My American children have been enjoying Sugus for several years now. 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 iconic Swiss candy? Here are 10 facts about Sugus, a sweet treat for generations of children in Switzerland:
1. The Swiss chocolate company, Suchard, introduced Sugus in Switzerland, in part, to help diversify its product range, as chocolate sales would generally decline during the summer months. It makes sense—a Sugus in your child’s pocket on a hot July day seems more practical than a melted piece of chocolate!
2. Sugus 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). 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. 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. Sugus 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.—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).
9. Fruit juice concentrate makes up 0.5% of the ingredients in Sugus. In addition, they 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, which currently has over 22,000 followers. Sugus is popular in Switzerland with kids and adults alike.
Do you have fond memories of Sugus from your childhood? Which flavor is your favorite? Please share your comments below or send me an email. Many thanks!