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Swiss chocolate sales resilient at home and away in 2008

By Lindsey Partos, 10-Feb-2009

Related topics: Consumer Trends

Swiss chocolates proved resilient in 2008 with sales easing forward despite a challenging economic climate.

The country's chocolate makers association reports that its 18 members sold 184,969 ton of chocolate worldwide last year, a two per cent increase on the previous year, said Chocosuisse in a statement released on Monday.

The hike in raw material prices for key chocolate ingredients contributed in part to growth in overall earnings that saw turnover rise by 9.3 per cent to CHF1.8 billion (€1.19bn) in 2008.

As a tougher year for European economies lies ahead, chocolate makers in Europe will welcome these encouraging figures from Switzerland. At the beginning of this year, chocolate was deemed by some as 'recession-proof', although today a feeling of cautious optimism seems to be more dominant.

Germany still tops export market, despite slowdown

More than 60 per cent of all the Swiss chocolate produced found its way to export markets with international sales rising by nearly 11 per cent to CHF 924m (€613m). Exports to the EU, the confederation's biggest client, fell by 7.2 per cent, largely due to the 23.7 per cent fall in demand from Germany, Switzerland's number one European export country.

Germany etched up 14.8 per cent of all export turnover for the Swiss chocolate makers and Britain came a close second in the export rank, chalking up 13.3 per cent of the turnover.

Following behind as the third and fourth most significant export destinations were the French, that claimed 9.6 per cent of the Swiss export turnover, and the US, with 7.4 per cent.

As sales in Germany fell, those in chocolate-loving Belgium rose with Chocosuisse reporting value growth in excess of 50 per cent in Belgium.

The biggest growth among manufactured products was solid chocolate bars that grew 11 per cent and filled chocolate bars that rose by 10 per cent. Solid growth also occurred for coatings that rose by 8.1 per cent.

Outside the EU, the nation's chocolate association reported that the industry 'notched up' impressive sales increases in the Philippines, the United Arab Emirates, South Africa, Turkey, Egypt, and India.

Chocoholic Swiss

Supporting growth for swiss chocolate are the swiss people themselves, each consuming on average a generous 12.4 kg of chocolate, a rise of 100g on the previous year. In the Confederation, known for brands like Lindt and Barry Callebaut, turnover in 2008 rose by a considerable 7.8 per cent to CHF894m (€594m).