The Covid pandemic has weighed on the branch for the past two years, but foreign competition and the reduced appetite for chocolate are also melting sales.
Following their marked decline induced by the pandemic, sales of Swiss chocolate have recovered last year, announced Tuesday Chocosuisse, the federation of Swiss chocolate manufacturers. Despite the return to growth over one year, the result for 2021 remains slightly below the pre-crisis level. In 2020, the industry’s turnover fell by around 15%, while the volume of Swiss chocolate production contracted by around 10%.
Following the sharp decline in exports in 2020 in all product categories, the exported volume of Swiss chocolate grew by 10.8% in 2021, generating an increase in turnover of 15.5%. Volume and turnover thus returned last year to a level barely below that of before the start of the pandemic.
In 2021, the amount of Swiss chocolate consumed in the country is up 6.6% compared to the previous year. Overall turnover still remains “significantly lower” than its 2019 level (- 8.4%), notes CHOCOSUISSE.
Less greedy Swiss
Following its increase in recent years, the share of foreign chocolate imports in the Swiss market was around 42% in 2021. In the space of 10 years, the market share of imports into Switzerland has increased by almost a quarter (2011: 34%). The drop in consumption of Swiss chocolate (from 8 kg to 6.6 kg per inhabitant) is half responsible for this, the other half being due to the increase in imported chocolate (from 4 kg to 4.7 kg per inhabitant).
Already pronounced in 2020, the decline in the number of employees in the Swiss chocolate industry decreased further last year. The branch had 5% fewer employees last year compared to 2019. Despite the challenges that already exist for the Swiss industrial place, Chocosuisse believes that “politics has further deteriorated the framework conditions a little more in 2021”.
The federation explains that Parliament has extended the minimum customs duty on sugar until 2026. In a context of a strong general increase in the price of raw materials, this decision generates an additional increase in the price of Swiss sugar, deplores the federation. By this measure alone, production costs in Switzerland have increased by one to two percent of the wage bill, it is written in the press release.
The minimum customs protection for Swiss sugar offers foreign manufacturers a new advantage in terms of costs, which further distorts competition to the detriment of Switzerland as an industrial location, further comments the industry umbrella.