GENEVA (AP) — Switzerland's fabled chocolate industry has had a bitter year.
Industry group Chocosuisse said Wednesday that sales fell 6.4 percent in 2009 as warm temperatures and the economic downturn dampened consumers' taste for the sweet stuff.
Chocosuisse said customers also chose cheaper chocolate over high-quality brands. Still, Swiss chocolate makers sold 174,000 metric tons (191,800 US tons) of bars, pralines and Easter eggs worth $1.6 billion last year.
Exports dropped 5.2 percent to 106,000 metric tons (116,850 US tons) — amounting to 60 percent of Switzerland's annual chocolate production.
Most of Switzerland's chocolate exports go to Germany, followed by Britain, France and the United States.