Choco-Diffusion S.A.

How did I come up with my list of chocolate, cookie and candy companies to visit? One way was by going into supermarkets and checking the aisles displaying the above mentioned goodies. I spotted a bag of caramel chews and noted the makers name; Choco-Diffusion S.A. I also noted they were based in Le Locle, the town high in the Jura Mountains where I'll be visiting watch companies.

In an industrial park located on a hillside near the edge of Le Locle, population 11,000, is where I find the two-story building housing Choco-Diffusion. I mailed a letter of introduction a month earlier to Jean-Willy Bihler, General Director, but he's not here today. Luckily, Linda Audot, Export Manager, agrees to answer questions. Founded 20 years ago by Bihler, about 25 people work here with that number rising to 70 later in the year when help is hired for the busy holiday season.

Choco-Diffusion markets Swiss "tourism" products such as milk cans filled with pieces of chocolate or miniature Swiss backpacks stuffed with chocolate. Novelty items like these are sold in Switzerland as well as exported to other countries like France, Germany, Australia and Japan. The company itself doesn't manufacture the chocolate but contracts it out.

There's not much to report as the only thing I see is Audot's office. A large warehouse occupies the first floor with offices on the second. Parking is plentiful, smoking isn't allowed in the workplace, there's no formal dress code and it's two hours to Geneva's airport. I can't see Bihler's office because "he's not here". Normally chocolate companies like to show off their product lines and load my bike down with goodies. That's not the case here as I leave empty-handed and without seeing a single product.