The True History of Lindt Chocolate

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The Domination of Lindt Chocolate

Lindt & Sprüngli AG, more commonly known as Lindt, is a luxury Swiss chocolate and confectionery company.  It has a rich history that we’ve discussed previously in both our History of Chocolate posts and the in-depth discussion of Swiss Chocolatiers.  But Lindt on its own merit deserves a specific exploration due to not only due to its longevity but also the breadth of products and innovation they are responsible for.  Thanks to the Lindt company for this wealth of historical documentation.

1845—New Fashion in the World of Chocolate

In Zurich, confectioners David Sprüngli-Schwarz and his son, Rudolf Sprüngli-Ammann decided to make chocolate.  In keeping with the new fashion from Italy, they wanted to make solid bars, just like Cailler and Suchard had already done.  This new treat became so popular amount Zurich society that they had to move their factory just 2 years later.

1859—New Locations

David and Rudolf opened a second large pastry shop in 1859.  When his father died in 1862, Rudolf continued to expand the business.  Around 1880, Sprüngli employed around 80 people and supplied chocolates and pralines to many European countries as well as India.

1892—A New Era

When Rudolf Sprüngli retired from the business, he divided the company between his two sons.  The younger, David, received the two confectioner shops.  It was David and his successors, all family members, grew the business to the one that is known and recognized around the world.

1898—The Development of the Chocolate Factory

The older brother, Johann, received the chocolate factory.  Johann was willing to take risks from the very outset and increased the size of the factory and updated their technology. But the location did not permit further expansion, so they began construction on another facility which opened in 1899.  To secure the finance for this large project, the privately owned company was converted to a public company called “Chocolat Sprüngli AG.”  The company remains in this location to this day.

1899—Rodolphe Lindt Joins the Company

In the same year, Chocolat Sprüngli AG bought the Berne-based chocolate factory including exclusive manufacturing secrets and famous brand from Rodolphe Lindt who had developed conching in 1879.  This innovation, which led to the smooth, velvety textured chocolate of today, was a key contributor to the global reputation of Swiss chocolate.

1905—Great Chocolate, Tough Business

It was in 1905 when Lindt and his relatives separated from the company as a result of differences in opinion.  Shortly thereafter, they opened a new chocolate factory in breach of the agreement signed with Sprüngli.  Sprüngli sued but the case was not settled until 1928 when the company was liquidated.

1915—The Swiss Become Recognized Around the World

In the first 20 years of the new century, Swiss chocolate experienced huge gains, especially when it came to exports Lindt and Sprungli played an important role in this upturn.  But this time, the company was exporting around 75% of its chocolate to about 20 countries around the world.

1920-1945—Trying Times

During this era, the company was subject to massive challenges.  The economic crisis of the 20s and 30s resulted in the complete loss of all international markets which caused the company to reorganize and concentrate on developing the Swiss market.  World War II resulted in import restrictions on sugar and cocoa.  While they did not experience sales growth, the company survived.

1946-To Present—Lindt Takes the World by Storm

After the war, demand rose quickly.  To keep up with the demand, the now out-of-date machines had to be replaced and the factory enlarged.  The company signed licensing agreements with Italy, Germany and France.  They also expanded their domestic market.  They continued to develop proprietary methods in their manufacturing process.  In 1994 the transformation of the former Swiss company into an international successful organization with its headquarters in Switzerland and a modern corporate structure was completed.  The company now has production companies all over the world.

photos courtesy of lindt.com

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