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Toblerone loses Swiss exclusivity as production shifts east

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ZURICH, June 23 (Reuters) - Toblerone maker Mondelez will shift some production of its iconic triangular chocolate bars to Slovakia from Switzerland at the end of next year, citing strong growth and the need to boost capacity.

"From the end of 2023, we'll add a limited Toblerone production in Slovakia," Mondelez spokeswoman Livia Kolmitz said in an emailed statement on Thursday, confirming a report by Swiss broadcaster SRF.

Food companies are facing high cost inflation, but Kolmitz did not connect the move to cost pressures, instead citing strong growth which also meant the firm would be increasing capacity at its Swiss production site in Bern.

Toblerone was first launched in 1908 and has been exclusively produced in Switzerland since the early 1990s.

Its packaging features the famous Swiss Matterhorn mountain and advertises "Swiss milk chocolate".

Under strict Swiss labelling rules, chocolate made abroad cannot be called "Swiss", but Kolmitz declined to comment on whether Toblerone would be changing its packaging. (Reporting by Silke Koltrowitz;Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)