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Dark chocolate year for Swiss sweet makers

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Photo: Andrew_Writer/Flickr
13:52 CET+01:00
Fewer Swiss people than ever are eating their country's most famous product - and the chocolate makers' union fears things will only get worse.

Switzerland is synonymous with luxurious, creamy chocolate, but it seems the country's residents are falling out of love with the sweet treat.

Not only did Swiss people consume less chocolate per person in 2015 - just 11.1kg compared to 11.7kg in 2014 - but they are also increasingly turning to imported brands. Chocolate manufactured abroad accounted for 38.7 percent of chocolate consumption, up from 32.7 percent the previous year.

Chocosuisse, an association of Swiss chocolate makers which represents the 18 manufacturers across the country, published its figures for 2015 on Tuesday. Its report, compiled from the 18 manufacturers across the country, revealed that domestic sales had declined by 5.9 percent overall.

The association suggested that the unusually hot summer may have put people off chocolate binges, while a strong franc meant fewer tourists coming to Switzerland to buy chocolatey souvenirs. The exchange rate was also thought to be part of the reason for increased buying of imported chocolate.

Exports to neighbouring countries Italy and Austria showed small losses, while there were even more dramatic decreases in emerging markets such as China, the Philippines and Russia. But overall, exports were up by 2.5 percent, thanks to a healthy appetite for chocolate from Belgium, the Netherlands, Australia, Singapore, the UAE and Japan.

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It was the second year in a row that chocolate sales decreased, and Chocosuisse warned that exports could be threatened if the country's so-called Schoggigesetz ('Chocolate Law') is abolished, as has been ordered by the World Trade Organization (WTO). The Schoggigesetz means that subsidies are given for the export of processed products made from meat or milk. The association argued that "agricultural protectionism endangers the important export business".

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