Why is Swiss legend Toblerone chocolate undergoing this historic change?
Toblerone will have to remove the word "Switzerland" from its packaging for legal reasons since the mountain-shaped chocolate bar will no longer be produced solely in Switzerland from 2023. Toblerone will, however, open a new production facility in Slovakia by the end of 2022 "to meet the growing demand," according to the brand's owner, American food corporation Mondelez International.
- The world-famous triangular chocolate has been made in Bern, in the core of the Alpine country, since it was first created in 1908 in the Tobler family factory.
- Some Swiss people reportedly found the move difficult to accept because they didn't want to see a beloved national symbol leave the country, especially one that featured the Matterhorn Mountain's iconic pyramid shape on its packaging.
According to Mondelez, the opening of the Slovakia facility, where the company manufactures Milka and Suchard chocolates, "will unlock significant capacity," eventually enabling it to "manufacture millions of additional bars." "For legal reasons, the changes we're bringing to our production require us to adjust our packaging to comply with the Swiss law, particularly to remove the word 'Switzerland' from the packaging front," it added.
Mondelez International reportedly stated that it would continue investing in the Bern plant, dubbed "the homeland of Toblerone." "Bern is an important part of our history and will continue to be so in the future," the company said.
In a year, Toblerone manufactures seven billion chocolate bars of which 97% are exported to more than 120 countries. According to Mondelez, one bar is bought every two seconds in airport duty-free shops all over the world. Notably, the name is a play on Tobler and "torrone," the Italian word for honey-almond nougat, according to reports.
"For the export, I wouldn't assume that this plays a role, at least for its current customers," stated Lausanne University's marketing professor Tobias Schlager. "Some like Toblerone for its taste, some for its form, some for its packaging—and some as it is Swiss. This may have an impact, but I assume this impact will be fairly small and not long-lasting," he added.
The new plant of the company will be in Bratislava, Slovakia. Notably, Toblerone was also added to a list of iconic goods no longer produced solely in Switzerland, which also included Ovaltine, Milka chocolate, and Sugus candies, by the Swiss newspaper Le Temps.