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Dr. Schär, innovative food products from South Tyrol to the rest of the world
The Dr. Schär group began in South Tyrol in 1922 and has grown to become a multinational, specialising in products for particular nutritional needs.
The company, which currently has a turnover of EUR 200 million, employing a workforce of 780 in its production sites in Italy, Germany, England, the USA and Spain, achieved market leadership in the few decades since the 1980s through its specialisation in the production of gluten-free foods.
The parent company and headquarters of the Dr. Schär group are based in Postal, South Tyrol.
This is the site not only of the head office, but also of the main production facilities: thus, from South Tyrol to the rest of the world.
We asked Hannes Berger, Executive Director of the Dr. Schär Group, about the secret of the company’s success and its future strategies.
What do you consider to be the factors behind the group’s success?
Certainly continuous large-scale investment in R&D and the desire to be as close to the consumers as possible, keeping them constantly informed about important developments in the field of dietetics and helping them live their daily lives without too much sacrifice. Another key point is that of food safety, with monitoring of the entire supply chain.
When and how did the transformation from a family business to an international company come about?
The company began a radical reorganisation in 1981, under the leadership of Ulrich Ladurner (the current president). His belief is that only by being close to the consumer can the company have the certainty of being on the right track. This approach plays a key role in the marketing of our products internationally, and is also the reason why Dr. Schär’s operations also depend on production facilities outside of Italy.
What are your current aims in terms of achieving further growth?
We are working on three aspects. The first concerns internationalisation, with particular focus on American markets. Product diversification is another key issue. In addition to gluten-free foods, the company is developing dietary foods in close collaboration with the medical profession, including protein-free products and MCT oils for people with metabolic disorders. Lastly, another of the company’s priorities is the expansion of our product range through new investments.
In which foreign markets do you operate and where do you aim to expand?
The Dr. Schär group is based in Postal (Bolzano), with Research & Development in Trieste, and currently has ten branches/production facilities in Germany, the UK, the USA and Spain. However, our products are available in almost all European countries and the United States. Dr. Schär has grown continuously over the years, even during the recession, and has achieved significant market shares: around 45% in Italy and between 30% and 40% in Europe, with major expansion also in the United States. Our objective is to consolidate our global leadership in the sector.