Exports sweeten chocolate industry results

Consumption of chocolate per person reached nearly 12 kg last year Keystone

Swiss chocolate manufacturers made record sales of SFr1.53 billion ($1.23 billion) last year as a result of a marked increase in exports.

This content was published on February 7, 2007 - 12:20

But demand at home stagnated and imported products now amount to 30 per cent of all chocolate consumed in Switzerland, according to the Union of Swiss Chocolate Manufacturers.

Sales increased by just over four per cent while sales by volume grew nearly five per cent, according to a statement by Chocosuisse on Wednesday.

Exports rose by more than eight per cent to 98,727 tonnes last year and account for 58.7 per cent of the Swiss production. Neighbouring Germany remains the main export market ahead of France, Britain and the United States.

"Swiss chocolate was particularly successful in Belgium, Italy, Norway, Poland and Sweden, as well as in Brazil and Canada," the statement said.

As in 2005, figures were less sweet on the domestic front. Sales in volume terms remained flat and grew only marginally to 69,523 tonnes last year. The overall value dropped by 1.2 per cent to SFr793 million.

Hot summer

The continued favourable consumer climate had a positive impact on the domestic market, including the segment of chocolate products for tourists, but the industry noted a dip during two hot summer months.

Sales of Christmas and Easter specials were particularly successful, Chocosuisse said.

However, the industry said foreign cocoa producers are increasingly eating into the Swiss market. In 2006 imported products made up 29.8 per cent, up 2.4 per cent on the previous year and nearly ten per cent on 2000.

Consumption per person increased by about three chocolate bars to 11.9kg, but is still short of the record 12.3kg in 2001.

In its outlook for 2007, Swiss chocolate manufacturers said they aimed to further boost exports through high quality products and maintain their share of the Swiss market.

swissinfo with agencies

In brief

Chocosuisse was founded in 1901 and represents the interests of the Swiss chocolate industry, including brand names such as Lindt and Cailler.

The organisation has 18 members, companies involved in manufacturing chocolate products, as well the largest importers of finished products.

The main products made by Chocosuisse members are chocolate bars (51%), confectionary (20.8%), semi-finished products (18.5%), small-format products (5.2%) and others including Christmas and Easter products (4.5%).

The main exports are Germany (19.5%), France (12%), Britain (10.4%) and the US (7.6%).

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Key facts

Chocolate industry 2006:
Sales: SFr1.53 billion (+4.1%)
Sales by volume: 168,250 tonnes (+4.9%)
Exports in terms of volume rose by 8.1%
Domestic market sales by volume grew by 0.8%

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