Why Toblerone Soon Won't Be Swiss Enough To Use The Matterhorn Logo

Toblerone has Swiss roots, as anyone who has ever seen its packaging or distinctive triangle-shaped chocolate bars can attest. The chocolate bars' packages showcase an image of Switzerland's famed Matterhorn mountain in the Alps. Apparently, the brand has become so synonymous with the Matterhorn that the latter has been referred to as "Toblerone mountain," according to swissinfo.ch. There is also an image of a bear on the side of the mountain. The animal is associated with the city of Bern, the long-standing home of the brand, dating back to its founding in 1908.

That imagery will soon be a thing of the past for Toblerone, however. Last June, Newsweek reported that Toblerone chocolates would no longer be produced solely in Bern, as the company also intended to open production facilities in Bratislava, Slovakia, during the latter part of 2023. The move is meant to lighten the company's current financial load. As noted by Newsweek, wages and production costs are higher in Switzerland than in Slovakia. But the decision to internationalize production meant Toblerone would at some point be obliged to revamp its packaging.

As The Guardian has recently noted, Mondelēz – which owns the Toblerone and Cadbury chocolate brands, as well as brands like Oreo, Chips Ahoy, and Triscuit – will indeed be premiering newly designed packaging for Toblerone. According to a swissinfo.ch, a spokesperson said the bear isn't going anywhere. The Matterhorn, though, is a different matter.

Toblerone is following Swiss laws

Who would Toblerone have to take the Matterhorn image off its packaging? According to The Guardian, it has to do with a Swiss labeling law that came into effect in 2017. By the letter of the new law, companies must be exclusively based in Switzerland to use images of flags or landmarks associated with that country. Also, companies that use agricultural products like milk must exclusively source them in Switzerland in order to claim they are "made in Switzerland." Milk, of course, is often used to make chocolate.

Even before the "Swissness" requirements were officially implemented, their effects were felt by food giant Nestlé. A spokesperson explained that the company checked 650 recipes, per Food Navigator. In the end, 80 reportedly lost their ability to display the Swiss cross. Now, Toblerone has to make changes. Instead of the Matterhorn, its chocolate bar packaging will have a more generalized mountain image, and labels will state "established in Switzerland."

The loss of the Matterhorn imagery probably isn't such a blow to tradition as it might seem. Toblerone, only added the Swiss alp in 1970, long after the company was established. And the move to Slovakia could allow for any growth needed to satisfy additional demand, per Reuters. Growth may now be necessary to offset potential losses related to the labeling change. As The Guardian notes, the "made in Switzerland" imprimatur on products typically results in a 20% to 50% bump in pricing and increased revenue.