AFP, published on Friday, June 24, 2022 at 10:00 p.m.
Toblerone chocolate, whose triangular bars recall 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 growing demand”, said the American agri-food giant Mondelez International, owner of the Swiss brand, in an email to AFP, confirming information from SRF. , the German-speaking Swiss radio-television.
Until now, the chocolate of the Swiss brand, born in 1908 in the chocolate workshops of the Tobler family, is produced exclusively in Bern, in the heart of the Alpine country.
“We are currently increasing our production capacity”, specifies Mondelez, insisting on the fact that the brand also continues to invest in its factory in Bern, “the homeland of Toblerone”.
But the launch of a production line in Slovakia, where Mondelez also manufactures Milka and Suchard chocolate bars, will “unlock significant production capacity” at the Bern site, which will eventually make it possible to “manufacture millions of bars additional”.
With the opening of this production line in Slovakia, the brand can no longer be stamped “Swiss milk chocolate”, however, noted the German-speaking Swiss radio and television.
“For legal reasons, the changes we are making to our manufacturing require us to adjust 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 to AFP.
In Switzerland, the news left a bitter taste for some consumers, unhappy to see a piece of national production going abroad, especially for this brand which cultivates its Swiss roots. On its packaging, Toblerone affixes the famous Mount Matterhorn, recognizable by its pyramidal shape, and the bear of Bern, in reference to the coat of arms of the city.
“It doesn’t matter, there are enough good Swiss chocolates made in Switzerland not to have to eat supposedly Swiss foreign chocolate”, consoled a surfer in the comments left on the site of the Swiss newspaper Le Matin.
The daily newspaper Le Temps for its part drew up a list of the emblematic products of the Alpine country which, too, are no longer manufactured exclusively in Switzerland, citing Sugus sweets, Ovaltine or Milka chocolate whose cow remains Swiss, ” but not chocolate”, its tablets being 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 segments of consumers, he weighs, explaining that “some like Toblerone for its taste, others for its shape, others for its packaging, and some because it’s Swiss”.
If there were to be an impact, “it will be quite weak and will not last”, he judges however.
Toblerone manufactures 7 billion chocolate bars a year, with 97% of production exported to 120 countries.
Duty-free shops in airports are one of the preferred distribution channels for the brand, which sells a bar of Toblerone “every two seconds”, Mondelez told AFP.