Interview: Swiss biscuit company bets on Chinese market

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, September 5, 2021
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by Martina Fuchs

INTERLAKEN, Switzerland, Sept. 5 (Xinhua) -- The 111-year-old family-owned Swiss biscuit company Kambly, which has epitomized the local tradition of fine baked goods for four generations, has weathered the COVID-19 pandemic thanks to their customers wanting to enjoy the "good things in life" and to steady demand on the Chinese market.

"Business is going fine because we are a food company," Dania and Nils Kambly told Xinhua on the sidelines of the Swiss Economic Forum (SEF), one of the country's leading annual business events that took place in the Swiss tourist town of Interlaken this week.

"We produce biscuits, and you need to eat and you need to enjoy as well. From that point of view, it's fine for our business," Dania Kambly said. "But many things have changed, socially, especially for our team, and some markets didn't order any products. But still, the market on the whole has grown."

The pandemic has challenged food manufacturers around the world and laid bare the vulnerabilities of the global supply chains that rely on long distance transportation and farming systems that depend on access to international markets.

That's why enjoying the finer things in life and indulging in sweet delights has become ever more important, Dania Kambly said.

Dania Kambly has been a member of the family-owned company's Board of Directors since 2011. Since 2017, she has been overseeing corporate development projects. Her husband, Nils Kambly, has been chief executive director (CEO) and delegate of the Board of Directors since 2020.

Today, Kambly is the biggest biscuit producer in Switzerland and the leading Swiss exporter in its branch. Its exports to over 50 countries make up some 50 percent of the company's total turnover.

Its biscuit factory was founded in 1910 by Oscar Kambly. As members of the fourth generation, the couple is now eager to lead the traditional biscuit brand into a new era and to new markets.

"We distribute to all countries where we can assure that our biscuits arrive exactly with a taste and the shape as we produce them freshly," Nils Kambly explained. "The supply chain is very important. Secondly, our customers must understand what our product means."

In China, Kambly is present on the shopping platforms Taobao and, as well as on social platforms such as Weibo and WeChat. Its most famous products, such as Bretzeli, Butterfly, Matterhorn, and Caprice, are all available in the country.

The company works with Hangzhou Longmore Trading, which is responsible for product distribution across China via online and offline channels.

"I think China is a very, very interesting market for Kambly because we offer a Swiss quality product with fine milk, fresh butter made with love and true quality. The understanding in China for those products is definitely present," Nils Kambly explained.

Despite its international expansion, Kambly will always stay true to its Swiss roots, Nils Kambly said.

"All products that we sell in China are produced in Switzerland. They are produced at the very spot where everything started more than 111 years ago with regional ingredients. These are exactly the same products that we also sell here in Switzerland, just with Chinese names."

More than 80 percent of the raw materials come from or are processed in Switzerland, according to the company's website.

Asked about plans for new varieties, Nils Kambly said: "We are a very Swiss traditional brand so some of our products have to stay as they are because they're loved by our customers."

"Of course, we also innovate. We have a spectrum of biscuits, and there are changes. Some like it less sweet than maybe 20 years ago and, of course, we will also have an answer to this trend," he added. Enditem

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