Schwartau: “Outstandingly Enjoyable Products For Our Customers.”

Press officer Christian Passarge about Schwartau and Gemüseglück
© Schwartau Werke

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so the saying goes. To start the day off well, you should drink plenty of water and nourish yourself with high-quality products. Schwartauer Werke manufactures these kinds of products. And since vegans also deserve to get their money’s worth, they have responded to this target group with new recipes and products – that’s how “Gemüseglück” (eng: vegetable happiness) was born. In an interview with press spokesman Christian Passarge, we learn more about Schwartauer Werke and its vegan products.

What is Schwartau’s current business situation like?
Schwartauer Werke began in 1899 with jam, and this is still the company’s core competence. Schwartauer Werke is a medium-sized family business, and has been firmly rooted in Schleswig-Holstein since its foundation. Today, more than 850 employees work at the company headquarters in Bad Schwartau. In addition to jams and spreads, the product range includes muesli and nut bars, dessert sauces and coffee syrups. As the largest supplier of breakfast specialities in Germany, the company enjoys special consumer confidence. Our goal: outstandingly enjoyable products for our customers.

With a market share of around 30 percent, Schwartauer Werke is Germany’s leading manufacturer of jams, with brands such as Schwartau Extra, Samt, Fruttissima and Hofladen (eng: Farm Shop). The company also occupies a leading market position with the cereal and nut bar brand Corny.

More and more consumers want natural products with short lists of ingredients and regional products. Schwartauer Werke is responding to these trends by changing recipes and focusing on short supply chains. In 2017, 95 percent of the fruits we processed came from Europe.

How vegan-friendly is Schwartau currently?
In 2017, Schwartauer Werke changed the recipe of its well-known Schwartau Extra to meet consumers’ desire for natural products with short lists of ingredients. Since then, the list of ingredients has only included simple components that consumers know from their own kitchens: fruit, sugar, lemon juice concentrate and pectin from fruits.

Even before this transition, many of our recipes were already vegan, gluten-free and lactose-free. The majority of varieties in the Schwartau Extra, Samt (eng: smooth) or Hofladen ranges are thus already suitable for a vegan diet. Since last year, there have been new labels on our products for consumer guidance.

Gemüseglück – the first hearty spread from Schwartau – has also been on the market since autumn 2017. The four different varieties – paprika chili, sun-dried tomato, grilled green vegetables and curried pumpkin – impress not only vegetarians and vegans but all those who enjoy eating vegetables. The high vegetable content of at least 59 percent and a recipe that doesn’t contain any flavorings, colorings or preservatives make Gemüseglück a delicious, hearty spread – organic and completely free of animal ingredients.

Vegans also get their money’s worth in the Corny range: as the first vegan Corny variety, the cranberry-pumpkin seed flavor is a delight for everyone who wants to eat consciously on the go. Satiating oat flakes, fruity cranberries and crunchy pumpkin seeds make this source of fibre a real treat.

How do you rate veganism for your company?
For Schwartauer Werke, the dietary trends towards vegetarian or vegan diets and products with the fewest possible natural ingredients are also relevant developments. We take these trends into account both in the new and further development of our formulations and in the labelling of our products. Since the relaunch last year, for example, we have been promoting the special nutritional properties of many of our products – vegan, gluten-free or lactose-free. Especially nowadays, when consumers are confronted with an abundance of product offers, we want to make the buying process as easy as possible for our customers. Vegans can already choose from a wide range of sweet and savoury spreads.

How has Gemüseglück been marketed since its launch?
Gemüseglück has been very well-received by consumers, and we have received a lot of positive feedback. The product is not yet widely available, but we have national listings with some trading partners. Placement on retailers’ shelves is not yet optimal everywhere – in some cases, the hearty spreads stand next to the sweet jams. We want an established shelf for vegetable spreads, which the consumer can find more easily and which shows a variety of products at a glance.

Will there be further vegan developments at Schwartau in the coming years?
Currently, Schwartauer Werke offers a wide range of sweet and savoury spreads for vegans. We will continue to monitor market developments and – as demand continues to rise – develop new products for vegan diets in due course.

What are Schwartau’s general plans for the next 5 years?
High-quality branded products, a strong culture of innovation and a sustainable supply chain are the foundation of our success and drive us forward every day.

For us, sustainability means thinking holistically and for the long term and acting responsibly – towards our customers, our employees, our suppliers and our environment. Our motto “Genuinely well-made” sums up this attitude – we pursue the highest quality standards at all levels. In all our entrepreneurial activities, we want to say to our stakeholders, “This is really well-done”. We will continue to pursue this path consistently over the next five years.

In 2014, we defined new quality criteria for the development of products. These include a commitment beyond the usual standards to preserve the naturalness and freshness of the ingredients as far as possible through gentle processing. We have already achieved this goal with a number of products; our new Schwartau Extra is unique in its naturalness and taste thanks to new recipes, and our Fruttissima – the fruit spread from the refrigerated shelf – thanks to innovative processes. We have also continuously reduced the sugar content in our jams and fruit spreads, which is a recurrent topic of social discussion, in recent years. For Schwartau Extra, we have reached the permissible lower limit of > 55 percent dry matter in accordance with the Jam Ordinance, so a further reduction is not possible. Last year’s recipe change was an important step in this direction, which we will gradually transfer to our entire product range.

We process 33 types of fruit into over 100 different fruit products. The origin, the selection and the processing of the ingredients determine the quality and the taste of our products – and thus our economic success. A far-sighted and sustainable use of raw materials is therefore of outstanding importance to us. In 2017, 95 percent of our processed fruit and cereals came from Europe. We will continue to expand this proportion in the future.