Fuchs focused on global presence, 'can-do' attitude

by Sarah Hubbart and Kerry Lynch
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Fuchs North America building
Fuchs North America's vision is to deliver innovative seasoning solutions through technical expertise while providing superior service.

OWINGS MILLS, MD. — Founded in 1939, Fuchs North America was originally known as the Baltimore Spice Co. The company grew through several plant expansions in the 1950s. Today, Fuchs North America is part of the world’s largest privately held seasoning and spice company — The Fuchs Group. Employing more than 2,500 people worldwide and headquartered in Dissen, Germany, The Fuchs Group has 14 manufacturing plants around the globe. This allows Fuchs to sustain substantial market presence throughout Europe, the Americas and Asia.

The new year brings a fresh start for Fuchs North America. The company will soon put the finishing touches on its new North American headquarters that are set to open later this year. The 21-acre campus in suburban Baltimore will double Fuchs’ manufacturing capacity and increase its product development capabilities. The building will include a new sensory lab along with a spacious presentation kitchen.

“This is a very exciting time for us,” said Ken Wuestenfeld, vice-president of sales and technical services for Fuchs North America. “The headquarters will be a true state-of-the-art facility that enables us to develop, manufacture and deliver customized seasonings and flavor solutions faster and better than ever.”

Mr. Wuestenfeld is responsible for managing Fuchs’ sales, R.&D., regulatory and marketing departments. He also handles development of the company’s overall U.S. strategy, which results in some of the best marketing analysis and innovative products available in the industry today. He also works with international affiliates to understand the latest global trends and technologies available to ensure Fuchs customers receive superior support.

“(Our presence) is what makes it possible for us to support and supply companies of all sizes and in all regions — including large multinational firms that demand absolute consistency in the taste and quality of the food products they design, manufacture and deliver to their customers all over the world,” Mr. Wuestenfeld said.

Fuchs North America’s mission and culture reflect its focus on customer satisfaction. The company’s vision is to deliver innovative seasoning solutions through technical expertise while providing superior service. But don’t let Fuchs’ global size fool you — it often operates like its entrepreneurial founders when serving its customers. Multi-level customer relationships allow Fuchs North America to deliver on-trend flavor solutions in a timely manner.

Fuchs North America provides a full range of spices and seasoning blends, including more than 50,000 Fuchs proprietary seasoning formulas. It meets its customers’ every need by recreating specific seasoning tastes or creating unique blends for new products. Recently the company began introducing unique seasoning collections based on the latest consumer trends, such as the “World Barbeque Collection” that was released last fall.

“It’s a can-do culture here at Fuchs North America,” Mr. Wuestenfeld said. “We are a pretty ‘flat’ organization, which allows for quick decision-making and speed-to-market, which I believe is one of our competitive advantages.”

The company works diligently to stay ahead of changing consumer preferences. Fuchs North America knows that many of today’s consumers have an increased interest in foods that are lower in sodium or that are made with organic or non-G.M.O. ingredients. Its team completes research for their customer base to assist them in creating the latest, on-trend product offerings. The company encourages its customers to think of it as an extension of their own in-house R.&D. and marketing departments.

“There’s nothing like the thrill of helping a customer come out with their newest winning product offering,” Mr. Wuestenfeld said.

Fuchs North America matches new innovation with its own taste-trend data. As the globalization of the snack industry continues, many of its customers have their eye on expansion to European and Asian markets. The company is excited to lend its expertise in many product categories and knowledge of the global marketplace.

“We strive to become a dependable ally for our customers in their goal to create sensational food products that consumers will crave,” Mr. Wuestenfeld said.

As trends continue to change, Fuchs North America values the industry relationship it has with the Snack Food Association (S.F.A.). Dan Cooper, president of Fuchs North America, serves on the S.F.A.’s board of directors. Fuchs is a regular participant in S.F.A. events, including SNAXPO and the Executive Leadership Forum.

“S.F.A. involvement is invaluable,” Mr. Wuestenfeld said. “We work with many of our members on creative new products. S.F.A. events are places where we meet up with old friends and share new ideas and product concepts. We can hear from others and get the chance to step back and reflect on the business today and look to the future.”

For Fuchs North America, the near future will bring a brand new headquarters not far from where the original Baltimore Spice Co. began — and with it, many exciting new seasoning formulas to meet its customers’ needs and consumers’ changing palates.
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