New Toblerone design loses Matterhorn logo due to ‘Swissness’ rules
“The redesign of the packaging introduces a modernized and streamlined mountain logo that is in line with the geometric and triangular aesthetic,” a Mondelez spokesperson told Swiss newspaper Aargauer Zeitung. Toblerone’s distinctively shaped boxes will also be changed to read: “Established in Switzerland,” instead of “of Switzerland.”
Under the “Swissness” legislation, which came into force in Switzerland in 2017, companies must demonstrate that their products are sufficiently “Swiss” to claim that label – long associated with prestige products such as Swiss watches.
Swiss officials at the time cited studies showing that a Swiss association can add as much as 20 percent to the price tag of a product, or even more for luxury goods. The label had been “much coveted and abused,” officials said, at home and abroad, in a way that damaged credibility.
Now, food products must get at least 80 percent of their raw materials from Switzerland to qualify as Swiss produced – or 100 percent in the case of milk and dairy products. (Cocoa is an exception, because it falls into the category of natural objects that cannot be produced locally.)
Mondelez did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the rebranding.
The fate of a bear depicted climbing the iconic mountain in the current logo remains unknown. (The bear is partially hidden in the logo, and some customers has apparently been surprised to learn of its existence.) Bern, the Swiss city where the Toblers first opened a candy store in 1868, is known as “Bear City.”
The company’s website states that the more than 100-year-old chocolate bar’s unique triangular shape was inspired by Swiss chocolatier Theodor Tobler’s mountainous homeland – specifically the 14,690-foot Matterhorn, one of the most famous mountains in the Alps.
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The highest mountain in Slovakia – where Toblerone production shifts – Gerlachovsky stit, is only 8711 feet. Bratislava is sometimes referred to as “The Beauty of the Danube.”
It’s not the first time Toblerone’s iconic top has been caught up in a vexing political debate. In 2016, the UK government was asked to explain why Mondelez had widened the distance between the chocolate and nougat tops: Was it Brexit? As it turned out, no. The reduction in the weight of the bars was long planned and due to the rising price of certain ingredients, the company said at the time.
Switzerland is not the only country concerned with ensuring the authenticity of its products. French producers fought for years to protect the name Champagne from being used by foreign producers – a splash that resurfaced in 2021 in Russia.
A US appeals court ruled last week that the name “Gruyere” is a common designation for cheese made in America and can be used for producers outside the Gruyère region of Switzerland and France.