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9 iconic Swiss brands you should recognize

To an extent, Switzerland is all about chocolate and watches. But this small country of 8 million people boasts a disproportionate number of influential brands.

In addition, the tagline "Made in Switzerland" is probably one of the most respected signs of quality and precision. In order to be smarter than a fifth-grader, the following are five brands you should recognize and (hopefully) associate with Switzerland:


Swatch

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"...

Swiss Brands - Swatch

Nestlé

You might have noticed that this Swiss company has outgrown its origins as a baby formula provider. 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 lifetime supply of chocolate. So this Swiss company actually owns the rights to the cookies and the recipe! (via Listverse)

Swiss Brands - Nestle

Victorinox

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.

Swiss Brands - Victorinox

Ricola

Voilà: the brand with the biggest expression of Swiss pride! I mean, who doesn't know their yodel slogan? Ricola candies are hands down the best remedy to clear your throat!

Swiss Brands - Ricola

Lindt Chocolate

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.

Swiss Brands - Lindt

Rivella

Although it might sound strange, this soda pop is actually made of milk serum. How appropriate for Switzerland's favorite beverage, right? Rivella has tried to expand its market past the Swiss borders but has largely failed...

Read more about Rivella's cult status in 7 Swiss sodas you need to try.

When Americans Try Rivella - Rivella Swiss soda
Where to buy Rivella online

Ovomaltine

"Just one more spoonful of this delicious powder before I call it quits..." This is a frequent thought among the many Swiss who regularly consume Ovomaltine mixed with cold or hot milk. Originally a type of hot chocolate as rations for Swiss soldiers, the brand now offers a plethora of products.

Ovo Sport is a chocolate-covered Ovomaltine candy bar. Lately, Ovomaltine cookies have hit the shelves, proving that the malt extract tastes delicious in any shape or form.

Since its launch in 1904, Ovomaltine has expanded globally to about 100 countries. Outside of Switzerland, the brand is usually called Ovaltine. This name first appeared in 1917 when Ovaltine production started in the US.

Swiss Brands - Ovomaltine

MIGROS

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!

Established in 1925, the once humble little Zürich store which counted 16 employees has since grown into one of Switzerland's largest enterprises, the largest supermarket chain, and the largest employer. Still, it's contained to Switzerland and Turkey only.

Swiss Brands - Migros

Mövenpick Ice Cream

The Swiss would rather keep Mövenpick a secret because this Nestlé brand makes some of the best ice creams 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...

Swiss Brands - Moevenpick

In case you're interested, read more about Swiss brands in this interesting article by Brand Channel! We have also covered Swiss brands as part of our review of LOGOBOOK.

In your opinion, did we miss any typical Swiss brands? Please let us know...

Dimitri Burkhard

As the founder, editor, and community manager of Newly Swissed, Dimitri owns the strategic vision. He is passionate about storytelling and is a member of Swiss Travel Communicators.

Dimitri loves discovering new trends and covers architecture, design, start-ups and tourism.

32 comments

  • You missed Emmi, particularly the cheese fondue. This is a hit in The Netherlands, at least in our family.

  • Mmmmmm Emmi! As a dtuchy myself I can confirm this. Nonetheless I can tell you Geert that in Switzerland itself there’s much more (and better) cheese fondue brands. If I am correct I found an interesting article the other day on cheese fondue brands being exported so much by the Swiss and the Netherlands is the number 1 export country for Switzerland. I see if I can retrieve the article for you.

  • @ Geert: I have an idea. I just make a blog on it this morning. Found it and love to write about it. Keep yourself updated on the site and read the blog (and many more) soon!

  • There’s also Frauenfeld’s worst-kept secret, Sigg. For years, a Siggie bottle has been my go-to gift when sending home to friends in the UK – but I’ve noticed them on sale in England now, so I’ve lost my prized pressie, boo!

  • Where is the brand with the word Suisse inside of it. The other banking giant: Credit Suisse. Here in state side it’s even more popular than UBS. Specifically in investment banking.

    • It’s all a matter of taste, Denis ;-) I don’t personally know Cenovis, but I might try it for consideration in a future post!

      ^Dimitri

      • I realized recently is it more a Romandie delicatessen.
        It is an eatable version of Marmite or Vegemite ;-)

  • Toblerone! Also, Logitech and Freitag deserve some credit. Not that anybody knows they’re swiss, but they are pretty famous.

  • I usually find Swiss made chocolates in supermarkets here in Santiago, Chile. Toblerone, Lindt among others. I remember that there was a Swiss made chocolate costing US$ 25, for Christmas. It was expensive for Chilean standards. However, the whole stock was sold out in less than a week!!. Last year, I made a gift for my mother in her birthday, a Lindt chocolate Made In Switzerland, and my mom can`t believed it. She was very happy. :D The Lindt chocolate was very good and better than other imported chocolates.
    Switzerland never failed me. ;D

    • Lovely,that story about your mom’s birthday! Thanks for sharing, and keep eating that delicious Swiss chocolate… ;-) ^Dimitri

      • Thank you very much. I have not mentioned that I live near a Nestle plant located in Camino a Melipilla road in South-Western Santiago. The plant is the most advanced in South America. Considering that Switzerland is a nation of 8 million, Swiss economy is massively important. Look at the recent shock in the world currency markets after the Swiss Nacional Bank ended the cap in the Euro-Swiss Franc exchange rate.
        God Bless Switzerland.
        :D

  • I would pay through the nostrils for MIGROS China. Nothing works better my end than rock-solid, built-to-last quality Swissness. (My wife knows this too often because our suitcases on our way from Switzerland to London are chock-full of MIGROS goodness such as solid stationery!)

    Rivella is alive and well in Beijing, whereas in London, it might draw you blank stares, a very important reason why we’re headed to Beijing very soon. I myself am a frequent consumer of Ovomaltine at the Swissôtel Beijing and am also a big-time believer in Mövenpick yoghurt!

    I am also always a Kantonalbank kind of person (not to say who I bank with! It’s a (sort-of) secret!), and prefer to «go local» in Switzerland than… well… let me say I don’t carry anything UBS-y with me at all.

    In the UK the sole reason why I visit Waitrose is to pick up chocolate from Lindt. Yes, to count, it *must* have Swiss origins, and a bar code starting in 76 is a very good sign of that. Milka maybe at times, probably due to its Swiss roots, but my wife has found, as of late, an excess of Lindt chocolate bar carton covers around the house all the time. When in Switzerland, of course, all chocolate-y desires are instantly resolved with a visit to MIGROS. (Coop only for the 50 cl ice tea with the straw for Fr. —.50 a pop.)

    I paid through the nostrils for the classic of the Swiss railways — Hans Hilfiker’s SBB clock, with the obligatory 1.5 – 2 second pause, now as my «official» wrist watch (thanks, Mondaine)! (Whereas I alternate between the Apple Watch and Hilfiker’s masterpiece on «ordinary» days, the latter is my sole timepiece when I do public presentations.)

    Finally, whenever I find Sbrinz, it goes instantly into my shopping basket — ditto with Emmi yoghurt (and I heard they have / used to have Toni yoghurt as well in Beijing!). Is the «price surcharge» in faraway lands worth it? Well!… it’s a little bit of home in a faraway country — that’s exactly what counts!

Dimitri Burkhard

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