Construction of the facility commenced in February 2011 and the official opening was held on July 5 2012.
The new $15m manufacturing facility is located in the North-eastern state of New Jersey and will cater directly to the US market.
“Our vision is for the Schar brand to be the US market leader in gluten-free foods and innovation,” Donna George, president and COO for Dr. Shar USA.
“The launch of our first facility in the United States is an exciting milestone for the Schar brand. The facility will help accelerate the growth and availability of innovative gluten-free foods in grocery, natural, and speciality stores as well as restaurants and other food outlets across the country,” George said.
Ulrich Ladurner, group owner and president, said the production plant will not only expand distribution across the country but also strengthen the brand.
An ‘exciting’ move into lucrative territory
This is “an exciting milestone” for Dr. Schar, George said.
With estimates plugging the global gluten-free market at around $2.6bn, the US is the largest and according to Frost & Sullivan research it witnessed threefold growth in the past five years.
Euromonitor data shows that the US gluten-free market experienced a 16.7% Year on Year (YoY) growth between 2008-09; growth that slightly slowed to 8.2% YoY for 2009-10.
Mintel research indicates that around 3.1m Americans have celiac disease, another 31.1m are gluten intolerant and 300,000 are allergic to wheat.
"This means there is a built-in market for gluten-free food products—a fact that suggests a bullish future for category sales," Mintel said.
During the surge in the US, it has become an increasingly competitive marketplace with major names including General Mills and Kellogg developing gluten-free products for this burgeoning sector and ingredients firms like DSM busying away with R&D into the area.
While Dr. Schar has an international product reach, its production presence was previously confined to Europe. Its headquarters are in Italy, with production and representation here as well as in Germany, Spain and the UK.
Dr. Shar has been catering to the US market with Shar USA – a subsidiary of parent company Dr. Schär AG/SPA in Italy – which was incorporated in 2007. In total, the subsidiary has brought more than 33 products to the US market. However, the new US facility marks its first manufacturing expansion outside the EU.
The 60,000-square-foot plant will be dedicated to bringing new products to market in the US and will manufacture classic and multi-grain, ciabatta par baked rolls and baguettes, white and grain frozen breads, as well as plain and cinnamon bagels. It will also be dedicated to the production of upcoming baked goods that are currently in development, the company said.
The Dr. Schar group has a wide portfolio spanning gluten-free breads, rolls, pasta, cookies, crackers and frozen meals, with several key brands including – Schar, DS, Glutano, Glutafin, Trufree and Beiker.