SCCC Swiss Canadian Chamber of Commerce (Ontario)

SUISSE news Fall 2018 / August 2018

Ricola was Green Before it was Cool to be Green


When we think of Switzerland many iconic things come to the mind…great chocolate, the Alps, crafted time pieces…..and the iconic Ricola coughs drop! In the 1940’s, in the Swiss village of Laufen,  a mas­ter baker named Emil Richterich created a herbal mixture that became the company’s first herbal cough drop (and remains the top flavour around the globe). This cough drop became so popular that Emil decided to set up a company dedicated to throat drop production. The name chosen was Ricola which derives from shortening Richterich Compagnie Laufen.  

Ricola was Green Before It Was Cool to be Green

Since inception, Ricola remains diligent on delivering the best possible cough drop through continuous focus on quality and sustainability. The brand uses only the highest quality ingredients which stem from gentle and environmentally friendly growing and processing methods. Ricola performs several quality control checks for its herbs to ensure that all Ricola herbs are as pure as possible.  In addition, to not using any artificial colorings, flavorings or pesticides, Ricola places a high value on sustainable and ecological principles for its entire production process which includes an effort to reduce consumption of raw materials, energy and water, as well as optimizing wastewater disposal.

Another key value for Ricola is social responsibility. In addition to supporting numerous cultural and charitable projects and being a major employer in the Laufen area, Ricola is responsible for relationships with 100 or so independent herb farmers. These relationships contain contractual guarantees for herb cultivation quality and the company believes in building and maintaining fair and reliable long lasting business partnerships with these herb farmers and their families.

Global Expansion

Over the last 70 years, Ricola cough drops have grown to be distributed and sold in over 50 countries across the globe. Ricola attracts new users to the brand by delivering strong benefits to help relieve cough and sore throat symptoms and also by tasting great!

Every year, 290 million packs are distributed from Ricola and almost 90 percent of these are exported worldwide. The brand continues to have success through strong advertising (and its famous Riiiiiolaa jingle) as well as celebrity endorsements with the likes of  Robbie Williams, Madonna, Mariah Carey, Justin Timberlake and Cate Blanchett all being self-confessed Ricola fans.  The reason is simple - not only do the products have a soothing effect on the mouth and throat, singers in particular recommend the Swiss herb drops whenever they want to get their voices fit for concerts (the secret is that sucking Ricola herb drops ‘oils’ the vocal chords). 

Ricola in Canada

In Canada, Ricola has been distributed for over 25 years through a distribution partnership with Lindt Canada. In 2015, the CEO (Felix Richterich – the grandson of Emil) gave the ok to set up a Canadian office with Ricola employees directly managing the selling and marketing of Ricola in Canada. Over the last couple of years, the brand has grown rapidly – sold in all major Canadian retailers, and Canadian consumers continue to fall in love with this iconic Swiss brand. Ricola’s market share and household penetration (% of Canadian households that purchase the brand within the last year) have grown strongly (see below).


Ricola $ Share*

Household Penetration













*Source: ACNielsen 4 weeks ending July

**Source: ACNielsen Homescan 52 weeks

Ricola brand is very healthy in Canada and has helped grow total cough drop sales as well. Ricola is roughly 16% of Canadian market but has contributed 39% of the category growth over last 2 years. 

“We have aggressive growth plans here in Canada, which is exciting” says Alok Ummat, Marketing Director Ricola Canada. “We have a strong team in place here in Canada and have the full support from our parent company in Switzerland. Our end goal is not only to ensure that Canadians are made aware of the benefits of Ricola, but to eventually evolve the brand from a seasonal cough drop to a year round wellness brand. I can confidently say that we are well on our way! We are excited for the latest Ricola innovation – Extra Strength, which just launched in Canada in August of 2018. As a brand we have deep roots and strong values and this continues to be at our core of the Canadian business. We are proud to be a progressive company that values it’s history and brings the Canadian consumer the highest quality Swiss herbal drops for their enjoyment.”