Toblerone is being forced to change its design again

March 6, 2023, 11:37 AM UTC
Tourist posing with the Matterhorn mountain and a bar of Toblerone.
The 14,692-foot mountain which inspired Toblerone's shape will be swapped with an image of a generic peak.
Fabrice Coffrini—AFP/Getty Images

Toblerone is removing from its packaging the image of the iconic Matterhorn mountain that inspired the chocolate bar’s famous triangular shape.

The 14,692-foot mountain will be swapped for an image of a generic peak.

Unlike, the brand’s disastrous 2016 revamp, which saw the gaps between the bar’s distinctive triangular chunks widen (before being reverted to the original shape two years later), cost-cutting isn’t behind the product’s latest makeover.

Mondelez International, the U.S. parent company that owns Toblerone, is moving some of the chocolate’s production to Slovakia, meaning it will fall foul of marketing restrictions relating to the use of Swiss iconography.

The country’s strict rules, which protect “Swissness,” restrict the use of national symbols and indicators of Swiss provenance in foodstuffs, industrial products, and services.

Meeting the “Swissness” criteria 

The 2017 legislation states that for a food item to market itself as “made in Switzerland,” 80% of the raw ingredients must be sourced from the country and the majority of processing occur there. 

But for milk-based products, this quota increases to 100% with the exception of ingredients that can’t be sourced in Switzerland, like cocoa. 

At the time, Swiss officials cited studies showing that a Swiss association can add as much as 20% to the price tag of a product—and as much as 50% for luxury items.

“The value of the Swiss label is much coveted and misused, both nationally and internationally, which damages its credibility,” the officials concluded. 

Why Mondelez is moving production

Despite the apparent revenue benefits of having links to Switzerland on a brand’s packaging, Mondelez is moving some of its production to Slovakia starting at the end of 2023.

The production shift comes in response “to increased demand worldwide and to grow our Toblerone brand for the future,” Mondelez told the BBC.

Toblerone also produces the Milka chocolate brand, which was originally made in Switzerland, in Slovakia.

The honey- and almond-nougat-infused Toblerone bar first went on sale in 1908 in Bern, the capital city of Switzerland.

Although the over 100-year-old chocolate bar hasn’t always featured the Matterhorn’s silhouette on its packaging, the mountain served as inspiration for its Swiss chocolatier creator Theodor Tobler.

According to the company’s website, Toblerone’s peak shape was a nod to Tobler’s mountainous homeland—in particular, the Matterhorn.

Despite the enforced rebrand, Toblerone will continue to pay homage to its owner and its roots.  

The brand’s new packaging will include a “distinctive new Toblerone typeface and logo that draw further inspiration from the Toblerone archives and the inclusion of our founder, Tobler’s, signature,” Mondelez told the BBC.

But the fate of the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it Bernese bear, which is camouflaged climbing the mountain in the current logo, remains unknown. 

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