Speed Reads

A Chocolate Change

Toblerone must alter iconic packaging because it does not meet 'Swissness' laws

While Toblerone is one of the world's most famous chocolate bars, it was reported Monday that the brand will soon be stripped of its iconic Matterhorn mountain logo due to a controversy over Swiss regulations. 

The brand, which has long been manufactured in Bern, Switzerland, uses the mountain, along with the Swiss logo, as part of its distinctive packaging. However, as Swiss newspaper Aargauer Zeitung previously reported, Toblerone's American owners, Mondelez International, are shifting parts of production to Slovakia. 

This created a headache for Toblerone based on Switzerland's "Swissness laws." According to marketing guidelines from the Swiss government, national symbols can only be used on chocolate products when the milk it contains comes exclusively from Switzerland. At least 80 percent of all other ingredients in the chocolate must also be Swiss-sourced. With Mondelez moving production to Slovakia, Toblerones will no longer be made under these conditions, and the company began looking into changes for the packaging. 

David Stärkle, head of the Swissness enforcement team, told The New York Times that it would've been misleading for Toblerone to continue using the Matterhorn on its packaging, adding, "If anyone will use the Matterhorn for whatever, you don't have any value anymore on Swiss products."

Mondelez confirmed in a statement to NPR that it would "remove the Swissness notice on the front of the Toblerone pack" for legal reasons. The company will also change the phrase "of Switzerland" on the box to "founded in Switzerland," though Mondelez reiterated that "Toblerone bars are still and will continue to be produced in Switzerland."

While the Matterhorn logo may be gone, Mondelez said that it would continue to pay homage to Switzerland by using "a modernized and streamlined mountain logo that is consistent with the geometric and triangular aesthetic."