All the fame for the invention of chocolate eggs with a toy belongs to the famous Italian company Ferrero, which began production of these products in 1972. Nevertheless, the tradition of delicious children's gifts with unexpected “stuffing” from a toy or coin has existed in various countries of the world, including Italy and Russia, since ancient times.
This business idea, relatively simple to implement, turned out to be surprisingly successful: the very first batch of Kinder-surprises was immediately sold out. Nowadays, chocolate eggs and other sweets with small souvenir toys are successfully sold all over the world. The number of their manufacturers is in the hundreds, if not thousands.
A treat with a surprise, as a rule, is a confectionery made in the form of a chocolate egg from one or two layers of chocolate (usually milk and white) of various kinds and with a plastic container inside, in which there is a small toy and paper inserts with instructions. The total weight of such an egg is about 20-35 grams.
Original chocolate eggs are wrapped in foil. Domestic manufacturing companies often pack their products in cardboard boxes. Toys for such eggs are made to order and usually in other countries. So, “Ferrero” annually produces 20 series of solid figures and 150 toys-designers, which need to be assembled independently. The design of surprise inserts is developed by both our own designers working in the factory and other European partner companies. Most often, toys are made of plastic. Less common are metal and wooden figures.
The process of developing a new toy by domestic manufacturers looks like this: first, a prototype figurine is cut out of wood. It is usually larger than the “final product”. This sample with coloring sketches is sent to a foreign company, where it is scanned and a grid model is formed. The working parts of the mold are made using it, the required number of toys is cast, which are painted by hand, and this whole batch is returned to Russia.
The first production of similar products appeared in Russia in 1999. It belonged to the Landrin company, which has been producing and still producing chocolate eggs under the Petrushka trademark. At first, egg blanks were purchased abroad, and four years later, in 2003, at a confectionery factory in St. Petersburg.
About once a year, the company launches a new collection on the market with various types of toys dedicated to the same topic (as a rule, these are the heroes of one famous cartoon). Landrin cooperates not only with Russian, but also with foreign animation studios (Disney, Pixar, Marvel, etc.). One collection line has from 21 to 32 different figures, and the collections themselves are planned and developed for several years to come.
The technology for producing chocolate eggs with a surprise inside is relatively simple. Large raw milk chocolate bars are used as raw materials for the manufacture of eggs. They are crushed with a crushing machine into small granules. Then the resulting chocolate powder is poured into the melting apparatus. These boilers are equipped with a double casing - walls between which hot water circulates. All parts that are in direct contact with chocolate must be made of stainless steel.
The melting process takes place in several boilers at once: the mass of molten chocolate is distilled through pipes from one tub to another. After it reaches the desired state, it is poured into double plastic molds. The temperature of the chocolate should not be higher than 35 degrees Celsius, otherwise the egg will crumble after cooling. Chocolate-filled molds are mounted on vibrating machines. Due to the constant rotation, liquid chocolate is evenly distributed on the walls of the form.
Then capsules with toys and inserts are laid out in forms. After that, the eggs (as before, in molds) are served on a conveyor belt through a refrigerator (so-called “cooling tunnels”). This line is equipped with an integrated cooling system and can also be equipped with a water or air-cooled condenser.
Then the eggs are removed from the molds and sent to a special packaging line, where they are wrapped in foil. The productivity of such a line is 150-200 eggs per minute. Ready-made treats are packed in cardboard boxes. In a large-scale production, about 200 thousand chocolate eggs are made per day.
The peak of sales of chocolate eggs with a surprise falls on September - January (the beginning of school, school holidays, New Year holidays). In the summer, sales fall almost everywhere, except in the southern regions, where children - the main consumers of goodies - go on vacation.
To start our own production of chocolate eggs, you will need special and expensive equipment. So, for example, the Landrin factory needed about $ 8 million to create its own production in 2000, and the payback period was five years. Now the Russian manufacturer intends to open its own factory in Ukraine. The project cost is already estimated at $ 9-10 million euros (although experts believe that these figures are somewhat overstated), and the expected production volumes are up to 50 million units per year. Moreover, according to participants, the total market volume is 100 million eggs per year.
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