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Pricier Swiss chocolate ‘holds its own’ in export markets

By Oliver Nieburg+

27-Mar-2014
Last updated the 27-Mar-2014 at 13:38 GMT

Currency differences make Swiss chocolate more expensive than most other nations, yet the industry performed well in export markets
Currency differences make Swiss chocolate more expensive than most other nations, yet the industry performed well in export markets

Switzerland’s chocolate industry grew sales in 2013 by increasing experts, in spite of the strength of the Swiss Franc against foreign currencies.

Swiss chocolate sales grew 4% in 2013 to reach CHF 1.7bn ($1.9bn), according to trade association Chocosuisse. The rise was primarily attributed to export sales.

“This result is all the more remarkable on account of the strong Swiss franc, making Switzerland’s chocolate products more expensive in most export markets and lowering the price of imported chocolate,” said Chocosuisse in a release.

“The Swiss chocolate industry proved capable of holding its own in export markets despite the strength of the Swiss franc.”

Export growth

Volumes of Swiss chocolate sold abroad were up 5.6% to 109,662 metric tons (MT) in 2013 and value sales grew 4.1% to CHF 792m ($894m).

The Swiss chocolate industry manufactured more products for export than for its home market with 61.2% of its total production sold overseas in 2013 compared to 60.3% the year before.

Germany continued as the main export market followed by the UK and France.

“Germany, Belgium and Italy showed extremely positive development whereas sales in countries such as France, The Netherlands and Austria declined, “ said Chocosuisse.

“Meanwhile, outside the EU, the industry was able to notch up impressive sales increases in China, the Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates.”

Source: Chocosuisse

Domestic market brightens

On home soil, per capita chocolate consumption for the year was up 100 g to 12 kg. The country was previously the top chocolate consuming nation in 2011.

Volume sales grew modestly in the Swiss market by 1.4%.

“The increase in sales of 1.4 %, in terms of quantity, may have been influenced by the prolonged winter weather and a summer marked by brief heat waves. The rise in tourist numbers as compared with the previous year also had a positive effect on sales,” said Chocosuisse.

However, the association did note a rise in imported chocolate on the market, which made up 36.3% of sales.

Outlook

Chocosuisse said it was optimistic that domestic players could retain market share in the highly saturated market and grow export sales in 2014, but called on the government for its support.

“From the Swiss Government, the manufacturing companies are expecting good general conditions, such as additional free trade agreements, a wise macroeconomic implementation of the ‘Swissness’ bill and a correct compensation of the differences in commodity prices for export products caused by Switzerland’s artificially increased prices of agricultural products.”