Food & Drink sector in Switzerland

An Expert's View about Travel, Tourism and Food Services in Switzerland

Last updated: 14 Mar 2011

The Swiss market offers excellent opportunities for producers and merchants of quality food and Swiss companies set high standards but the rewards can also be high.

Food & Drink ? Switzerland Sector Report Food & Drink Switzerland Produced by: Isabell Hofer, Project Manager - Trade, British Embassy Berne Last revised February 2010 Whereas every effort has been made to ensure that the information given in this document is accurate, neither UK Trade & Investment nor its parent Departments (the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, and the Foreign & Commonwealth Office), accept liability for any errors, omissions or misleading statements, and no warranty is given or responsibility accepted as to the standing of any individual, firm, company or other organisation mentioned. Published February 2010 by UK Trade & Investment. Crown Copyright ©. Food & Drink ? Switzerland Table of Contents OVERVIEW 3  OPPORTUNITIES 3  CHARACTERISTICS OF MARKET   KEY METHODS OF DOING BUSINESS 4  MORE DETAILED SECTOR REPORTS   PUBLICATIONS 4  EVENTS 5  CONTACT LISTS 6 Page 2 of 6 Food & Drink ? Switzerland OVERVIEW Switzerland is one of the world?s largest per capita food importers. There are lots of niches to be filled and within the food and drink sector there are many growing markets such as for ethnic food, high quality and regional specialities, convenience food, seafood, alcoholic beverages among others. The Swiss market offers excellent opportunities for producers and merchants of quality food and Swiss companies set high standards but the rewards can also be high. OPPORTUNITIES A growing sector is the ethnic food sector. Although the Swiss are not considered to be adventurous towards new food, they are starting to love ethnic foods (ambient and fresh). More and more shelf space is devoted to ethnic foods such as Indian, Thai, for example. The meat sector now seems to have recovered from the repeated food scares in the UK (BSE, F&MD) and importers have started showing interest in high quality UK beef and lamb. Despite the fact that Switzerland is a landlocked country, the demand for seafood has increased a lot over the last few years. Especially the demand for salmon ? but also for other sea-fish and seafood and breaded fish for the food service ? is still high. There are also opportunities for traditional and regional specialities, as well as for high quality whiskies. What is definitely important to know for UK companies who want to enter the Swiss market is that the product has to be innovative or make a difference in quality or price from established products! Although half of the country?s food is imported, the agricultural sector is a strong and major employer. The processed foods industry has a high international profile, particularly in such products as chocolate, cheese and baby foods. UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) publishes international business opportunities gathered by our network of British Embassies, High Commissions and Consulates worldwide. These opportunities appear in the Opportunities portlet on the relevant sector and country pages on the UKTI website. By setting up a profile you can be alerted by email when relevant new opportunities are published. New or updated alert profiles can be set in My Account on the website. CHARACTERISTICS OF MARKET Food imports from the UK have decreased in the last year. This is due to the large competition from the neighbouring counties Germany, France and Italy. The total food imports into Switzerland were as high as 8.9bn Swiss Francs (£5.3bn) in 2008. The UK share of this amount is only 4% (390 million Swiss Francs). The Swiss are very health conscious, which is evident in the increasing demand for organic foods, natural foods and environmentally friendly products and packaging. The per capita consumption of organic food is one of the highest in Europe. The retail market has is now in a severe changing phase. Aldi (already present in the market) and Lidl have made Swiss retailers reconsider their strategies and the competition has increased. After having introduced a low price product line which is very successful, the two largest retailers, Migros and Coop, also introduced a high quality ? high price line. Despite the strong competition in the market, there is still demand for high quality products where the price is only secondary. Page 3 of 6 Food & Drink ? Switzerland KEY METHODS OF DOING BUSINESS It is important to know the fact that, even though Switzerland geographically is part of Western Europe, they are not a member of the European Union (EU). Currently Switzerland establishes its own standards which, whilst not designed for the European Community, invariably meet its requirements. Switzerland is a multi-language country with four official languages. Although English is widely spoken in the business world it is important to have any documentation available in both German and French (Italian is obviously recommended for business done in Ticino, the Italian- speaking part.). The same applies to visitors. It would be helpful if a German-speaking person could visit the German-speaking part of Switzerland (and a French-speaking person the French-speaking part etc.). If you wish to supply Swiss importers they must be prepared to satisfy the demands and requirements of their customers, provide evidence of flexibility and a high level of service. It is essential that products are supplied on schedule and in accordance with the contracted details. Ongoing communication and feedback between supplier and customer is considered important. MORE DETAILED SECTOR REPORTS Research is critical when considering new markets. UKTI provides market research services which can help UK companies doing business overseas including: ? Overseas Market Introduction Service (OMIS). Bespoke research into potential markets, and support during your visits overseas ? Export Marketing Research Scheme. In-depth and subsidised service administered by the British chambers of Commerce on behalf of UKTI Contact your local International Trade Advisor if you are interested in accessing these services, or for general advice in developing your export strategy. PUBLICATIONS Trade Publications Gourmet Magazine for hotels and gastronomy Publisher: Verlag Gourmet Neuengasse 5 Postfach 6222 3001 Bern Tel +41 (0) 31 311 80 82 Fax +41 (0) 31 311 85 82 10 x 29195 issues published per year Der Lebensmittelprofi / Le Pro de l? alimentaire Magazine of the food retailers Publisher: Veledes, Schweiz. Verband der Lebensmitteldetaillisten Falkenplatz 1 3001 Bern Tel +41 (0) 31 301 76 44 Fax +41 (0) 31 301 76 46 6 x 1000 issues published per year Page 4 of 6 Food & Drink ? Switzerland Lebensmittelindustrie Magazine for the management of the food industry Publisher: Verlag Lebensmittelindustrie Spielhof 14A 8750 Glarus Tel +41 (0) 55 645 37 50 Fax +41 (0) 55 640 21 71 6 x 4300 issues published every year Lebensmitteltechnologie Magazine for the technological side of the food and drink industry Publisher: Lebensmittel-Technologie Postfach 5080 Laufenburg Tel +41 (0) 62 869 79 17 Fax +41 (0) 62 269 79 01 10 x 4150 issues published every year Lebensmittel-Wissenschaft und ? Technologie/Food Science and Technology International journal for food chemistry, biochemistry, microbiology, technology, engineering and nutrition industry Publisher: Institut für Lebensmittelwissenschaft ETH Zentrum 8092 Zürich Tel +41 44 632 32 87 Fax: +41 44 632 11 23 Language: Published in English 8 x 1000 issues published per year Several food type specific magazines (e.g. for wine, meat, whisky, etc.) are available on request. General business publications Lebensmittel und Getränkeindustrie der Schweiz Reference book of the Swiss food and drink industry Publisher: Orell Füssli Verlag AG Dietzingerstrasse 3 Postfach 8036 Zürich Tel +41 (0) 44 466 77 11 Fax +41 (0) 44 466 7412 Cost: CHF 86.00 incl. CD Rom Others: A Food & Drink Executive Summary with information on the Swiss Food & Drink market is available on request. EVENTS SIAL ? international food exhibition, held every two years in Paris. Next: 17-21 October 2010 Page 5 of 6 Food & Drink ? Switzerland ANUGA ? international food exhibition, held every two years in Cologne. Next: 08-12 October 2011 IGEHO ? International Exhibition for Industrial and Institutional Catering, Hotels and Restaurants, held every two years in Basel. Next: 19 - 23 November 2011 GASTRONOMIA - International Exhibition for Industrial and Institutional Catering, Hotels and Restaurants, held every two years in Basel. Next: 07 ? 10 November 2010 Variety of regional and small product specfic exhibitions/fairs. UK Trade & Investment?s Tradeshow Access Programme (TAP) can help eligible UK businesses take part in overseas exhibitions. Attendance at TAP events offers significant benefits: ? possibilities for business opportunities both at the show and in the future ? a chance to assess new markets and develop useful contacts ? grants are available if you meet the criteria ? UKTI staff overseas will be available to assist delegates Details of TAP events can be found in the Events portal on the Switzerland page. Other Market Visit Support may be available via your local International Trade Advisor. CONTACT LISTS When considering doing business in Switzerland, it is essential to obtain legal, financial and taxation advice. For further details, please contact: Isabell Hofer Project Manager Trade British Embassy Thunstrasse 50 3005 Berne Tel +41 (0) 31 359 77 27 Fax +41 (0) 31 359 77 01 UK Trade & Investment?s International Trade Advisers can provide you with essential and impartial advice on all aspects of international trade. Every UK region also has dedicated sector specialists who can provide advice tailored to your industry. You can trace your nearest advisor by entering your postcode into the Local Office Database on the homepage of our website. For new and inexperienced exporters, our Passport to Export process will take you through the mechanics of exporting. An International Trade Adviser will provide professional advice on a range of services, including financial subsidies, export documentation, contacts in overseas markets, overseas visits, translating marketing material, e-commerce, subsidised export training and market research. Page 6 of 6
Posted: 29 September 2010, last updated 14 March 2011

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