Dr Schar plans to expand product range on sale in US

Dr Schar plans to expand product range on sale in US

European gluten-free food manufacturer Dr Schar plans to grow its business in the US by increasing availability and introducing new products to the market.  

The company opened its first manufacturing site in the US last week. The facility, which is based in New Jersey, will aim to produce the majority of the group's bread products for distribution in the US, Dr Schar USA marketing manager Roberto Cruz told just-food today (9 July). The group will continue to import cookie and cracker biscuits from Europe.

"In the US bread is our number one product priority," Cruz revealed. "We are most proud of our bagels. We just launched a new gluten-free bagel - a plain and cinnamon raisin. Bagels are not as much of a product in Europe as in the US. We are proud to leverage our flexibility to develop this for the US market."

Dr Schar supplies 37 products to the US. However, the company intends to grow this number in order to become a "full service product solution" for US consumers, Cruz added. This will be achieved by importing products from Europe, where the firm offers over 300 lines, and developing products - such as the bagel - specifically for the US market, he said.

Dr Schar hopes to build on the growing awareness of coeliac disease in the US, where an estimated one in 100 people are affected by the condition.

"In the US, as coeliac disease awareness has become more prominent here, sales channels have been receptive to that. They have built dedicated online sales and areas in supermarkets," Cruz said.

"It is in the interests of our customers and consumers to make sure our products are as widely available as possible. To achieve this we have built up our distribution and sales network here in the United States. The products are mostly distributed through natural stores, supermarkets and speciality stores. But we are also pushing through foodservice and to supply restaurants. The company here is only five years old so the decision to build production in the US provides more flexibility in demand and more support to that sales network."

According to Cruz, while the gluten-free sector is a "competitive space", Dr Schar USA is able to lean on the scientific learnings of its European parent group in order to gain a competitive advantage.

"If you think about the safety that is required - a coeliac person can become sick with as little as 20 parts per million gluten - to that we need to apply strict quality methods to make sure that the product is delivered to stores safely. It is competitive but not everyone can supply the market. So we feel we have a competitive advantage in that our parent is the number one gluten-free company in Europe."