Migros stands for Swiss production

The world is changing – and so is global trade. Borders are opening, customs duties and trade restrictions are disappearing, and prices are plummeting. In the midst of this upheaval, Migros is committed to local production and agriculture.

In November 2008, the Swiss Confederation began negotiations with the EU about an agreement in the areas of agriculture, food safety, product safety and public health. One of the goals is the free movement of goods between Switzerland and the EU: no customs duties or contingents, without our country’s restrictions on trade. “We can’t assume that our special status in agriculture will last in the long term. The high customs duties must be scrapped”, says Doris Leuthard, member of the Swiss Federal Council. “But we want to set the pace ourselves. At the moment, that’s still possible.”

An agreement with the EU would open up great market opportunities – with an additional 500 million European consumers. The chance to tap new markets can make the entire value chain more competitive. At the same time, consumers in Switzerland would profit from drops in food prices.

Migros plans to react to open borders by stepping up its quality strategy. Swiss quality instils great confidence and thus generates good sales potential both at home and abroad. A prime example of this is the cooperation between Migros and IP-Suisse. The resulting TerraSuisse label stands for sustainably produced Swiss foods.

Such efforts make it possible for products with added value to set themselves apart from cheap standard goods. With TerraSuisse, a programme was developed that represents local and organic production on a large scale. And in the end, everyone benefits. In 2010, the International Year of Biodiversity, the label is more topical than ever.

The Migros triad

Three labels - quality guaranteed

TerraSuisse is part of the three-pronged approach Migros has adopted to conquer domestic and foreign markets. The other elements are the Bio organic label and the product line “From the region, For the region”. The latter stands for products from places close to our customers’ homes. Such fresh products give Migros a decisive advantage compared with imports from abroad.

Migros and its food industry are continually investing in these and similar innovations and quality products. At the same time, Migros also carries a responsibility as Swiss agriculture’s largest buyer. The company regularly holds meetings with various farmers’ organisations and is involved in the dairy industry body BOM to help solve the milk market’s problems.

Even if trading barriers do come down, Migros wants to retain its commitment to Swiss products. And this is not just lip service: Migros currently invests around CHF 200 million a year in its industrial plants, plus a similar amount for their maintenance. The priority that Migros gives to Swiss agriculture is also reflected in the range: unlike its competitors, Migros does not, for example, import yogurts, but produces them itself exclusively from Swiss milk. Migros opts for Swiss vegetables for its tinned goods too, even though they are more expensive. 

Just how the domestic food industry – from farmers to processors and retailers – will fare once the barriers come down depends above all on whether consumers are prepared to pay more for quality products. In this respect, Migros will play a decisive role. It makes great efforts to communicate the value of Swiss foods to its customers – for example, through its labelling.