Last month we reported that Swiss chocolate manufacturers had seen domestic sales fall as a result of lower tourist numbers and hot summer weather, but that export sales had helped compensate for the declines.
Now the latest figures from the sugar confectionery sector show a similarly good performance on export markets, helping the 11 Swiss producers of gum, marzipan, sweets, sugar-free products and functional confectionery to recover from a poor performance in 2001.
Data from Biscosuisse, the Swiss sugar confectionery industry association, shows that total sales grew by 1.9 per cent last year to reach SF259 million (€176.2m) despite a further slide in sales in the Swiss market itself.
In volume terms, overall sales dropped 1.8 per cent to 22,166 tons, with only jelly sweets and other moulded confectionery products showing any growth. Traditional boiled sweets (with or without sugar) was the biggest segment of the market with 71 per cent.
The decline in domestic sales was due almost entirely to increasing price pressure from imported products. Volume sales declined by 5.3 per cent to 7,658 tons, while turnover was down 2.7 per cent to SF99 million as a result of a 4.9 per cent increase in the level of imported confectionery products. This, however, meant that the overall Swiss market (imports and domestic products) showed a slight increase in volumes (1.4 per cent) during the year.
Per capita consumption in Switzerland remained unchanged at 3.3kg, but there was a dilution of the share of sugar-free products, which now account for 17 per cent of total sales compared to 18.5 per cent a year earlier, reflecting the fact that all the imports were of products containing sugar. Products produced and consumed in Switzerland now account for 31.8 per cent of the total market there, down from 34 per cent.
In marked contrast, however, export sales showed a recovery after a difficult 2001, with volumes edging up 0.2 per cent to 14,508 tons. In value terms, the increase was a more impressive 5 per cent to SF159 million - an excellent performance given the current strength of the Swiss franc.
The leading markets for Swiss sugar confectionery were Germany, the US and France, all of which account for around 20 per cent of sales. Some 65.5 per cent of total Swiss sugar confectionery output was exported last year to more than 80 countries worldwide, up from 64.2 per cent in 2001.