Since 2008, Züger Frischkäse AG, based in Oberbüren, St. Gallen, has been supplying specialty organic retailers in Germany with organic lactose-free dairy products: Mozzarella, cream cheese, curd cheese, mascarpone, goat’s cheese and butter. The distinctive green bar with the label “lactose-free” on Züger products has become the hallmark for the symptom-free consumption of dairy products.
Innovation and pioneering spirit from Oberbüren
What does it take to be successful in the export business? A brilliant idea, outstanding market knowledge - and lots of organic Swiss milk! Züger Frischkäse AG, based in Oberbüren in the Canton of Sankt Gallen, has been supplying specialty organic retailers in Germany with organic lactose-free dairy products since 2008. The range includes mozzarella, cream cheese, quark, mascarpone, salad cheese and butter. The distinctive green bar with the label «lactose-free» on Züger products has long since become the hallmark for the consumption of dairy products without any unpleasant symptoms. «This label has been a match-winner for us,» says CEO Christof Züger, who, along with his brother Markus, took over the company from their father and with a lot of innovation turned it into Switzerland's fifth-largest milk processor. Züger Frischkäse now earns around 60 million Swiss francs or 40 percent of its revenue abroad. It has double-digit annual growth rates.
Lucrative export niche
Success did not just drop into the brothers' laps. For one thing, Swiss organic dairy products are around 30 percent more expensive than foreign competitors' products. Secondly, since the liberalization of the cheese market, foreign suppliers have been able to import their goods into Switzerland duty-free. The shelves have become even more crowded. The fact that organic products are sold in specialist retail outlets in Germany opened up a lucrative export niche. Without letting the higher Swiss milk price become a competitive disadvantage.
Focusing rather than dissipating their energies
For their market entry the brothers from Zug also made good use of existing partnerships, such as the one with Germany's biggest organic retailer, «dennree». First of all Züger Frischkäse launched an organic mozzarella without lactose. Today the company offers eight lactose-free cream cheese products. The intention is to stick to the basic range so that they can achieve the necessary sales figures. Now the successful concept is to be expanded to include other
European countries – with the green bar, of course.
We were in the right place at the right time
with our organic lactose-free products.
Christof Züger, CEO Züger Frischkäse AG