Toblerone to ditch Matterhorn logo over “Swissness” law

Candy lovers everywhere might have to scan store shelves a little harder next time they’re craving a Toblerone. That’s because the popular Swiss-made confection, sold in more than 100 countries, is undergoing a rebranding to remove references to Switzerland on its packaging. The chocolate bar’s production has partially relocated from its central European production center.

Toblerone’s U.S-based parent company, Mondelez International, will shift some aspects of the triangular-shaped candy’s manufacturing to Bratislava, Slovakia, a Mondelez spokesperson told CBS MoneyWatch. The shift will require Toblerone, whose shape and logo is based on the nearly 15,000-foot Matterhorn peak, to alter the text on its packaging in accordance with a Swiss law that restricts the use of words and imagery that evoke the country’s likeness.

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“For legal reasons, we have to adapt our packaging to the Swissness legislation and, among other things, remove the Swissness notice on the front of the Toblerone pack,” the Mondelez spokesperson told CBS Moneywatch in a statement.

Mondelez said Toberlone bars instead will feature a “streamlined mountain logo that is consistent with the geometric and triangular aesthetic” and that the product will retain its hidden bear.

The spokesperson said Mondelez is upgrading the company’s plant in Bratislava so it can expand its manufacturing capacity, noting that the manufacturer will also expand its facilities in Bern, Switzerland.

A 2017 Swiss law known as the Swissness Act prohibits the use of Switzerland’s national symbols by products whose components are not predominantly made in Switzerland. Under the law, however, the percentage of a product’s components that must originate from Switzerland varies based on product type. 

For example, dairy products must be entirely produced in Switzerland to earn the “Swiss-made” label, while for industrial products only 60% of the manufacturing costs must occur in the country to use the designation.

It remains unclear which aspects of Toblerone’s manufacturing will be moved to Slovakia or why Mondelez ordered the partial production shift. The Mondelez spokesperson declined to clarify which parts of the company’s manufacturing process will be relocated, but noted that Toblerone bars “still and will continue to be produced” in Bern.

A “Swiss-made” designation can significantly boost goods and services’ sale prices. Several studies have suggested that a Swiss-branded product can be priced as much as 20% higher than comparable goods of non-Swiss origin, according to Switzerland’s State Secretariat for Economic Affairs. 

Food brands must exercise caution in how they represent their products to protect themselves from legal action. Last year, American pasta brand Barilla faced a class-action lawsuit for allegedly misleading its customers about its U.S. origins by advertising itself as “Italy’s No. 1 brand of pasta.” 

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