise Maxi is a larger variation of the Kinder Surprise which includes larger toys. [10]
  • Kinder Joy has a similar external shape to the Kinder Surprise, but is internally divided into two halves. One half contains milky cream, cocoa cream, and two crispy cocoa wafer balls with cocoa sprinkles, and the other half contains a small toy, but like its counterpart, Kinder Surprise, the toy will be typically requiring some assembly.[11] This can be found in countries which are in tropical climate (as well as in some parts of Europe), due to the fact that importing Kinder Surprise eggs to those countries will melt.[4] In December 2017, the Kinder Joy was made available in the United States, marking the first time since the international ban that the States have allowed a Kinder product to be sold to the general public.

Safety concerns[edit]

United Kingdom[edit]

In 2000, three families who had lost children to choking on toys inside edible eggs campaigned for the products to be withdrawn from the European Union.[12] Three children worldwide have died from choking on parts of the Kinder toy surprises after they had eaten the chocolate egg; another was attributed to another manufacturer’s product.[13][14]

Defenders of the chocolates said that these had been unfortunate fatalities. This was discussed in the UK House of Commons[15][16][17] and also by the UK Department of Trade and Industry which said, "The child’s tragic death was caused by the ingestion of a small part of the egg’s contents. Many other products and toys with small parts are available in the market place. If we were to start banning every product that could be swallowed by a child, there would be very few toys left in the market”.[18]

United States[edit]

The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act prohibits confectionery products which contain a “non-nutritive object”, unless the non-nutritive object has functional value.[19] Essentially, the Act bans "the sale of any candy that has embedded in it a toy or trinket".[20]

In 1997, the staff of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) examined and issued a recall for some Kinder Surprise illegally brought into the US with foreign labels.[21] The staff determined that the toys within the eggs had small parts. The staff presumed that Kinder Surprise, being a chocolate product, was intended for children of all ages, including those under three years of age. On this basis, the staff took the position that Kinder Surprise was in violation of the small parts regulation and should be banned from importation into the US.[21]

Kinder Surprise eggs are legal in Canada and Mexico, but are illegal to import into the US. In January 2011, the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) threatened a Manitoba resident with a $300 (Canadian dollars) fine for carrying one egg across the US border into Minnesota.[22] In June 2012, CBP held two Seattle men for two and a half hours after discovering six Kinder Surprise eggs in their car upon returning to the US from a trip to Vancouver. According to one of the men detained, a border guard quoted the potential fine as US $2,500 per egg.[23]

In 2012, the FDA re-issued their import alert stating “The embedded non-nutritive objects in these confectionery products may pose a public health risk as the consumer may unknowingly choke on the object”.[24]

Kinder Surprise bears warnings advising the consumer that the toy is "not suitable for children under three years, due to the presence of small parts", and that "adult supervision is recommended".[25]


In May 2017, Ferrero announced that the Kinder Joy (a variation of the Kinder Surprise) would be available in the United States starting January 2018. As the Kinder Joy egg's chocolate and plastic contents are completely separated in the packaging, it does not pose a choking hazard and has been passed by the FDA for sale for human consumption to the American public.[26] They were available exclusively at Walmart stores for 30 days starting on Black Friday of 2017 before nationwide general release in December 2017.[27]


In 2013, a law passed under president Sebastián Piñera in Chile banned commercials aimed at children under 14 years as well as gifts that come with products, such as toys, children's film figurines, water-activated tattoos, plates, silverware, and other incentives to favor purchase, including Kinder Surprise.[28]

In July 27, 2016, a new Food Labeling Law started to force food producers and importers to display, on their products' packages, visible labels to warn the consumers about foods high in sugar, saturated fat, sodium, and/or calories. The same law also forbids the sale of products, with one or more of these labels, that use toys or prizes to promote their sales. Since Kinder Surprise has three of these labels (high in sugar, calories, and saturated fat), its sales were forbidden since that date. The same rule was also applied to McDonald's Happy Meal [29]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "È morto William Salice, l'uomo che inventò l'ovetto Kinder". La Stampa (in Italian). December 30, 2016. 
  2. ^ Avella, Joe (2016-12-18). "We got our hands on 'Kinder Surprise Eggs' -- the global candy favourite that's still illegal in the US". Business Insider Australia. Retrieved 2017-01-25. 
  3. ^ "Kinder Surprise Chocolate Egg (20g) – Pack of 6: Grocery & Gourmet Food – Product Details". Amazon. Archived from the original on 16 April 2017. Retrieved 16 April 2017. 
  4. ^ a b c "Kinder Merendero" (PDF). Ferrero. Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 April 2017. Retrieved 16 April 2017.  (in Italian)
  5. ^ "The Kinder Story". Kinder. 
  6. ^ "Import Alert 34-02". Retrieved 2016-11-08. 
  7. ^ Clarke, Paul (June 17, 2013). Education for Sustainability: Becoming Naturally Smart. Routledge. p. Prologue: Imagine an Alternative. ISBN 9781136487675. Retrieved 16 April 2017. 
  8. ^ "RECAST Toys 2000/2001 List!". 
  9. ^ "Kinder Surprise: Arkones Collection". Archived from the original on 2 October 2016. Retrieved 16 April 2017. 
  10. ^ "Kinder Surprise Maxi Easter Egg 220g". Amazon. Archived from the original on 16 April 2017. Retrieved 16 April 2017. 
  11. ^ "Kinder Joy: is an experience for kids taste, heart, imagination". Kinder Joy. Archived from the original on 31 March 2014. Retrieved 16 April 2017. 
  12. ^ Parents hit out at EU over tiny deadly toys. Emma Brady, The Birmingham Post (England), Sep 12, 2000
  13. ^ Mother calls for ban after girl chokes on Kinder egg. published 1998 in the Birmingham Post (archived at
  14. ^ Three-year-old French girl chokes to death on a Kinder Egg toy; Firefighters managed to resuscitate the child before she succumbs to brain damage caused by the lack of oxygen, Kate Ng, Independent, 21 January 2016
  15. ^ "Confectionery (Plastic Toys)". House of Commons. 16 July 1985. 
  16. ^ "Oral Answers to Questions - Trade and Industry". House of Commons. 6 December 1989. 
  17. ^ "Written Answers to Questions". House of Commons. 9 November 1989. 
  18. ^ UK Department of Trade and Industry Press Notice – 14 August 1985
  19. ^ 21 U.S.C. § 342 in combination with 21 U.S.C. § 331
  20. ^ Lewis, Neil A. (28 September 1997). "Giants in Candy Waging Battle Over a Tiny Toy". The New York Times. 
  21. ^ a b "CPSC and Kreiner Imports Announce the Recall of Kinder Chocolate Eggs Containing Toys". U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. 18 August 1997. Archived from the original on 11 December 1997. 
  22. ^ Black, Debra (12 January 2011). "Surprise! Border officials seize Canadian woman's Kinder egg". 
  23. ^ Lynn, Jamie. "Seattle men busted at the border with illegal candy". KOMO News. Retrieved 28 November 2012. 
  24. ^ FDA Import Alert 34-02
  25. ^ Kinder Surprise Packaging Warning labels
  26. ^
  27. ^ /
  28. ^ "En junio comenzará a regir la ley "SUPER 8": La popular barra de chocolate será "alta en" calorías, grasas y azúcar" (in Spanish). La Segunda. 17 December 2013. 
  29. ^ "Nueva ley de etiquetado marca el "fin" del Kinder Sorpresa y la Cajita Feliz" (in Spanish). Radio Cooperativa. 24 May 2016. 

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