To a certain extent, Switzerland is all about chocolate and watches. However, although just shy of 8 million people, this small country boasts a disproportionate number of influential brands.
In addition, the tag line "Made in Switzerland" is probably one of the most respected signs for quality and precision.
So, in order to be smarter than a fifth grader, the following are five brands you should recognize and (hopefully) associate with Switzerland:
They are hands down the most precise, stylish and affordable watches! If you didn't guess, the name Swatch was formed from the words "Swiss" and "watch"...
You might have noticed that this Swiss company has grown way past producing alternatives to breast milk. In fact, you might be consuming some of their goods on a daily basis: Nescafé and Taster's Choice coffee, Perrier water, Dreyer's and Häagen-Dazs ice-cream, Thomy mustard, or Butterfinger and Nerds candies.
BONUS: Toll House is a brand of cookies and brownies marketed by Nestlé. It is named for the Toll House Inn in Whitman, Massachusetts, where Ruth Graves Wakefield is credited with inventing the chocolate chip cookie by mistake in the 1930s in a nearby Rhode Island town. Ruth Graves approached Nestlé after the popularity of her cookies skyrocketed. The price that Nestlé paid her for the recipe was a life-time supply of chocolate. So this Swiss company actually owns the rights to the cookies and the recipe! (via Listverse)
Every Swiss man has at least one. And for over a century, the maker of the official Swiss Army Knife has taken advantage of what the Swiss flag stands for (see above). Also, Wenger, one of the subsidiaries of Victorinox, is more popular in the US as they sell army knives and travel accessories in outlets such as Target and Officemax.
Voilà the biggest expression of Swiss pride! I mean, who doesn't know their yodel slogan? These candies are hands down the best remedy to clear your throat!
If you asked 100 people what comes to mind when they hear Switzerland, 99 would respond with chocolate! Right? With roots in the 19th century, today's Lindt chocolate still has that same sweetness and creamy consistency... Sorry if I teased you too much! But it's just so yummy...
Now on to the brands that are either way too specific to Switzerland or simply damaging to the country's image. Assuming that you are a global citizen, I do not believe that you should be expected to know any of these Swiss brands. But you deserve extra credit if you actually do!
Although it might sound strange, this soda pop is actually made of milk serum. How appropriate for Switzerland's favorite beverage, right? Also, Rivella has tried to expand their market past the Swiss borders but has largely failed...
Outside of Switzerland, it is usually called Ovaltine. But it is essentially the same brown, powdery milk drink that 95% of non-lactose intolerant Swiss kids grow up with! I did. I guess now you know that this product is also Swiss. Hmm.
Looking for anything? They have it at MIGROS. Lately, I have even seen a kind of OREO cookie knock-off, which might catapult this Swiss grocery chain to the brands you should know!
Anyway, established in 1925, the once humble little Zürich store which counted 16 employees has since grown into one of Switzerland's largest enterprises, largest supermarket chain and largest employer. Still, it's contained to Switzerland and Turkey only.
Unless you have been living under a rock, you probably know that this Swiss bank has been involved in some shady
trickery tax strategies lately. In fact, UBS has had a practice of helping wealthy Americans harboring their cash in order to evade the taxman. After all has been said and done, the UBS crisis has hurt Switzerland's banking industry and some Swiss are still avoiding the bank years later.
Mövenpick Ice Cream
The Swiss would rather keep Mövenpick a secret, because this Nestlé brand makes some of the best ice-cream in the world! On any given day, Swiss and others who were let in on the secret will line up at Mövenpick outlets to buy a few scoops of pure delicacy. So keep this a secret and do not tell your friends, because we would not want these lines to get any longer...
And finally, in your opinion, did we miss any typical Swiss brands? Please let us know...
Dimitri loves discovering new trends and covers architecture, design, start-ups and tourism.