US Reporter

Protecting the Swiss-Made Label: The Swiss Regulations Governing Toblerone’s Production and Packaging


Toblerone chocolate bars are popular all over the world for their unique shape consisting of triangular tips that can be folded individually. 

The Matterhorn, a towering peak in the Swiss Alps that has come to be associated with the Toblerone moniker, has long appeared on the brand’s packaging.

However, this image will disappear from Toblerone packaging in the near future. The company is under pressure to comply with Swiss regulations regarding the use of the Made in Switzerland label.  

Toblerone was born in 1908 by Swiss chocolatier Theodor Tobler. Tobler is said to have been inspired by the mountainous landscape of his hometown. Over the years, the brand has become synonymous with Swiss quality and craftsmanship, and the Matterhorn image has become a powerful symbol of the company’s heritage and origins.  

However, a US-based food and beverage corporation called Mondelez International has taken over ownership of the business in recent years.

Last year, Mondelez announced plans to move some Toblerone production to Slovakia to reduce costs and increase efficiency. While the move makes good business sense, it has created problems for Toblerone’s Swiss brand. 

According to Swiss law, products can only bear the Made in Switzerland label if they meet certain criteria. For food products, at least 80% of raw materials must be sourced from Switzerland and all processing must occur in Switzerland. 

The integrity of the Swiss-made label, which is highly prized for its link with quality, workmanship, and elegance, is intended to be safeguarded by these restrictions.

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Toblerone Production

By shifting production to Slovakia, Toblerone risks losing its Swiss-made label, which could have a significant impact on the brand’s reputation and sales. 

The Swiss-made label is highly prized by consumers around the world, who associate it with superior quality and craftsmanship. In some cases, the label can add as much as 20% to the sale price of a product, making it a valuable asset for companies like Toblerone.

Despite these risks, Mondelez appears to be moving forward with its plans to shift production to Slovakia. While this may be a cost-effective solution in the short term, it remains to be seen whether the company will be able to maintain Toblerone’s reputation for quality and craftsmanship without the Swiss-made label. 

In the end, it may be that the loss of the Matterhorn from Toblerone packaging is just the beginning of a larger shift away from the brand’s Swiss heritage. Only time will tell whether this move will pay off for Mondelez and Toblerone, or whether it will ultimately harm the brand’s reputation and sales.

The move comes after the “Swissness Act” was implemented in Switzerland in 2017, which aims to safeguard the credibility and value of the Swiss label. Products must meet certain criteria to use Swiss symbols and call themselves Swiss-made.

The act requires at least 80% of raw materials for food products to come from Switzerland, and 100% for milk and dairy products. Processing of food products must be carried out in Switzerland with only limited exceptions.

Mondelez’s decision to move its production to Slovakia violates these requirements, which means it can no longer call itself Swiss-made. To comply with the legislation, the company will remove the Swissness label on the front of the Toblerone pack and replace it with “established in Switzerland.”

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Its Packaging 

The company has also decided to scrap the iconic image of the Matterhorn, which has been on Toblerone packaging since 1970. The packaging will display a mountain logo that has been updated and simplified to match the geometric and triangular design style.

Toblerone has no plans to change its “hidden bear” image, which pays homage to the city of Bern where it originated, and is visible in the shadows of the Matterhorn.

Although Mondelez is shifting part of its production to Slovakia, it has still made significant investments in its factory located in Bern over the past few years. The company anticipates that this investment will result in a higher production of its 100-gram bars in the medium to long run, leading to the creation of an additional 90 million bars annually.

The changes to the packaging also reflect Toblerone’s heritage, with the font and brand logo inspired by the Toblerone archives, including the signature of its founder Tobler.

While Toblerone’s packaging is changing, the chocolate bar’s recipe appears to be staying the same. In 2016, customers in the United Kingdom criticized the company for widening the gaps between the chocolate bar’s peaks, which it said was a cost-cutting measure. The company brought back its original shape two years later.

In conclusion, Toblerone, the Swiss chocolate bar with the iconic triangular peaks, is undergoing a significant change to its packaging due to Mondelez International’s decision to relocate production to Slovakia. The Swissness Act implemented in Switzerland in 2017 requires products to meet specific criteria to use Swiss symbols and call themselves Swiss-made. 

The new packaging will remove the Swissness notice on the front of the Toblerone pack and replace it with “established in Switzerland.” The famous Matterhorn mountain symbol will be scrapped and replaced with a modernized and streamlined mountain logo. Toblerone’s recipe will remain unchanged, and the company will continue to pay homage to its heritage through its packaging.

Photo: HD Nux

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