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Swiss chocolate: decline at home, growth abroad

chocolate on a conveyer belt in factory
The Swiss chocolate industry is seeing some ups and downs © Keystone / Gaetan Bally

The Swiss are not eating as much chocolate as they used to - domestic consumption fell again in 2018. But it’s a different story abroad.

Domestic consumption of Swiss-produced chocolate dropped by 3.4% last year, according to ChocosuisseExternal link, the Association of Swiss Chocolate Manufacturers. This was accompanied by a 4.8% fall in domestic turnover.

“The negative trend on the domestic market was accompanied by a long and hot summer and Christmas business which was relatively sluggish at first,” Chocosuisse said in a statementExternal link on Monday.

Dark chocolate is making an impact. “People are now tending to eat smaller quantities of chocolate, especially because of the stronger taste of dark chocolate,” Chocosuisse director Urs Furrer told Swiss public radio RTSExternal link.

On the other hand, the share of imported chocolate eaten in Switzerland rose by 41% in 2018.

chocolate graphic
Kai Reusser /

There was better news for exports, which meant the sector’s net turnover rose by 1% in 2018.

EU loves chocolate

The boost was greatest in European Union countries, where sales increased by 10% and turnover by 7%. Germany is the most popular export country, followed by the United Kingdom, Canada and France.

Earlier this month, Chocolat FreyExternal link, a brand of the Swiss supermarket chain, Migros, announced it had secured a deal with the US-based Walgreens, a huge pharmacy and supermarket chain. Frey, as yet unknown in the US, will be available in almost a fifth of Walgreen’s 10,000 shops, reports sayExternal link.  In 2018, the US was the fifth-largestExternal link Swiss chocolate export market.

Australia, Brazil, China, Japan and Russia showed strong export growth rates as well, Chocosuisse said. But there was less taste for Swiss chocolate in some countries in the Middle East and South-East Asia.


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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR