Kinder Surprise (also known as Kinder Egg or Kinder Surprise Egg) consists of a milk chocolate egg surrounding a yellow plastic capsule with a small toy inside. Made by the Italian company Ferrero since 1974, Kinder Surprise was originally created with children in mind, replicating an Italian Easter family tradition in which adults give children large chocolate eggs with toys inside. However, Kinder Surprise toys have become collectible for adults as well.
Collectors often try to acquire all toys within a themed set. Some even share their egg openings on social media, or create their own toys and re-wrap them in Kinder Surprise packaging. Over 100 new toys are distributed each year. Since 1974, 30 billion Kinder Surprise eggs have been sold worldwide.
In 1968, Michele Ferrero brought up the idea with his employees of a product that could be given to children so they could have a little “surprise” every day. This idea was based on the Italian tradition of parents giving their kids large chocolate eggs at Easter. Ferrero’s first attempt to follow through with this idea was unsuccessful. Eventually, Ferrero commissioned William Salice to realize the concept. In 1974, the Italian company Ferrero began manufacturing Kinder Surprises.
Collections of Kinder Surprise toys have included
Asterix, Fantasmini, Smurfs, and Minions. Ferrero and Kinder have also partnered with various companies (Disney, Universal, etc.), institutions, and people to promote Kinder Surprise.
In the U.S., the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act prohibits confectionery products that contain a “non-nutritive object,” unless the non-nutritive object has functional value. Essentially, the Act bans “the sale of any candy that has embedded in it a toy or trinket”.
While Kinder Surprise eggs are legal in Canada and Mexico, they are illegal to import into the US. 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 “$2,500 per egg.”
Since Kinder Surprise is banned in the US, why am I blogging about them? While the candy-covered capsule toy combo violates U.S. law, the actual capsule -sans chocolate coating- is just a toy and is not illegal.
I have acquired numerous Kinder Surprise toys over the years, including many Asterix-related toys, circus toys, and some other cute items.
Where to Buy
Kinder Surprise toys are readily available on Etsy and eBay. If you are visiting Europe, you can find Kinder Surprise toys everywhere but, be warned, do not bring back unopened Kinder Surprise eggs! Eat or dispose of the chocolate coating before entering the U.S.!