The takeaway trend has transformed the German ethnic specialty, the pretzel, into a mainstream snack, suggested Bjorn Tiemann, managing director, sales and marketing B2B, Brezelbackerei Ditsch.
The Mainz, Germany-based company serves 28 countries in food service, in-store bakeries and coffee shops. In Japan, he said, Ditsch has been selling pretzels for 15 years, including a filled pretzel stuffed with salted butter.
“Pretzels used to be an ethnic snack,” Mr. Tiemann said. “Not anymore. We have a lot more products than traditional pretzel twists. They’re the perfect snack.”
During iba, which ran from Sept. 15-20, attendees most likely ran into Ditsch’s snacks. In fact, if they took the subway or train, they couldn’t have avoided them since the vertically integrated business has 280 shops throughout Germany and Switzerland where its pretzel twists, sticks, buns and rolls may be found in high-traffic areas. In the United States, Ditsch recently completed the acquisition of Pretzel Baron and its Cincinnati bakery.
The company’s pretzels in America are slightly different, which prompted a lighthearted debate between Mr. Tiemann and Gary Gottenbusch, chief executive officer, Ditsch USA, earlier this summer during the International-Dairy-Deli-Bakery Association’s show.
“Everybody in Europe thinks they have the best product in the market, but the U.S. is a little bit different,” Mr. Gottenbusch said. “There might be slight variations in flavor or texture.”
Tailoring them to the local market is the way to go.