Chocolat Suchard

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The old "Red Factory" of Serrières

Chocolat Suchard was a chocolate factory founded in Serrières (a neighborhood of Neuchâtel) by Philippe Suchard in 1826. It was one of the oldest chocolate factories in Switzerland.


Early 20th century ad
History of the brands

The Suchard chocolate factory took off thanks to his son Philippe (1834-1883), then to his son-in-law Carl Russ (1838-1925), who ran the chocolate company from 1884 to 1924.[1] After Philippe's death in 1884 in Neuchâtel, his daughter, Eugénie Suchard and her husband Carl Russ-Suchard, took over the functioning of his factory.[2] Carl Russ-Suchard opened the first Suchard factory abroad in 1880 in Germany, at Lörrach.[3][4][5]

The Suchard factory used hydropower of the nearby river to run the mills. A grinding mill consisting of a heated granite plate, and several granite rollers moving forwards and backwards were used to produce chocolate. This design, the melanger, is still used to grind cocoa paste.[6] As a result, chocolate became more affordable. Before opening his factory, Suchard realized that a small tablet sold at a pharmacy was worth three days' wages.[7]

However, chocolate was still an expensive product, therefore limiting the number of potential customers. Suchard struggled financially early in his career as a chocolatier. His success came in 1842, with a bulk order from Frederick William IV, king of Prussia, who was also the prince of Neuchâtel. This triggered a boom, and soon his chocolates won prizes at the London Great Exhibition of 1851 and the Paris Universal Exposition of 1855.[8] By the end of the 19th century, Suchard had become the largest chocolate producer.[9]

In 1896, inspired by the success of Daniel Peter, Carl Russ-Suchard created a first milk chocolate bar.[10] In 1901, the company mechanized its production and launched the Milka chocolate brand for the Swiss market. Carl Russ-Suchard combined an unusual purple packaging with a Simmental cow symbolizing their use of milk.[11]

Having become a public limited company in 1905, Suchard was transformed into a holding company in 1930, marking the end of the family business after Willy Russ had sold his shares. Suchard continued its development abroad as well as on the Serrières site (30 kg of chocolate per day in 1826, 60 tons in 1924; 100 workers in 1875, 920 at the end of the 1960s) and diversified its products with various brands such as Suchard Express (a chocolate drink) and Sugus (fruit candies).[1]


In 1970, Suchard merged with Tobler to become Interfood.[12] In 1982, Interfood was acquired by Klaus Johann Jacobs, and became part of the company Jacobs Suchard.[13][14] In 1987, the Suchard company acquired 66% of the shares of the Côte d'Or chocolate company.[15] In 1990, Philip Morris, also based in Neuchâtel, announced that they would buy Jacobs Suchard.[16] In 1993, Philip Morris combined Kraft General Foods Europe and Jacobs Suchard AG, renaming it Kraft Jacobs Suchard.[17] It spun off its chocolate and confectionery brands as Mondelez International as of 2012.[18] The Suchard factory in the Serrières Valley is no longer used for production. Mondelez moved production to the Toblerone factory in Bern in the 1990s.[19] In 2015, Mondelez opened a new production line for Milka and Suchard chocolates at its plant in Bludenz, Austria.[20]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Suchard". Historical Dictionary of Switzerland. Retrieved 28 March 2022.
  2. ^ "Philippe Suchard: de Boudry à l'Orient du Minaret" (in French). Retrieved 2008-09-09.
  3. ^ "Milka Plant - Lörrach's best side and home of Milka tablets". Mondelēz International. Retrieved 10 February 2019.
  4. ^ Schmid, Olivier (1999). ""Une fabrique modèle". Paternalisme et attitudes ouvrières dans une entreprise neuchâteloise de chocolats: Suchard (1870-1930)". Cahiers d'histoire du mouvement ouvrier. 15: 51–69.
  5. ^ Huguenin, Régis (2009). "La photographie industrielle entre image documentaire et image publicitaire". Conserveries mémorielles [Online]. 6. Retrieved 10 February 2019.
  6. ^ Moss, Sarah; Badenoch, Alexander (September 15, 2009). Chocolate : a global history. London: Reaktion Books. ISBN 978-1861895240.
  7. ^ Fumey, Gilles (2019). "Le chocolat, une étrange passion suisse". Bulletin de l'Institut Pierre Renouvin: 87–100. Et la principale friandise est bien la tablette et non les granulés, les vermicelles, les paillettes, la poudre ou les décors plutôt présents en pâtisseries. Grâce à ce petit parallélépipède de cent grammes, vingt centimètres par neuf, le produit de luxe est devenu une friandise démocratique, définitivement sorti des pharmacies où était très cher, Philippe Suchard ayant calculé que guérir sa mère avec une plaque de quelques dizaines de grammes coûtait trois jours de salaire ouvrier. [And the main delicacy is the tablet and not the granules, vermicelli, flakes, powder or decorations rather present in pastries. Thanks to this small parallelepiped of one hundred grams, twenty centimeters by nine, the luxury product has become a democratic delicacy, definitively released from pharmacies where it was very expensive, Philippe Suchard having calculated that curing his mother with a tablet of a few tens of grams cost three days' wages.]
  8. ^ Voegtli, M. (2003). "Crise de foi dans l'industrie chocolatière Suchard : du paternalisme à l'État social (1870-1940)". A Contrario. 1 (2): 90–115. doi:10.3917/aco.012.115. Retrieved 10 February 2019.
  9. ^ Clarence-Smith, William Gervase (September 2, 2003). Cocoa and chocolate, 1765-1914. Routledge. p. 59. ISBN 9780415215763.
  10. ^ Huguenin, Régis (2010). "Milka, 1901-1990 : vers un goût international de chocolat". Food & History (in French). 8 (2): 97. Vers 1896, Carl Russ lance une première tablette de "chocolat au pur et délicieux lait suisse". Son emballage représente un paysage alpestre sur fond blanc. Elle est remplacée, une décennie plus tard, par le chocolat Milka. 'Milch und Kakao', tel est en substance la signification de ce nom déposé en 1901. [Around 1896, Carl Russ launched a first tablet of "pure and delicious Swiss milk chocolate". Its packaging represents an alpine landscape on a white background. It was replaced a decade later by Milka chocolate. ‘Milch und Kakao’, this is the essence of the meaning of this name registered in 1901.]
  11. ^ Werner, Florian (February 21, 2012). Cow : a bovine biography (1st U.S. ed.). Vancouver: Greystone Books. pp. 63–64. ISBN 978-1553655817. Retrieved 10 February 2019.
  12. ^ Bailey, Elizabeth (1981-02-04). "CHEAP CHOCOLATE WORRIES THE SWISS". The New York Times. Retrieved 2015-09-23.
  13. ^ "Kraft Jacobs Suchard AG History". Funding Universe. Retrieved 10 February 2019.
  14. ^ Beckett, Edward (September 13, 2008). "Chocolate King Jacobs Dies". Forbes. Retrieved 10 February 2019.
  15. ^ Squicciarini, Mara P.; Swinnen, Johan (January 21, 2016). The economics of chocolate (First ed.). Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press. p. 123. ISBN 9780198726449. Retrieved 9 February 2019.
  16. ^ Ramirez, Anthony (June 23, 1990). "Philip Morris Will Buy Suchard's Europe Units". The New York Times. Retrieved 9 February 2019.
  17. ^ "Philip Morris forms Kraft Jacobs Suchard in Europe". UPI. September 8, 1993. Retrieved 9 February 2019.
  18. ^ Strom, Stephanie (May 23, 2012). "For Oreo, Cadbury and Ritz, a New Parent Company". The New York Times. Retrieved 9 February 2019.
  19. ^ "On the Trails of Swiss Chocolatier Suchard in Neuchâtel". Newly Swissed. June 22, 2015. Retrieved 9 February 2019.
  20. ^ Abdulla, Hannah (24 July 2015). "Mondelez opens Milka line at Bludenz plant". Just Food. Retrieved 10 February 2019.

External links[edit]

  • Media related to Suchard at Wikimedia Commons