AFP, published Friday, June 24, 2022 at 10pm
Toblerone chocolate, whose triangular bars resemble the peaks of the Alps, will no longer be produced exclusively in Switzerland from 2023, which will force it to remove the mention “Switzerland” from its packaging.
Toblerone intends to open a production line in Slovakia at the end of 2023 “to meet the growing demand,” American agri-food giant Mondelez International, owner of the Swiss brand, told AFP in an email, confirming information from SRF. German-speaking Swiss radio and television.
Until now, the chocolate of the Swiss brand, born in 1908 in the Tobler family’s chocolate workshops, is produced exclusively in Bern, in the heart of the Alpine country.
“We are currently increasing our production capacity”, Mondelez points out, insisting that the brand also continues to invest in its plant in Bern, “the homeland of Toblerone”.
But the launch of a production line in Slovakia, where Mondelez also produces Milka and Suchard chocolate bars, will “unlock significant production capacity” at the Berne site, which will ultimately enable it to “produce millions more bars”.
With the opening of this production line in Slovakia, the brand can no longer be branded “Swiss Milk Chocolate”, however, German-speaking Swiss radio and television noted.
“For legal reasons, the changes we are making to our production require us to adapt our packaging in order to comply with Swiss legislation, and in particular to remove the mention + Switzerland + from the front of the packaging,” confirmed the brand ad AFP.
In Switzerland, the news left a bad taste in the mouth of some consumers, unhappy to see a piece of domestic production go abroad, especially for this brand that cultivates its Swiss roots. On its packaging, Toblerone affixes the famous Matterhorn, recognizable by its pyramid shape, and the Berne bear, in reference to the city’s coat of arms.
“It doesn’t matter, there are enough good Swiss chocolates made in Switzerland not to have to eat the alleged Swiss foreign chocolate,” consoled a surfer in comments left on the website of the Swiss newspaper Le Matin.
The newspaper Le Temps for its part has compiled a list of the emblematic products of the Alpine country, also no longer exclusively manufactured in Switzerland, citing Sugus sweets, Ovaltine or Milka chocolate whose cow remains Swiss, “but not the chocolate” , its tablets are manufactured in “a dozen European countries” but also “in Brazil”.
In practice, will the fact that Toblerone bars are no longer 100% Swiss in the future influence consumer choices? “For export, I don’t think it will play a role, at least not for its current consumers,” said Tobias Schlager, professor of marketing at the Faculty of Business Studies at the University of Lausanne.
The brand reaches different consumer segments, he weighs, explaining that “some like Toblerone for the taste, others for the shape, others for the packaging, and others because it is Swiss”.
If there were to be an impact, “it would be pretty weak and it won’t last,” he judges though.
Toblerone produces 7 billion bars of chocolate annually, with 97% of production exported to 120 countries.
Duty-free shops at airports are a favorite distribution channel for the brand, which sells a Toblerone bar “every two seconds,” Mondelez told AFP.
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