The History of The Ricola Company


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For the monotypic genus Ricola, see Ricola macrops.


Ricola Logo.svg


Aktiengesellschaft (AG)




Emil Wilhelm Richterich


Laufen, Switzerland

Key people

Felix Richterich (President & CEO)


Cough drops, breath mints


297.3 Million CHF (Swiss Francs) (2012)

Number of employees

 >400 (2012)


Ricola Bonbons.JPG


Ricola Ltd./Ricola AG is a manufacturer of cough drops and breath mints in Switzerland. All their products include natural herbal ingredients, exclusively cultivated on Swiss soil without any use of pesticides, insecticides or herbicides.[1][2] The head office of Ricola is located in Laufen, Basel-Country.[3]


Contents  []

1 Business

2 History

3 Herbs

4 Ricola herb gardens

5 Awards

6 References

7 External links




Ricola listed sales of 297.3 Million CHF (Swiss Francs) in (2012) and employs 400 workers. Around 200 independent produce companies in the surrounding area service Ricola. In order to obtain enough herbs for the production of its herbal drops, the firm contracts over 100 self-managed farms in the Valais, Emmental, Val Poschiavo and at the southern foot of the Jura Mountains, in central Switzerland, and in Ticino. Ricola is known for its commercials featuring Heidi (Ramona Pringle) depicting mountaineers shouting "Ri-co-la!" and blowing through a large Alphorn.




Ricola began in 1930 when Emil Wilhelm Richterich established Confiseriefabrik Richterich & Co. Laufen after the purchase of a small bakery in Laufen, just outside Basel. Under Richterich, the bakery specialized in confectionery such as “Fünfermocken," a sweet which was similar to caramel. In 1940 Richterich created Ricola's Swiss Herbal Sweet incorporating a blend of 13 herbs. In the 1950s the sweet became appreciated for its ability to be dissolved in boiling water, creating an aromatic herbal tea or tisane, which inspired Richterich to create a Ricola Herbal Tea a few years later.[4]


In 1967, Emil Richterich and his sons Hans Peter and Alfred renamed the company Ricola, an abbreviation of Richterich & Compagnie Laufen. Export began in the 1970s, introducing Ricola's products to foreign markets. At the end of the decade, Ricola moved to a new purpose-built factory in the vicinity of Laufen, where its headquarters are still located.[4]


In 1976, after extensive research on sugar-free confectionery, Ricola launched Switzerland’s first chewable, sugarless herbal sweet. Ricola first started to advertise its products on television in the 1980s, an era that saw increased awareness of the need for good dental hygiene, increasing the demand for sugar-free products such as the ones that Ricola offered. In 1988 the company started packaging their products in small boxes.[4]


The company is now managed by Felix Richterich, son of Hans Peter and grandson of the founder. Today, Ricola exports to over 50 countries in Asia, North America and Europe.[5]




While the active ingredient in most Ricola products is menthol, an important part of Ricola products is the herb mixture. The following herbs are noted as being part of Ricola's classic blend of 13 herbs:[6]

Elder (Sambucus nigra)

Horehound (Marrubium vulgare)

Mallow (Malva silvestris)

Peppermint (Mentha × piperita)

Sage (Salvia officinalis)

Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)

Cowslip (Primula veris)

Burnet (Pimpinella saxifraga)

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)

Marsh Mallow (Althaea officinalis)

Lady's Mantle (Alchemilla vulgaris)

Speedwell, aka Veronica (Veronica officinalis)

Plantain (Plantago lanceolata)


In the United States, ten herbs make up the herbal mixture, three of which are not in the above list. These are Linden Flowers (Tilia platyphyllos), Wild Thyme (Thymus serpyllum) and Hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis).[7]


Ricola herb gardens[]


Ricola has six show gardens in Switzerland. Visitors to the herb gardens can learn about the original herbal blend in their natural environment and learn all about the cultivation and power of herbs. The gardens can be visited as tourist attractions and are located at the following locations:[8]

Nenzlingen, near the company headquarters

Trogberg, a mountain in the canton of Solothurn

Klewenalp above Beckenried

Kandersteg in the Berner Oberland

Zermatt in the Valais

Pontresina in the southern part of Graubünden


The herbs used to produce Ricola's cough drops are not cultivated in these gardens, but in natural plantations in the Swiss mountains in accordance with strict organic or BioSuisse guidelines. Ricola ensures that its cultivation areas are not situated near industrial sites or the road networks to avoid contact with harmful pollutants. Over 100 self-managed farms are under contract to Ricola in the Valais, Emmental, Puschlav and the Jura Mountains, in Central Switzerland and Ticino. No pesticides, insecticides or herbicides are used in herb cultivation.[2]




The company has won several awards:[9]

“Most Trusted Brand" in 2008, 2010, and 2011 by the readers of Reader's Digest

“SwissAward 2010” – Felix Richterich (VR-President) was awarded a distinction for the business category

“Power Brand 2010”, among the top 20 Swiss brands, the Brand Asset Valuator by Young & Rubicam

Public prize of the Swiss Packaging Institute award 2008

“Best Taste Award 2008” awarded by the International Taste and Quality Institute (iTQi) in Brussels, Belgium

“the EFFIE prize” (gold medal) in Germany 2000 for the Ricola campaign Finland / Australia




1. Products". Ricola AG. Retrieved 2015-12-02.

2. a b "Ricola herb farmers would rather inspect every single leaf individually than use chemical substances to combat insects or other pests.". Ricola AG. Retrieved 2015-12-02.

3. Contact". Ricola AG. Retrieved 2015-12-02.

4. a b c "History". Ricola AG. Retrieved 2015-12-02.

5. The Company". Ricola AG. Retrieved 2015-12-02.

6. "The Magic 13 Herbs". Ricola AG. Retrieved 2015-12-02.

7.  "Ricola Original - Ingredients". Ricola. Retrieved 2015-12-06.

8.  "Ricola Herb Gardens". Ricola AG. Retrieved 2015-12-02.

9. "Ricola is among the top 20 Swiss brands". Ricola AG. Retrieved 2015-12-02.


External links[]


Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ricola.

Ricola Website

Ricola USA Website

Flag of Switzerland.svgSwitzerland portal

Factory 1b.svgCompanies portal

Categories: Throat lozenges

Companies established in 1930

Companies of Switzerland

Breath mints

Swiss confectionery

Swiss brands




1930 – 1939

The history of the traditional Swiss family company, Ricola, has its beginnings in the 1930s.



In 1930, master baker Emil Richterich founds the confectioners Richterich & Compagnie in his native town of Laufen, a rural town near Basel, Switzerland. Together with his employees, he starts developing a series of herb drop specialties that are sold around the region.


1940 – 1959

Dedicating himself to the medicinal powers of herbs, Emil Richterich sets the course for his future success as an entrepreneur.



In 1940, Emil Richterich first creates the famous Ricola herb mixture for the Swiss Original herb cough drop still in production today. The unique square-shaped herb cough drop and well-balanced taste of natural herbs becomes the iconic product that is responsible for the global success of Ricola Ltd.



In 1951, to meet the increased demand for its herb drop specialties, Emil and his wife Rosa Richterich relocate their family and company to a new location just outside Laufen. At the same time they also stop production at the bakery in the old town of Laufen.


1960 – 1979


Ricola products become best sellers – at home in Switzerland and abroad. At the end of the 1960s, the company begins exporting its products abroad.



Excellent sales on the Swiss market motivate the risk of launching abroad. The Ricola original herb cough drop in particular is a sales hit. Germany becomes the most important export market but the Ricola herb drop soon becomes just as popular in other European countries.

In 1967, Emil Richterich and his sons Hans Peter and Alfred found Ricola Ltd. That same year, a new factory is set up in Laufen for fully automated production and packing of Ricola original herb cough drops.



Ricola expands its distribution worldwide during the 1970s. Asian markets such as Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore are added. The first steps are also taken to launch in the USA. Ricola introduces more ranges of herb specialties such as herb tea and the sugar-free herb Breath Mints. New flavors such as Lemon Mint and Orange Mint win more customers for Ricola herb drops.

Company founder Emil Richterich dies in 1973. His sons Hans Peter and Alfred take over the company’s management. While Hans Peter Richterich manages the company as partner and director, Alfred Richterich focuses on the company’s cultural activities.



1980 – 1999


Since the early 1980s, Ricola advertises its products also on television. Ricola develops the classic Ricola call and starts organic cultivation of herbs in Switzerland.



Early on, Ricola is keen to embrace organic farming methods. After intensive trials, the company decides to support organic cultivation in Switzerland and to this end commences long-term purchase contracts with Swiss mountain farmers. In 1983, herb producers set up the ArGe consortium of herb farmers in Switzerland, comprised of regional cooperatives. Ricola’s contractual guarantees for the purchase of the herbs play a major role in the founding and success of this organization.

In 1983, the redevelopment by Herzog & de Meuron of the residential and factory premises in Laufen, in use since 1967, is the first in a series of commissions by Ricola AG for the globally active architects studio.


Ricola launches the new sugar-free herb drops in a practical, small pocketsize pack. A new era dawns: From now on, consumers can enjoy herb drops on the go!


Founding the first Ricola USA, Inc. subsidiary is the basis for the successful sales of Ricola Herbal Cough Drops in the USA and Canada.


In 1991, Felix Richterich is the family’s third generation to assume responsibility for the company’s management. Ricola AG continues to grow, spurred on by its expanding international activities and new additions to the range of herb specialties.

Ricola Europe SA, located in Mulhouse-Brunstatt (France), opens in 1993. This factory and distribution center, also designed by architects Herzog & de Meuron, packs the herb drops for the European market. But the herb drops continue to be exclusively produced in Switzerland. That same year, the famous ‘Ricola jingle’ is created and subsequently goes around the world.



2000 until today


The company employs over 400 employees worldwide. Ricola products are available in more than 50 countries.


The Richterich family continues to manage the long-established company in the new millennium. In his position as CEO and Chairman of the Board of Directors, Felix Richterich is supported by his brother Lukas Richterich, who acts as Vice-Chairman of the Board of Directors.


In 2006, Ricola Ltd in Laufen opens a new factory for the production of herb drops. This state-of-the-art-facility with integrated process control system meets the latest technical requirements for pharmaceutical and food production. The old factory has since been renovated and is now used as a packing center.


Ricola’s international status continues to grow: New subsidiaries are founded in Italy, Hong Kong and England. In addition to the Ricola herb drops, the company launches new products such as soft herb pastilles and herb tea bags. These complete the Ricola range.


Ricola Ltd starts the Ricola Foundation in 2010. This non-profit foundation is Ricola’s contribution to research and preservation of natural cultivation processes and our cultural heritage. The first major project supported by the Ricola Foundation is COLOSS, a scientific network for research into the global losses of honeybee colonies.


In 2014, an additional building is opened: the Ricola Kräuterzentrum (Herb Center). As a central location for processing and storing Ricola herbs, it reflects the company’s knowledge of herbs.

Today over 400 employees work for Ricola worldwide. Ricola products are available in more than 50 countries in Europe, Asia and North America. Ricola’s commitment to innovation is ongoing. Examples are new flavors in the herb drop range, such as Mixed Berry, Mountain Mint, Liquorice, Apple Mint or the new Dual Action cough and throat drop.


This page was last modified on 6 December 2015, at 21:16.

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