10 Facts About Sugus: A Popular Candy with Swiss Roots


My American children have been enjoying Sugus for several years now. For example, they often receive them as part of a gift bag when they leave a birthday party. If you grew up in Switzerland, you likely have fond memories from your childhood of this chewy, fruit-flavored candy.

Sugus is popular in many countries, but has its roots in Switzerland, and more specifically, in the canton of Neuchâtel. As I started reading more about it, I was surprised to learn it was first sold here in 1931. It reminds me of the American candy, Starburst, which in comparison was introduced to the United States in 1967.

Want to know more about this Swiss candy? Here are 10 facts about a sweet treat for generations of children in Switzerland.

1. The Swiss chocolate company, Suchard, introduced Sugus in Switzerland.

This product, in part, helped to diversify its product range, as chocolate sales would generally decline during the summer months. Actually, it makes sense. A Sugus in your child’s pocket on a hot July day seems more practical than a melted piece of chocolate!

suchard factory
A former Suchard factory in Neuchâtel-Serrières.

2. It originally came in four flavors: pineapple, raspberry, lemon and orange.

Since that time, other flavors introduced over the years include mint (1934) and black currant (1980). In addition, Suchard replaced raspberry with strawberry in 1993.

3. The name Sugus was likely chosen because it’s easy to pronounce and reads the same from front to back (a.k.a., a palindrome).

Also, the “Su” in Sugus seems a nod to the company that first introduced it, Suchard.

4. The mascot for Sugus used to be a man whose torso was a piece of the candy.

Then, it was changed to a monkey in 1980. Here’s a 1988 commercial in French from Sugus Schweiz that features the current mascot. Maybe you remember seeing it on TV?

5. In 1988, Suchard introduced a Sugus candy made without sugar. 

Instead, it contains maltitol syrup and aspartame as sweeteners.

6. They are no longer made in Switzerland.

In 1993, Suchard moved the factory to France.

7. In 2005, Suchard sold the Sugus brand to Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company, a division of Mars, Inc.

As a result, it belongs to the same company that manufactures Starburst.

8. Today, Sugus comes in three flavor categories:

Classic (strawberry, pineapple, lemon and orange), Tree Fruits (apple, pear, cherry and peach) and Sugar Free (the same flavors at Classic).

Sugus Tree Fruit flavors: peach, cherry and apple.

9. Fruit juice concentrate makes up 0.5% of its ingredients.

They also contain sugar, glucose syrup, palm kernel fat, gelatin, emulsifier lecithin, flavors and dyes (E162, E160a, E160e).

10. In 2011, Sugus Schweiz launched its Facebook page.

It currently has over 24,000 followers. Sugus is popular in Switzerland with kids and adults alike.

Do you have fond memories of this candy from your childhood? Which flavor is your favorite? Please share your comments below or send me an email. Many thanks!

Updated: December 31, 2022

16 replies »

  1. Sugus brings up very fond memories of my childhood and my grandparents. When my brother and I would visit them, in they watch-making workshop, our grand-mother would always give us Sugus as a treat. Black current was always my favourite. This candy holds a lot of fond memories for me. Thank you for writing an article about it!

    • Hello Celia, What a lovely memory! Thank you for sharing this. I really enjoyed reading it. Watchmaking and Sugus — so very Swiss! 🙂 When did they stop making black currant, I wonder?

  2. Where can I buy them since I live in the US. Not a big fan of Starburst too sweet. I hate that Wrigley bought them.

    • Maybe via Amazon? Sorry I don’t have a better recommendation for you. If you find a good source, please let me know. 🙂

  3. My mom used to buy these for us from Oakland, chinatown in the 70-80’s. They were sold in clear cellophane packages, as if they were weighed and packaged at the store. The blue was my favorite, but i never knew what flavor it was, do you know? I thought my mom bought some the other day…but it wasnt it, it was an imitation/imposter. It was wrapped the same, but if you look closely it is labelled “sugar”. It tasted terrible. I was so disappointed! I wonder if they still sell the “real” ones in Chinatown, I’ll have to print out a picture of the new packaging and see if she can find them. Much better than Starbursts!

    • Hello Caroline! Thanks for visiting my blog! It sounds like you have very good childhood memories of Sugus. I read that the blue one is pineapple. Does that sound right? Hope you can track some down. 🙂 Best wishes, -Heddi

    • I remember them sold in various Chinatowns, including Oakland and San Francisco. Maybe even in some of the smaller Chinese groceries located near bedroom communities with lots of Chinese residents.

      They were typically sold in plastic bags that were prepared by the store and taped closed. A lot of items were sold that way in Chinatown. Obviously those came from some bulk packaging by the manufacturer. Occasionally I’d see them in tins that were usually gray market imports from Hong Kong or Taiwan.

      • It’s fascinating how this little candy that started in a small corner of Switzerland has become so popular throughout the world.

  4. My memories of Sugus stem from my early visits with my aunt and uncle in Germany during the 1970’s. I was 11 years old and still remember the Sugus radio jingle,sung by children.

    • Hello Gordon! Thanks for your message. Sounds like it was a nice childhood memory. These candies are still very popular in Switzerland. 🙂

    • Good question! But I think they are probably different. Sugus flavors are generally pineapple, raspberry, lemon and orange, while Skittle are orange, lemon, green apple, grape, and strawberry. Slightly different, but perhaps quite similar?

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