Toblerone: Matterhorn mountain logo change and bear image explained - where is chocolate bar made, who owns it?

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Toblerone is set to have a redesign after the manufacturer who makes it has decided to change the location of its production facility

Swiss chocolate bar Toblerone is set to have its biggest branding change in more than half a century, after its owner has decided to move some of its production to Slovakia.

The famous triangular confectionary brand, which uses the Matterhorn mountain as its logo, has been made in Switzerland for 115 years. The country is famous for its chocolate industry, which it guards proudly through strict food labelling laws.

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These laws are now set to force Toblerone to drop its use of the distinctive Alpine peak, as well as its references to being ‘Swiss-made’. No date has yet been given for when the updated packaging will hit shelves.

It is not the first time the chocolate brand has hit the headlines for changes to its bars. In 2016, it sparked outrage when it moved to a new design that spaced out the triangular nougat-studded chunks of chocolate in a bid to keep down costs. After much outcry, it reverted back to its former design in 2018.

But why has Toblerone made the latest change to its logo - and who owns the chocolate brand?

Where is Toblerone made?

Toblerone has mostly been made in Switzerland for most of its 115-year history. A production facility on the outskirts of Bern, the country’s capital, has been pumping out the triangular chocolates for much of this time.

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But this partially changed in June 2022, when it announced it would shift some of its production to Central European country Slovakia. It meant the chocolate bar could no longer call itself ‘Swiss’ or ‘of Switzerland’ because of the country’s strict laws around food labelling. Instead, it now says the brand was ‘established in Switzerland’.

Toblerone is being forced to drop its use of the Matterhorn as its logo (image: Adobe)Toblerone is being forced to drop its use of the Matterhorn as its logo (image: Adobe)
Toblerone is being forced to drop its use of the Matterhorn as its logo (image: Adobe) | Venus - stock.adobe.com

Who owns Toblerone?

Toblerone is owned by one of the biggest food companies in the world - Mondelez. If you haven’t heard of it before, you will definitely know many of the brands it owns besides the Swiss chocolate bar, including Cadbury, Oreo and Philadelphia.

The Swiss brand was initially owned by the Tobler chocolate factory, which put together the unique combination of Swiss milk, honey, almonds and nougat in a triangular form. From its first launch in Bern in 1908 until 1970, Toblerone was owned by the  independent Tobler family company.

But it was bought by fellow Swiss firm Milka - a Cadbury-like chocolate company you see in European supermarkets - with Milka itself then being bought out several times before becoming part of Kraft in 1990. Kraft then split into two separate companies from 2012, with Mondelez being the result.

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Why is the Toblerone logo changing?

Toblerone is set to have a major redesign as a result of Mondelez’s decision to relocate the chocolate bar’s production from Switzerland to Bratislava, Slovakia - a city where it has a huge facility producing Milka chocolates. The Matterhorn logo will be replaced by a generic mountain having appeared on the chocolate bar’s packaging for 53 years.

According to a quote given to Swiss German language newspaper Aargauer Zeitung, a spokesperson said: “The packaging redesign introduces a modernised and streamlined mountain logo that aligns with the geometric and triangular aesthetic.”

Owner Mondelez said there will be a “distinctive new Toblerone typeface and logo” that has been inspired by the contents of the Toblerone archives. It will also bear the signature of founder Theodor Tobler.

Eagle-eyed Toblerone fans will see a bear within the Matterhorn logo (image: Getty Images)Eagle-eyed Toblerone fans will see a bear within the Matterhorn logo (image: Getty Images)
Eagle-eyed Toblerone fans will see a bear within the Matterhorn logo (image: Getty Images) | Getty Images

“To respond to increased demand worldwide and to grow our Toblerone brand for the future, we are continuing to invest in innovation across our Toblerone portfolio, marketing and production,” a company spokesperson told the PA news agency. “Berne is an important part of our history and will continue to be so for the future.”

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Under the Swissness Act, for foods to market themselves as ‘made in Switzerland’, 80% of their raw ingredients have to be sourced from the country. The majority of the production also has to take place in the Alpine nation.

For milk, or milk-based products, 100% of the produce has to be sourced from Switzerland, There are some exceptions, for example if the milk is being combined with a product that cannot be produced in Switzerland, like cocoa. But if the products fall short of these labelling requirements, they cannot use any national symbols.

The Matterhorn is regarded as a Swiss national symbol - despite being half-Italian (image: Getty Images)The Matterhorn is regarded as a Swiss national symbol - despite being half-Italian (image: Getty Images)
The Matterhorn is regarded as a Swiss national symbol - despite being half-Italian (image: Getty Images) | Getty Images

The Matterhorn mountain is considered to be one such symbol. Some say the famous peak was the inspiration for Toblerone’s distinctive triangular chocolate shapes, although this claim has been disputed.

It will not be the first time Toblerone’s packaging has been changed. Initially carrying an Eagle, the branding was changed to a Bernese bear - the Swiss capital’s name having derived from the German word for bear - in 1920. The bear is still a feature of the packaging, with eagle-eyed fans able to find it hidden inside the existing Matterhorn logo.

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Where is the Matterhorn mountain?

The Matterhorn is one of Europe’s most distinctive peaks. Straddling the Switzerland-Italy border in the southern Alps, its jagged peak sits 4,478 metres above sea-level.

Given how it struts into the air in a pyramid-like column, the mountain is notoriously difficult to climb. Indeed, mountaineers only reached its peak in 1865.

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