Baking & Snack - June 2020 - 28

Meet the world's

PRETZEL EXPERTS

Developing new pretzels comes naturally to
Gary Gottenbusch, president, Ditsch USA.
He relies on his master baking expertise
and a twisted imagination. What else do
you need to make a new version of the
classic German snack?
Well, maybe a partner like Brezelbäckerei
Ditsch GmbH. It celebrated its 100th
anniversary last year and operates three
production bakeries serving more than
200 pretzel shops throughout Germany
and beyond. The Mainz, Germany-based
company also ships its frozen dough
pretzels internationally throughout Europe
and as far away as Japan.
Together, both bakeries can exchange
their products and serve as single-source
pretzel providers to their respective markets.
"We have every pretzel option
imaginable," Mr. Gottenbusch said. "We
make pretzel bites. They make pretzel crust
pizza, pretzel croissants, filled pretzels,
frozen dough and traditional German
products. We're a one-stop shop for
pretzels."
The two companies became partners
in 2017 when Valora Group, a Swiss retail
holding company, purchased Pretzel
Baron, which Mr. Gottenbusch owned, and
partnered it with Ditsch in Germany, which
sells in more than 31 countries worldwide.
"We're an American company, but we
draw from their decades of pretzel-making
experience," he said. "They're a wonderful
resource with an R&D center where they
have developed almost every form of
pretzel. They have the knowledge and
expertise on how to make them better."
Sebastian Gooding, chief executive
officer of the Ditsch Group, works closely
with the Cincinnati-based bakery and
allows it to operate in a decentralized
manner.
"Above all, we are united in our passion
for great-tasting pretzel products," he said.
"And the new facilities offer Ditsch USA
fantastic new opportunities to delight our
customers."
Mr. Gooding noted that the companies
also share the same values.
"Our partnership includes sharing
expertise on new product development
and providing a wide array of support in
expanding Ditsch USA's operation," he said.

Thousands of freshly baked pretzels tumble out of the tunnel oven and receive brief ambient cooling
before flash freezing.
points. It's a complete product line for today's consumer."
"By doing so, we kept everyone safe, fully employed, and we're getting back to being booked out for six weeks on our production schedule," he said. "I'd like to plan out for eight weeks, and we should get
there soon. Eight weeks is the perfect schedule, so we can plan ahead
to meet customers' needs and operate our bakery as efficiently as possible. If possible, I'd even like to hire some more staff. I want us to do
our part to support a return to employment in our country."

As luck would have it
In golf, players like to say it's better to be lucky than good. In business, it pays to be both. Looking back on the past few months and
his new line, a self-deprecating Mr. Gottenbusch recalled a saying his
father once told him: "Even the dumbest farmer can grow the biggest
potatoes sometimes."
For Ditsch USA, the fortunate decision to expand the bakery and diversify its customer base had been years in the making.
Mr. Gottenbusch purchased the facility with the intent to house several lines. He just didn't know what type of production the bakery
would be running.
In fact, his original plan was to supply pretzels to the family's 14
Servatii Pastry Shop retail bakeries - as well as for local supermarkets and outdoor festivals under the Pretzel Baron brand, the original
name for the company.
"I built this facility with no wholesale customers," he recalled.
That soon changed as the bakery began serving foodservice distributors, supermarket delis, private label and co-manufacturing clients who were clamoring for the signature Bavarian pretzels.



Baking & Snack - June 2020

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