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Chocolate makers taste sweet success

The Swiss chocolate industry hopes for a cool summer Keystone Archive

Swiss chocolate sales increased by more than nine per cent to SFr1.4 billion ($1.1 billion) in 2004.

Following a dip in 2003, due to a hot summer, exports accounted for more than half of Switzerland’s total chocolate production.

Chocosuisse, the industry association representing 18 Swiss chocolate manufacturers, said exports increased 13.3 per cent last year to SFr551 million.

The industry recorded a marked increase in sales in central Europe and most countries in North and South America.

But Germany remained the biggest importer of Swiss chocolate, ahead of France, Britain and the United States.

More imported sweets

Domestic sales grew too, by 6.8 per cent.

On average, the Swiss ate 11.6kg of chocolate last year – up 300g on 2003.

However, it would be a mistake to assume that this quantity was eaten by Swiss residents alone – the figure includes chocolate swallowed by tourists and cross-border consumers.

However, Chocosuisse has seen its market share shrink over the past few years.

Imports of foreign chocolate increased for the fourth time in a row last year to take 26.4 per cent of the market, according to Chocosuisse.

Sales on the domestic market gained momentum in 2004 after suffering a setback in the previous year mainly as a result of the hot summer.

Temperatures in Switzerland were regularly a blistering 30 degrees or above.

The industry said it hoped to keep domestic sales in 2005 at the current level.

It also expects to see a further increase in chocolate exports this year as a result of a new bilateral agreement with the European Union on processed agricultural products.

swissinfo with agencies

Sales 2004: 148,216 tons – up 6.1% on 2003.
Sales were worth SFr1.4 billion ($1.1 billion) – up 9.3%.
Just under 53% of chocolate produced was exported.
Chocosuisse is made up of 18 Swiss chocolate producers and has a workforce of 4,390.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR