Strong franc fallout: Swiss chocolate consumption and domestic sales down

By Oliver Nieburg

- Last updated on GMT

Swiss chocolate makers hurt by declining consumption and pressure from importers
Swiss chocolate makers hurt by declining consumption and pressure from importers

Related tags Switzerland

Swiss chocolate consumption has fallen in 2014 and domestic chocolate sales have been hit by rising competition from importers profiting from the strong Swiss Franc, says Chocosuisse.

The trade body representing 18 Swiss chocolate makers said that Swiss per capita chocolate consumption fell from 12 kg the prior year to 11.7 kg in 2014.

‘Pressure from imported products’

Domestic volume sales declined 1.4% to 68,264 metric tons (MT), but value sales in the Swiss market were up 1.8% to CHF 907m ($942m). The domestic market accounts for 52% of turnover for Swiss chocolate makers.

“This year, the strength of the Swiss franc has continued to increase the pressure from imported products,”​ said Chocosuisse in a release.

According to the association – whose members include Lindt, Mondelēz Switzerland and Nestlé’s Cailler division - the market share of imported chocolate has almost doubled since 2000 to reach 37.2% in 2014.

The biggest volume declines for Swiss chocolate products came in semi-finished goods such as chocolate and filling masses (-8.7%) and mini formats such as napolitains and chocolate hearts (-7.2%). But volumes for domestic solid chocolate bars grew 0.8%.

Export silver lining

The export market helped the overall Swiss chocolate industry remain buoyant.

Volume sales for the country’s two main chocolate export markets – Germany and Great Britain – were down, but the export volumes grew overall by 5.3% to 115,474 MT. Value sales in export markets also rose, by 3.7% to CHF 821m ($852m) due to gains in Asian and American export markets.

Chocosuisse highlighted two-figure growth rates in Singapore, Russia, China, Brazil, UAE, the Philippines and Canada.

Chocosuisse calls on ‘corrective measures’ from politicians

The trade body said 2014 was ‘satisfactory’ for the industry, but called on the Swiss government to ease regulatory pressures.

“The abolition of the minimum exchange rate for the Swiss franc against the Euro has increased the pressure from imports on the domestic market and hampers exports.

“In addition, the commodity price handicap caused by Switzerland’s agricultural policy results in considerable competitive disadvantages when doing business abroad. It is up to politicians to undertake the necessary corrective measures,” ​it said in the release.

Related topics Markets Chocolate

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