The Lindt History

An entrepreneurial spirit. A chocolate revolution. The perfect partnership. This is the story of how Lindt & Sprüngli came to be.

1800s

Pioneers in Chocolate

It all began with the opening of David Sprüngli’s small confectionery in Zurich. The business grew quickly thanks to Sprüngli’s entrepreneurial spirit and passion for chocolate. Sprüngli soon became renowned among chocolate manufacturers. 

1845: Early Success

In a small confectionery shop on Marktgasse in Zurich’s old town David Sprüngli and his son, Rudolf Sprüngli-Ammann, produced the first solid bar of chocolate in the German-speaking part of Switzerland. It instantly became a success.

Photo of David Sprüngli.
Print of the original factory.

1847: First Chocolate Factory

Sprüngli grew rapidly, opening the Schleifetobel factory in Horgen in 1847. You could smell chocolate in the air when production began.

Second Half of the 19th Century

Chocolate Entrepreneurs

1859: A Novel Patisserie 

David Sprüngli and son inaugurated a second confectionery on Paradeplatz – the, until now, famous Confiserie Sprüngli. Its elegant interiors quickly found favour among the locals, making it a popular place to get together.

Drawings of early Lindt buildings.
Lindt conching machine and its inventor Rodolphe Lindt.

1879: The Invention of Conching

Meanwhile in Berne, Rodolphe Lindt, the son of a pharmacist, had just started a small confectionery. Shortly after opening in 1879, Lindt’s chocolate company Rod. Lindt & Sons only produced hard, bitter chocolate - just like other chocolatiers at that time. Undeterred, Lindt kept experimenting, until one Friday night after months of testing, he left his factory without turning off the conching machine. It churned all night and all through the weekend. The chocolate Lindt found on Monday was delicately smooth and tasted like it never had before. Chocolate had changed forever. That was the beginning of incomparably delicate, world-renowned Lindt chocolate fondant.

The secret to his chocolate was all in the conching process he had invented which created a fine-melting texture by evenly combining the cocoa mass and cocoa butter with other ingredients like sugar and milk for a prolonged period of time. Lindt’s conching technique created a ‘melting chocolate’ so fine and flavourful - it was impossible to resist. This was the start of a chocolate revolution. Lindt kept his invention top secret until the Sprüngli’s came into the picture. Today, conching is used by chocolate manufacturers all over the world.

1892: How Sprüngli became Lindt & Sprüngli

When Rudolf Sprüngli-Ammann stepped down, he divided the company between his two sons, Johann Rudolf Sprünli-Schifferli and David Robert Sprüngli-Baud in 1892. Johann Rudolf took over the factory in Horgen, later to be part of Lindt & Sprüngli. His younger brother received the two confectionery stores in Zurich.

Painting of Rudolf Sprüngli-Ammann.
Drawing of the newly built Lindt factory.

1899: The Birth of Lindt & Sprüngli

The perfect partnership.

When Lindt happened upon the secret in 1879 that would effectively put Switzerland on the map as a top-tier chocolate manufacturer, Johann Rudolf Sprüngli took notice. His interest had been piqued; he recognised a fellow chocolate connoisseur.

But it wasn’t until 1899 that the two entrepreneurs met. Johann Rudolf Sprüngli had just completed construction on a larger factory in Kilchberg-Bendlikon, the location of today’s headquarters, to increase output. In Berne, the high demand for Rodolphe Lindt’s creamy chocolate was beginning to strain Lindt’s small antiquated production facilities.

So when Johann Rudolf Sprüngli offered to buy the company for an impressive 1.5 million gold francs – including the brand Lindt and the secret recipe – Lindt agreed under the condition that he still had a say in the business. The perfect partnership was born until Sprüngli fully ran the business.

1900s

Start of the Century

The new century started off strong for Lindt & Sprüngli, though it was not without its challenges. Despite the First World War, the Swiss chocolate industry flourished with Lindt & Sprüngli playing a significant part in its success. By 1915, the majority of the output was exported abroad. Even during the Second World War, Lindt & Sprüngli did not sacrifice its dedication to quality. At the end of the war – coincidentally our 100-year anniversary – sales rose rapidly again.

As of 1920s: Growth Abroad

In the beginning of the 20th century, Lindt & Sprüngli established general agencies and subsidiaries in Germany, the US and the UK. In 1930, the company’s name was changed to today’s name “Chocoladefabriken Lindt & Sprüngli AG”.

Horse and carriage chocolate delivery.
Second Half of the 20th Century

International Expansion

The company continued to grow in all key markets with subsidiaries and distributor businesses. Today, Lindt & Sprüngli is number 1 in the global premium chocolate market and well-known for its chocolate classics.

Lindt Bâtons Kirsch box.

1932: Bâtons Kirsch

1932 saw the launch of a true Swiss original the “Bâtons Kirsch” which proved to be a real success for Lindt & Sprüngli.

1945 Lindt chocolate advert.

1945: 100 Years of Lindt & Sprüngli

Lindt & Sprüngli turned 100 and celebrated the big anniversary with a 12-part advertising series. The anniversary coincided with the end of the war and chocolate consumption picked up again. 

1945: 100 Years of Lindt & Sprüngli

Lindt & Sprüngli turned 100 and celebrated the big anniversary with a 12-part advertising series. The anniversary coincided with the end of the war and chocolate consumption picked up again. 

1945 Lindt chocolate advert.
Early LINDOR bars.

1949: Chocolate Gold – LINDOR

The Lindt Master Chocolatiers wanted to create something heavenly to lift customers’ spirits after the war. They set to work experimenting with chocolate recipes until, in 1949, they came across a chocolate so luxuriously smooth it could be compared to melted gold. It was named LINDOR. First appearing as a chocolate bar with a delicately melting filling, LINDOR was only associated with the signature truffles 20 years later. Curious to know more about the LINDOR history?

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1952: A Hoppy Surprise – The Lindt GOLD BUNNY

In 1952, the Lindt GOLD BUNNY first appeared. Inspired by his daughter, a Lindt Master Chocolatier created a bunny out of the finest Swiss chocolate. He lovingly wrapped it in gold foil to make it shine and tied with a red ribbon bow and a little bell so it would never get lost. Today, the Lindt GOLD BUNNY is an Easter staple, signalling that spring is just around the corner. Want to know the full story of the Lindt GOLD BUNNY?

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Lindt GOLD BUNNY with baby bunny.
Early LINDOR truffles.

1969: A Worldwide Favourite – LINDOR Truffles

Finally, in 1969, Lindt & Sprüngli released the first LINDOR truffles as a Christmas specialty. They became an immediate success and customers were sad to see them go when the festive season was over...

1979: Chocolate Classics

Before the end of the decade, in 1979, Lindt’s premium collection Connaisseur pralines were created for special gifting occasions and expanded into their own brand line.

Connaisseur chocolate box.
Historical Lindt EXCELLENCE Bar from 1989.

1989: EXCELLENCE

In 1989, yet another classic was created. Lindt & Sprüngli introduced the extra thin EXCELLENCE dark chocolate bars with its intense and elegant flavours and fine texture.

2000s

The Future of Lindt & Sprüngli

Lindt & Sprüngli is committed to creating fresh new flavours that inspire consumers while maintaining the highest quality in every product. The turn of the century saw a wealth of new, delicious chocolate creations and exciting initiatives that continue to bring the world of Lindt closer to you.

Cocoa farmers that are being educated as part of Lindt & Sprüngli Farming program

2008: Lindt & Sprüngli Farming Program

Sustainability is an integral part of Lindt & Sprüngli’s corporate philosophy and is firmly anchored in its strategy, from the sourcing of the cocoa beans to the finished chocolate product. Since 2008, the Lindt & Sprüngli Farming Program is an expression of this commitment to sustainability.

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2009: An Exciting Year

Swiss global tennis champion Roger Federer became Lindt’s brand ambassador in 2009. In the same year, Lindt & Sprüngli founded its own global retail network, creating a premium chocolate experience for the world.

Roger Federer with Lindt master chocolatiers at Retail Store Opening.
The Lindt TEDDY.

2011: Lindt Christmas Magic

The Lindt GOLD TEDDY launched in time to bring some extra magic during the festive season in 2011.

2013: Giving Back

In 2013, Lindt & Sprüngli founded the Lindt Cocoa Foundation and the Lindt Chocolate Competence Foundation. The Lindt Cocoa Foundation improves the social and ecological environment around chocolate production. Fostering sustainable agriculture, the Lindt Cocoa Foundation supplements existing efforts designed to improve the living and working conditions of the cocoa farmers. While the charitable Lindt Chocolate Competence Foundation aims to sustain, cultivate and promote Switzerland’s long-term standing as a business location for chocolate and further strengthen the Swiss chocolate-making expertise.

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Lindt cocoa farmers.
Inside the Home of Chocolate.

2020: Home of Chocolate

In 2013, the charitable Lindt Chocolate Competence Foundation started a visionary project in Kilchberg, Switzerland. In 2020, during Lindt & Sprüngli's 175th anniversary, the Lindt Home of Chocolate opened its doors. Located at our headquarters in Kilchberg, it houses interactive exhibits, a research and pilot plant, the world’s largest chocolate shop, a café and chocolateria designed especially for chocolate courses. As the Home of Chocolate, it is no surprise that it also has one of the world’s largest chocolate fountains!

Today Lindt & Sprüngli is a household name signalling bliss, quality and chocolate delight the world over. Over the years, the company expanded its brand portfolio abroad and acquired chocolate businesses including Hofbauer and Küfferle (1994), Caffarel (1997), Ghirardelli (1998) and Russell Stover (2014). Today, the Lindt & Sprüngli brands create a unique product world with more than 2500 products. Our quality products are made in 11 production sites in Switzerland, Europe and the US and are distributed via 28 subsidiaries, 500 own retail shops and a comprehensive network of more than 100 distributors in more than 120 countries. Despite its global growth, Lindt & Sprüngli remains Swiss in its roots – in fact, the Swiss remain the biggest champions with each citizen consuming on average one LINDOR truffle a day.

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2020: Chocolate delight

Lindt & Sprüngli opened its doors to the Home of Chocolate, a museum and chocolate factory in one, to celebrate our 175th anniversary. Located at the headquarters in Kilchberg, it houses interactive exhibits, a research and display production facility, the world’s largest chocolate shop, a café and chocolateria designed specially for baking courses. As the Home of Chocolate, it’s no surprise that it also has one of the world’s largest chocolate fountains! Today Lindt & Sprüngli is a household name signalling bliss, quality and sweet delight the world over. A global leader in premium chocolate, we are established in more than 120 countries with manufacturing plants in the US and various locations in Europe. Despite our growth, Lindt & Sprüngli are still a homegrown company – in fact, the Swiss remain our biggest champions with each citizen consuming on average one Lindor truffle a day. 
1845: Early success
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