Lyndhurst, New Jersey (PRWEB) December 18, 2013
The Dr. Schär Group, a gluten-free food pioneer, is celebrating its tenth year with the Dr. Schar R&D Center. The Center has helped drive the “sensory revolution” of gluten-free foods, giving priority to innovation, based on research and development, which it regards as the pulsating heart of the whole group. The center is constantly developing and implementing new ideas for improving quality, taste and goodness, based on the use of new raw materials, including cereals and pseudo cereals rich in nutrients.
According to Ulrich Ladurner, founder and President of the Dr. Schär group, the secret of its success lies in the fact that they were the first to accept a challenge which seemed impossible back then and managed to solve the puzzle through innovation. “Developing gluten-free products which are like traditional bread, pasta and cookies in terms of flavor and consistency, has always been a great challenge and the fact that we have succeeded can undoubtedly be attributed to innovation. From the outset, we gave priority to research and development and in 2003, created a dedicated R&D department in Trieste, in which we believed and therefore invested a great deal. Our team of researchers at the Trieste Science Park devote all of its resources to finding innovative solutions, proposing new recipes which are 100% safe and of high quality, using new materials and developing new production technologies. These factors have enabled us to become the leader in gluten-free innovation and will continue to be the factor which enables us to enter new spheres of nutrition. Our aim is to not only meet the requirements of people who need to follow a gluten-free diet because they are celiacs or have an intolerance to gluten, but also for people who have other unusual dietary requirements: to offer them solutions which will improve their quality of life, anticipating their needs. This is what innovation at Dr. Schär is all about: Innovating Special Nutrition”.
Donna L. George, President and COO of Dr. Schar USA Inc. added, “The R&D Center is the jewel in the crown for Dr. Schär, with investment in research and innovation that has led to tremendous gains in providing high quality, great tasting products; providing a differentiated competitive advantage in maintaining world leadership in gluten-free”. Launched in the USA in 2007, Schar has grown quickly and is already the leader in the ambient gluten-free bread subcategory according to 2013 SPINS retail data. Recently the company launched a new frozen bread line with two products, Hearty White & Hearty Grain Breads, which were developed at the Dr. Schar R&D center using a next generation technology that achieves the elasticity, structure, moisture, and appearance very similar to traditional bread.
Dr. Anne Lee EdD, RD, LD, Director of Nutritional Services for Schar USA, added, “The strategy of Dr. Schär, which has always endeavored to ensure a continuous flow of ideas and innovative solutions, leaves nothing to chance. This means close collaboration with universities and research institutes, participating in numerous debates with experts and of course, maintaining an on-going dialogue with the world of science, associations and consumers. The international symposium “10 years of research in gluten-free food and future prospects” fits into this framework. For the first time, the conference will bring together all the top experts on gluten-free food in an attempt to share innovation and ideas for the future.
More information: Dr. Schär R&D Center and Trieste Science Park
The Dr. Schär R&D Center has a staff of 12 highly qualified researchers, most of whom are graduates in Food Sciences and Technologies, who have considerable experience in research and development. 8 other experts in the sector work at the main headquarters in Postal, Italy and at subsidiaries in Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain and the United States.
Thanks to their flexibility and the fact that they speak several languages, our researchers are used to moving about constantly and working in very different situations: from universities and research centers to production sites in Europe and the United States.
Trieste Science Park: Italy’s main multi-sector Science and Technology Park. The park constitutes an extremely stimulating environment. Its two campuses are home to almost 90 companies and research institutes and more than 2,400 researchers and managers.
More information: Dr. Schar Group
Competence and commitment for a better quality of life
Improving the quality of life of celiacs and people who are not celiacs but have an intolerance to gluten or people with special nutritional requirements by providing innovative, high-quality products and services: that is the aim of the Dr. Schär Group. From the outset, the Group--the undisputed leader of the gluten-free sector in Europe--has focused on R&D, ensuring the safety of its products through strict and extremely regular quality controls.
It began with a desire to experiment
When the Dr. Schär company was founded 30 years ago, research and development as we know it today was still a dream. The company owes its first generation of gluten-free products to the simple creativeness and desire to experiment of an ambitious master baker. And although, in terms of taste and nutritional value, those products, made mainly with rice and corn, could not compete even in a minor way with the products produced by the Dr. Schär group today, they were very successful: people suffering from celiac disease began to breathe a sigh of relief. At last there was a small offering of products which, in terms of safety and palatability--they tasted good, were pleasant to chew and easy to swallow--exploited everything that was available at that time.
The key role of research
So we asked Virna Cerne, director of the Dr. Schär R&D Centre, to tell us why the research center is so special. “Quality, safety as a top priority, control of the production line, but, above all, research and innovation have always been the real strengths of our Group. Our products, starting with the way the raw materials are grown, right up to the finished product, are subjected to numerous tests and strict controls.
The Dr. Schär R&D Center laboratory, which was moved in 2003 to the Trieste Science Park in the Trieste suburb of Padriciano – one of the most important and renowned science and technology parks on a national and international scale – specializes in the study of new, alternative ingredients, new formulas and innovative technologies, with the final aim of finding new foods which are gluten-free or for people who have special dietary requirements, and continuing to improve them form the point of view of their nutritional or organoleptic properties. This results in important stimuli and new solutions in the sector of product innovation, which aim to bring quality, taste, safety, benefits and an expansion of the offering to keep up with the ever-changing requirements of the market.”
In this important research center, as part of a scientific community of more than 2,400 researchers and managers, the Dr. Schär Research and Development team, comprising 12 researchers and developers who are experts in food technologies, use hi-tech equipment and, in order to stay on the cutting edge, collaborate with important institutes, research centers and universities, in Italy and abroad.
Whereas the research team concentrates on long-term strategic projects, working on the identification of new raw materials and technologies, the development team conceives more than 30 new products every year, some of which are completely new and others which are improvements on existing recipes.
Thanks to this unusual, highly productive and specialized research center, today, Dr. Schär is proud to play a primary role in the field of R&D. Without doubt, this gives the company a considerable competitive advantage.
The Dr. Schär R&D department reflects the corporate philosophy of the Group which aims to guarantee the organoleptic quality of its products and the highest safety standards. This is the common thread linking the vast range of products made by the Group, with the aim of satisfying consumers’ tastes as much as possible. Before a new product goes into production, it is naturally tested by specially trained tasters who assess its flavor, consistency, smell and appearance. At a time when the clientele is becoming ever-more demanding, sensory analysis plays an ever-more important role. Here, a human being is the best possible tool to measure quality. Every gluten-free product is evaluated and compared with the most flavorsome, appetizing traditional foods of the same category. This is the only way we can assure our customers that our products are equivalent to products containing gluten, in every possible way, including the flavor: from gluten-free flour to a complete and far-ranging selection of breads, pasta, biscuits and snacks.
The Dr. Schär R&D Centre is the benchmark for the whole Group for all its R&D projects.
Trieste is the place where the recipes are developed for products which are then made in the various Dr. Schär production facilities: in Italy, Germany, Spain, the U.S.A. and also by third-party suppliers which produce the Group’s brands, following the rigorous procedures imposed by Dr. Schär.
New frontiers and new prospects for the gluten-free market
Hannes Berger, Dr. Schär’s Managing Director, describes the new frontiers and the new prospects for the gluten-free market: “Today, as a whole, the market of gluten-free products continues to grow in an organic way, but we are witnessing a change in the distribution channels: from specialized stores like chemist’s and health-food stores, towards modern, large-scale distribution. Whereas, a few years ago, it was simple to introduce new products into traditional channels, because the shop owner realized how satisfied his customers would be to buy and consume a high-quality product with a great taste, in large-scale distribution, we have to deal with managerial structures which are sometimes miles away from the final consumers. Often buyers base their decisions above all on the price factor, without giving due consideration to the quality of a product or customer satisfaction. In our niche market, shelf profitability cannot be compared to that of a mass-market product, because there is a lower turnover: gluten-free products are important because of the service they offer celiacs and people who suffer from an intolerance to gluten. This means that great efforts are needed to succeed in introducing new products and particularly innovative products from the organoleptic and nutritional point of view. That’s why, in recent years, we have invested a great deal in category management projects, in order to increase the know-how and common insight between retailers, ourselves and, finally, the consumer, in an attempt to create the best possible mix on the shelf. The advantage for our partners in modern large-scale distribution is considerable, both in terms of increased store loyalty and in terms of social responsibility.
The innovation factor is one of the driving forces behind our business, especially considering the unusual characteristics of our consumers, who have always had to be very careful about their nutrition, and are equally severe when it comes to evaluating new products. Precisely because of this, our policy is to try to establish a closer rapport with consumers by developing a continuous dialogue, thanks to which we hope to continue to strengthen our already solid brand reputation.
The quality and the range of our products, combined with the solidity of our brands are leading us towards a level of internationalization and expansion, not only in Eastern Europe and the United States but also the markets of South America. Having entered these markets, we are gradually noticing that, as distribution grows and consumers try our products, we are succeeding in achieving our concept of brand community.”
THE SUBJECT IN-DEPTH
Dr. Schär’s new “grain store”: Noble cereals and prized raw materials which provide a variety of flavors and precious nutrients.
What makes Dr. Schär the leader in the European gluten-free market is not only the goodness and high quality of its products, but also its care and commitment to offering celiacs and people with a gluten intolerance a healthy, balanced diet. Once upon a time, there was just corn starch and rice flour, whereas, today, an astonishing range of cereals and pseudo cereals can be used to give gluten-free foods a good taste, which are healthy and full of nutrients. For example millet, buckwheat, sorghum, quinoa, amaranth, chestnuts, and so on. Now let’s have a closer look at the characteristics of these small but precious prodigies of Nature which Dr. Schär is transforming into pleasures for the palate, for example:
BUCKWHEAT: Is particularly rich in important proteins. What’s more, this cereal, which is thought to have originated in Asia, contains a considerable amount of lysine, minerals, vitamins and anti-oxidants, and lends an unmistakable flavor to special gluten-free products.
MILLET: This cereal began to conquer Europe some time ago, and has found a healthy, tasty application in Schär’s new range of pasta. It’s very easy to digest, rich in Vitamin B, folic acid, fiber and minerals such as zinc and iron.
SORGHUM: In Africa this member of the Graminaceae family, is the most important and most widely consumed cereal. It contains large amounts of minerals, such as calcium, iron and potassium, as well as Vitamin B and fiber. For this reason it’s one of the most valuable ingredients for a well-balanced, gluten-free diet and is used, for example, in Dr. Schär’s Pasta ai cereali.
QUINOA: Related to spinach and beetroot and known to the Incas and Aztecs 5,000 years ago. It’s a very rich, gluten-free source of protein, and contains polysaccharides (which supply essential energy to the metabolism), fiber, minerals and vitamins. For this reason, quinoa is an ideal ingredient for many gluten-free products.
CHESTNUT: It used to be called “the bread of the poor”. It gave people who lived in inhospitable mountain regions the calories they needed and was a balanced source of nutrients. This flavorful energy bomb is rich in Vitamin E, Vitamin B, potassium, phosphorous, magnesium and lignans which act as an anti-oxidant.
The new generation of gluten-free bread
Originally, there were only three types of bread. Now there are 28 different types, produced by the Schär brand alone.
“Despite everything, the greatest challenge for Dr. Schär has always been the continuous improvement of its gluten-free bread,” says Virna Cerne, Director of the Dr. Schär R&D Centre. “Research and development in the gluten-free sector is highly complex. These products are very difficult to develop because, as well as ensuring that they are totally safe for consumers, our mission is to invent innovative solutions to replace gluten, or the molecule that acts as the ‘brick’, the ingredient that binds the other ingredients together in products like bread and pasta. This is the really big challenge we face in our work,” – she explains. “In fact, gluten is the component that gives bread its particular softness, pasta its solidity and makes biscuits crunchy and crumbly to varying degrees. Our laboratories have been working for a long time to develop new recipes and technologies that will result in bread that is light, smells and tastes good, and stays soft for a long time. At the same time, we try to select ingredients which give bread added value from a physiological and nutritional point of view, in other words, using important nutrients.”
Bread is closely linked to local culture. In order to meet the requirements of consumers in different countries, Dr. Schär takes regional traditions into consideration and integrates them in the product development process. That is why the Dr. Schär range of products is so vast and includes many different kinds of bread, ranging from baguettes to ciabattas and bagels, offering lots of different flavors from different countries.
Like our consumers, the production of the various types of Dr. Schär bread is distributed in various parts of the world. Deep-frozen bread is produced at Apolda, in Germany, and at Swedesboro, in the state of New Jersey in the United States, while long-life bread is produced at Alagón, in Spain and at Postal, in the South Tyrol. Here, as well as long-life products (bread which is packed in a protective atmosphere and lasts for four months), they make freshly-baked bread. In other words, consumers can choose from several alternatives according to their needs and consumption habits, which vary enormously from one country to another.
Quality and safety: Certification
Dr. Schär products are not only delicious, they also offer a guarantee of certified quality and total safety. The company has been developing and producing gluten-free products for 30 years according to the highest quality standards and is proud to have obtained numerous quality certifications: ISO 9001:2008 for quality management, ISO 14001:2004 for safeguarding the environment, and the BRC Global Standard for Food Safety. The fact that there is an internal "Quality Management Office" ensures that the standards of quality are kept constantly high and ensures that the optimization process is continued. Furthermore, most products are notified and authorized by the Ministry of Health and can be easily recognized by the stalk of wheat with a line through it.
Quality and safety: Controlling the production chain
From the moment the seeds are sown to the processing and the finished product, Dr. Schär products are subjected to numerous rigorous controls.
Responsibility for safety and sustainability begins with “A” for “Agriculture”. For this reason Dr. Schär deals directly with the farmers who grow the raw materials, working closely with selected growers and stipulating “Contract cultivation” agreements with them, in other words, to sow and grow cereals exclusively for Dr. Schär. Every week there is direct contact between Dr. Schär and the growers, the fields are visited regularly and the whole cereal production cycle is closely supervised: the preparation of the land, the sowing of the seed, watching the cereals as they mature, the harvest, the drying process and storage.
Today, in Europe, there are 40 farmers who grow cereals exclusively for Dr. Schär.
However, before a delivery of raw materials can be accepted, it is tested in the laboratory to ensure that it fulfills all the agreed parameters. Only then can the raw material be accepted and admitted to the production phase. Every batch of raw materials used in production can be traced back to the supplier. In turn, the suppliers of the raw materials commit themselves to tracing every batch back to its origin. In this way, we can guarantee that Dr. Schär products contain only ingredients of the highest quality. All the products undergo various analysis procedures during the production process, because only perfect goods are allowed to reach the shops. Thanks to this rigorous quality control process, consumers can be certain that Dr. Schär gluten-free products meet the highest quality standards.
Dr. Schar USA Press
Please contact Julie Matic, JAM Consulting at julieamatic(at)gmail(dot)com