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Chocolate industry looks back on record year

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Swiss chocolate producers have reported their sweetest success ever, with sales in 2005 reaching a record SFr1.47 billion ($1.14 billion).

The Union of Swiss Chocolate Manufacturers (Chocosuisse) said a booming export market was the main driver behind a 7.5 per cent turnover increase compared with 2004.

But Chocosuisse, which represents 18 Swiss chocolate manufacturers and is based in Bern, said sales in Switzerland remained flat as a result of the saturated domestic market.

Exports in terms of volume rose by 16.6 per cent to 91.344 tonnes, with turnover increasing by 20.4 per cent to SFr663 million.

Neighbouring Germany remained the top importer of Swiss chocolate, followed by France, Britain and the United States.

Foreign countries now account for a sizeable chunk of the market for Swiss chocolate manufacturers. In total, 57 per cent of the Swiss chocolate produced was exported in 2005 compared with 52.9 per cent the previous year.

No sweet tooth

Figures were less sweet on the domestic front. Sales in terms of volume dipped by 1.2 per cent to 68,979 tonnes, indicating an unchanged per head consumption of 11.6 kilograms of chocolate last year.

In terms of value, sales went down by 1.3 per cent to SFr803 million.

“The demand for chocolate products suffered from a moderate consumer climate in Switzerland despite the recovery of the economy,” said Chocosuisse in a statement.

“However, the recovery of the tourism industry, a sector which whose effect on the chocolate industry cannot be ignored, gave the chocolate industry dynamism.”

In its outlook for 2006, Chocosuisse said it hoped to continue the progress made in foreign markets. It was counting on the improved economic conditions and the tourist sector to help Swiss sales, it added.

To attain these objects, Chocosuisse said it was, as ever, relying on its members’ “high quality products made with love and a passion for the art of chocolate-making”.

swissinfo with agencies

Chocolate industry 2005:
Sales: SFr1.47 billion (+7.5%).
Sales by volume: 160,323 tonnes (+8.2%)
Exports in terms of volume rose by 16.6%.
Domestic market sales by volume fell by 1.2%. This includes the chocolate bought by tourists to Switzerland.

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

It has 18 members, companies which are involved in the manufacture of chocolate and chocolate products, as well as the largest importers of finished products.

The principle products made by Chocosuisse members are chocolate bars (50.5%), confectionery (22.1%), semi-finished products (17.4%), small format products (5.5%) and others including Christmas and Easter specials (4.6%).

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