Baking & Snack - June 2020 - 26

DITSCH USA

of the pretzel business had been in foodservice, driven by new product development to create new flavors
and shapes with wholesome ingredients. Specifically,
it wasn't just that restaurants, hotels, catering, schools
and other foodservice institutions closed. Any soft
pretzels that were served fresh - whether they were
as appetizers on the menu, in bulk bins at in-store
bakeries or as grab-and-go hot pretzel sticks for convenience stores - now needed to be prepackaged, individually wrapped and sealed or twist-tied for food
safety reasons.
"That business is pretty much gone for now," he
said. "It took about two or three weeks. We reacted
early with our health measures working with our
European colleagues, and then set about looking to
support our partners with our wider packaging capabilities. Our recipes, capabilities and company
values have been key elements that our customers
have valued during these times. We want to ensure
that everyone has a good chance at maintaining their
businesses in these times by offering great products
to Americans."
Despite the national shutdown nobody could have
predicted, Mr. Gottenbusch observed that the timing of the company's investment couldn't have been
more fortuitous. The new equipment included new
flowwrappers, baggers and other systems that paved
the way for Ditsch USA to serve the new retail-ready
packaging that its customers are now requesting for
food safety reasons.
That move found itself on a fast track in a matter of
days. It wasn't an easy transition. Like many wholesale
bakers, Ditsch USA scrambled to diversify its business and adjust its operation in a matter of weeks. As
a stable supplier in the industry, the company worked
with c-store and retail customers to shift from bulk
to bagged or individually wrapped. The two-pronged
approach worked as its growing list of customers
sought to keep up with demand for the onslaught of
prepacked pretzels that could be served as a snack or
part of a meal.
"More than half of my current business is now flowwrapped," Mr. Gottenbusch said. "Any package with a
fin seal at the end of it is what sells today. Sealed packaging gives confidence to our customers who may
have food safety and security concerns. That's how
the market has changed during COVID. This coupled
with healthy recipes gives our partners unique selling
Top: The dough sheet passes through a series of reduction stations to create
the desired thickness before entering a proprietary dough-forming process.
Bottom: Mixers provide temperature control to produce consistent batches for
the high-volume production lines.

26 Baking & Snack June 2020 / www.bakingbusiness.com


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