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Food for thought Swiss food imports are growing faster than the population

Imported mineral water has been increasingly popular in Switzerland over the last 25 years. 

(Keystone)

A government study shows that imports of food products have grown by 80% — three times faster than the Swiss population — between 1990 and 2016.

In that time, the quantity of imported food consumed per inhabitant went from 344 kilograms to 490 kg.

The figures, published Tuesday by the Federal Customs Administrationexternal link, focused on “foodstuffs” and included beverages and tobacco products in addition to food. 

Beverages and convenience foods

The increase has been strongly driven by beverage imports, which grew the most (+40%) during the time period studied. Mineral water alone accounted for a 22% increase in the total imports of food and beverages into the country.

Switzerland has also seen a rise in convenience food imports, particularly of wheat-based products such as baked goods, with an increase of 40kg per head.

The Swiss Customs Administration emphasised in its report that despite import duties for agricultural produce, fruit and vegetable imports have also increased, by 8% and 9%, respectively. 

Food and beverages, worth CHF10 billion ($10.07 billion), account for 6% of Switzerland’s total imports.


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