It’s Time to Say: Happy Birthday, Svoge!

The history of one of the oldest chocolate brands in Bulgaria – Svoge, is long and interesting…

Svoge is a traditional family brand with a well-known and loved taste by all Bulgarian consumers. This cherished local jewel of Bulgaria with a lengthy history of spreading moments of joy has been on the market for 25 years! With its high quality, great variety of products, high awareness and traditional heritage status Svoge is suitable for everyone’s taste.

In 1900, Velizar Peev – a former Bulgarian military and a member of the Serbo-Bulgarian war, left for France, driven by a desire to learn how to make chocolate. After working for a chocolate factory there, a year later, he returned to Bulgaria and opened a small sugar workshop.

At the beginning of the 20th century, chocolate was a novelty in the country. It was considered a luxury and many spiritual leaders at the time were declaring it “disgusting” and even “food of the Devil”. The people who were brave enough to try this temptation often had to ask the chocolate maker “How do I eat this, with the shiny paper or not?”. So, when Peev was starting his business, it was a risky and difficult venture. Despite the mistrust of banks, lack of market, competition from imported products and problems with deliveries, Bulgarians liked the chocolate and Peev’s business flourished. Velizar became the main producer of chocolate in Bulgaria, making 2/3 of all cocoa products in the country. In the 30s, the chocolate made by Peev took first place in the international fairs in Bern, Paris, and Vienna.

In 1922, Peev made the decision to expand his production and to open a modern factory in Svoge. The factory was opened in 1924 at the Iskar River defile – a location that provides excellent climate conditions and the necessary water resources to drive production and connect with suppliers and consumers through the city’s railway line. 300 people were employed in the production of a variety of chocolate products. In 1947, the factory was nationalized and became a Republic chocolate factory (If you go to Bulgaria today, don’t miss to try the Republica (Република) brand bars which are still sold in every store). 

Black-and-white look from the inside of the Peev Factory, circa 1930s.

There are a lot of curious facts in the life of the Chocolate King as a non-standard advertising campaign printing the countries flags on the packaging of small chocolates. Whoever collected the whole series, received a kilo of chocolate treats. The innovative game was full of tricks – the flag of Canada, for example, was in very small circulation.

Peev actively advertised around the city with a branded car: “Velizar Peev – biscuits, bread and chocolates”. He paid attention to the packaging of his products – he packed candy wrapped in paper, placed in wooden boxes.

At the end of 1993, the factory was acquired by the international company Kraft Jacobs Suchard. In the following year, many new brands have been presented to the Bulgarian market, including Svoge chocolates, which are still on the shelves in the stores in Bulgaria. In 2013, the company owner of the factory in Svoge changed its name and it became “Mondelēz”.  

Remembering the time when the Peev Factory manufactured Vienna Type Chocolate candies.

The 25th anniversary of the beloved local brand Svoge coincides with the 25th anniversary of the acquisition of the factory in Svoge by Mondelēz International. The year 2019 is full of celebrations for the company, for the employees, and for the consumers.

Svoge confectionery plant is one of the biggest and modernized confectionery manufacturing sites in Bulgaria. Although it is the birthplace of Milka Peanut Caramel, it produces many more brands. Apart from local brands like Moreni, Svoge, Sezoni, there are other global Power Brands such as Cadbury, Suchard, Lacta, Alpen Gold, Poiana. Currently, the Svoge plant produces more than 150 varieties of products from the company’s portfolio in over 40 flavors. These products are available in 36 markets across 4 continents. Today, the plant employees are nearly 550, and the company has invested more than 106 million leva over the past 25 years. The plant supports many projects of local communities, reduce its environmental footprint and optimize production processes. Today Mondelez’s chocolate factory in Svoge recycles up to 99% of its waste from the production process.

Do you know where the hormone of joy and happiness can be found?

In Svoge chocolate, of course!

Svoge will put the smile on the consumers’ faces during its 25th anniversary as an essential part of the Bulgarians’ life and It’s time to say: Happy Birthday, Svoge!  

Svoge Factory Today – bird view