Swiss chocolate sales firm up with sweeter economy

Swiss chocolate makers sold more than 176,400 tonnes of chocolate last year as consumer appetites picked up with the economic recovery, the top industry body said on Tuesday.

Overall sales rose 1.3 percent in volume and 2.4 percent in value to 1.7 billion Swiss francs (649 million euros), said Chocosuisse.

More than 60 percent of Swiss chocolates are exported. Sales abroad grew by just 0.8 percent in volume in 2010, driven by healthy German appetite, according to the association grouping 18 major Swiss chocolate producers.

Germany with 15.8 percent, Britain 13.2 percent, France 9.0 percent and Canada remain the biggest foreign markets for Swiss chocolates. New consumers in Brazil, Israel, Canada and Saudi Arabia brought "impressive sales increases."

Chocosuisse admitted to a "bittersweet taste" early last year after annual sales dropped for the first time in six years in 2009, reflecting the impact of the global economic slump.