In December 2020, Dr. Philipp Schoeller took over the role of CEO at Dr. Schär, succeeding founder Ulrich Ladurner. Philipp Schoeller, who was previously Vice President at the world’s largest chocolate manufacturer Barry Callebaut, has a clear vision of the company’s future: “Our values are responsibility – progress – proximity. These are the guiding principles of our actions. We therefore aspire to be the market leader with our respective brands. This means strong and fast innovation. We need to identify trends early and implement them faster. In doing so, we will become more international, while at the same time taking local needs into account. This is only possible with a strong local presence and local teams,” says the CEO.
Globally successful as a medium-sized company
“For me, it is a stroke of luck that Dr. Schär has taken the step of being manager-led in December,” says Philipp Schoeller. “If I could have carved the perfect company, it would come very close to Dr. Schär: We are a medium-sized family business and a successful global player at the same time. And we pursue the clear mission to improve the lives of people with special nutritional needs. Many patients with celiac disease have suffered pain, discomfort and fatigue. With our products, they can experience normality and enjoyment of food again. It is great to contribute to a better quality of life for our consumers.”
Following this mission, Dr. Schär has been very successful and has grown rapidly over the last 20 years. In 2020, the company achieved revenues of more than 400 million euros, compared to 20 million euros at the turn of the millennium. With 18 sites in eleven countries and distribution in almost 100 countries worldwide, the company has a global presence – with branches from Turkey to Brazil. “We are very pleased with the company’s growth. Looking at last year, which was quite challenging in many ways, we are particularly proud of ensuring that all the people who rely on our products were well supplied and that our products were available wherever needed. We are therefore committed to stay in touch with our customers and to further enhance the agility of our structures and workflows on an international level.”
Convincing through innovative products and customer proximity
“Changing consumer habits, such as the trends towards cooking instead of ready-to-eat meals or trying out new types of food and flavours, are also driving Dr. Schär. Therefore, we want to focus more on specific national customs, cuisines and tastes in the further development of the product portfolio on the one hand, and on the other, promote indulgence and inspire consumers with a broader product pipeline,” explains the 55-year-old. Schär products accompany the consumer from breakfast and tasty snacks to dinner, offering delicious treats for the whole family. This understanding is also reflected in the new look and feel of the products. In 2020, the packaging was redesigned in a way that retains classic features while at the same time exuding a modern look.
Innovative strength lies not only in the products, but also in production and raw material procurement. “From Farm to Fork” is the principle that Dr. Schär has been implementing for years. This means the accompanied production from seed to end product. For many years, the company has worked with contract farmers who exclusively cultivate cereals for Dr. Schär products on their fields. These include various naturally gluten-free grains such as millet, oats, rice and buckwheat. From the moment of sowing, Dr. Schär is in close contact with the farmers in order to accompany and continuously optimize the various steps from cultivation and harvesting to further processing. This close partnership guarantees consumers the best quality for gluten-free foods.
“Approaches like “From Field to Fork” or the “Re-Cereal” project of our Research & Development Centre in Trieste, which aims to revive and enhance the agricultural traditions of the Alpine regions, are not only interesting for food production, but also significant for our environment. We accompany and initiate miscellaneous projects, however, we do not talk about them enough yet - this will change now”, Philipp Schoeller promises.