Much hard work goes into production

Much hard work goes into production

Chocolate maker’s export ambitions

Swiss International Chocolates is spreading its wings abroad after having served the UAE market for several years

01 June 2014

Swiss chocolate culture is alive and healthy in the UAE thanks to the efforts of pioneer Daniel Hutmacher.

Hutmacher, himself Swiss, set up his family business, Swiss International Chocolates, in Ras Al Khaimah in 2008, and has served mainly UAE residents but the entrepreneur is keen his clientele spreads beyond the emirates.

Until now only small consignments have gone abroad but Hutmacher believes the time is now right to look more seriously at picking up overseas buyers as all the company’s systems including the packaging aspect are in place for such an outreach.

“We’re just now starting the export development process and will clearly focus on the surrounding GCC markets before going too far away,” said Hutmacher, a chocolatier and graduate of the Hotel School of Lausanne who 20 spent years in the hospitality industry worldwide including his last stint in the UAE.

Africa and India will be next in his sights, says the chocolate maker who also notes that the surrounding island groups such as the Maldives, Seychelles and Mauritius use the UAE as a purchasing platform and could end up as his customers.

The company handles local marketing but is scouting for trustworthy partners and distributors for sales overseas. A concern he has voiced is that overseas markets are very price-sensitive due to import duties and so “not all products will be feasible.”   

Hutmacher: time to go forward

Hutmacher: time to go forward

“Having lived in the UAE for over three years, I explored the opportunity of using our skills and expertise to bring the highest quality of Swiss chocolates  to the country,” said Hutmacher who was the Dubai-based regional director of food and beverage at Movenpick Hotels and Resorts before deciding to set up his chocolate factory in the desert.

Selling well are the flavours Raspberry/Chili, Rooibosh Earl Grey Tea, 62 Per Cent Cocoa, Pralines, Gianduja, Summer Fruits and the newest offering, Royal Omani Halwa Chocolates.

Hutmacher says success has come from being fastidious about quality standards and working meticulously and relentlessly at maintaining them. “We are constantly reinventing ourselves through new creations and novelties,” he adds.

The company has a sugar-free line but it remains a small part of the sales. Explains Hutmacher: “The market is not yet well educated about sugar-free chocolates. On the other hand, people who should be careful on their consumption such as diabetics are not careful and choosy about what they consume.”

A line that’s gaining momentum at his plant is customised products. “The customised percentage is increasing and we’re already above 10 per cent of production. We offer a fantastic solution to retailers who want to develop their shops without having to step into industrial production with all its challenges,” he says.

Production at the factory started in early 2009 with a focus on fresh, high-quality ingredients. The operation has grown with orders coming in from the hospitality sector, palaces, corporate customers and individuals. In the retail market, the company only supplies to high-end outlets. Swiss International Chocolates’ production director is none other than Hutmacher’s sister, Ginette Oberson.

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