Sustainability in its sweetest form

Chocolate lies at the heart of a prestigious Swiss economic sector. Although domestic consumption is falling somewhat, we have in recent years succeeded in growing – thanks also to increasing exports. Chocolats Halba is enjoying success with its wide range of high-quality and sustainable chocolate specialties manufactured primarily for the Coop Group and foreign consumer brands.

The cocoa plant originates in South America. Returning from his travels, Christopher Columbus brought cocoa beans to Europe for the first time, where chocolate gradually became popular over time – but only as a drink.

Chocolate as we know it today was invented at the beginning of the 19th century. In 1879, Rodolphe Lindt from Bern developed the conching process. This was used to refine chocolate, leading to the founding of an entire industry and the international reputation of Swiss chocolate.

Today, Switzerland is second only to Germany as a chocolate-consuming nation, with eleven kilograms of chocolate being consumed per person in 2016. 70 percent of this is milk chocolate. Dark chocolate, which has become particularly popular in recent years, accounts for around 25 percent.

Growing exports

The Swiss chocolate industry currently produces over 185,000 tonnes of chocolate, around two-thirds of which is destined for export. Despite an outstanding range of domestic products, consumption of foreign chocolate has for several years been growing in Switzerland, probably for price reasons. However, local chocolate manufacturers have succeeded in offsetting the declining domestic market with growing exports.

With the exception of 2015, when the exchange rate for the Swiss franc rocketed, Chocolats Halba too has been following a growth trajectory. In 2016, we produced almost 13,000 tonnes of chocolate goods, generating a turnover of around CHF 117 million. At our factories in Wallisellen and Hinwil, almost 260 employees processed cocoa from Ghana, Honduras, Ecuador and Peru, transforming it into bars, coatings, seasonal items for Easter and Christmas and confectionery items. The company’s main customer is Coop. Its key export markets are Germany, Italy, France, Australia, China, Canada and the USA.

Quality and sustainability

Our core expertise lies in manufacturing premium chocolate with added value. As well as organic and fair-trade products, Chocolats Halba has since 2010 been the world’s first chocolate manufacturer to offer CO2-neutral chocolate. We generate around three-quarters of our sales from chocolate products that meet stringent sustainability requirements and bear at least one of the following labels – “Fairtrade” “Organic”, “UTZ” or “Carbon-neutral product”.

“Besides seeing ourselves as pioneers in sustainability, we also place great importance on very high quality. Thanks to our many years of experience and our close relationships with cocoa producers, it is possible to offer high-quality specialties, including a range of origin- specific chocolates based on premium South American cocoa varieties.”

Anton von Weissenfluh, Head of Chocolats Halba

Chocolats Halba not only manufactures own-brand products, but also produces products for national and international consumer brands. Anyone who buys at least 45 tonnes per year from us can have a high-quality chocolate manufactured to their own taste.

Chocolats Halba therefore produces a wide range of chocolates for the international market to customer-specific formulations. We are also able to manufacture products with special exacting labels such as “Halal” and“Kosher”.

Value chain

Working with passion and creativity: chocolatiers François Stahl (l.) and Christian Thäler.