Business in the time of Coronavirus | Dr Schär
April 2020

Dr Schär is a South Tyrolean multinational company specialized in gluten-free food with a primary production site in Borgo Valsugana, Trentino.

Entrepreneurial intuition, childhood memories and a passion for quality: read the story of Dr Schär and its arrival in Trentino.

After years of continuous investments in the production plant (over the years the company has expanded its production lines in Trentino investing around 33 million euros), the South Tyrolean company reacted to the Coronavirus pandemic by guaranteeing safety and operational continuity.

"At first there was an important increase in production - says Alberto Contessotto, director of the Dr Schär plant located in Borgo Valsugana - due to an initial panic phase on the part of consumers who feared that they would no longer be able to find the products on the shelves". A fear which is understandable to the eyes of those who, whether they are celiac or intolerant, can only eat gluten-free food. "A great responsibility, now more than ever. We have been able to satisfy all requests, also thanks to the new plants in Borgo Valsugana, which in 2019 had a turnover of 36 million euros, and the suppport of Trentino Sviluppo, which allowed us to introduce a new production line".


In order to guarantee production and, at the same time, the safety of all 195 employees working at the plant, the company decided to adopt risk prevention measures even before being required by law. In addition to these measures, Dr Schär set up a task force dedicated to the crisis - in touch with the other plants of the group carrying out a reorganisation of working times and methods: division of shifts and work teams optimised in order to reduce contact between employees and extended smart working.

An interesting initiative decided by Dr Schär was also to give a bonus to all production operators on the hours worked for March and April: a way of thanking the staff for the extraordinary effort required at this stage.

A fundamental element to guarantee safe operation in a health emergency is solidarity: in cooperation with other companies located in the area, as well as Trentino Sviluppo, the development agency of Trentino, which had contributed, in 2018, to the launch of a new Dr Schär production line dedicated to bread in the Borgo Valsugana Business Innovation Centre.

Sharing strategies and ideas with "neighbours", including for example another South Tyrolean company based in Valsugana such as Menz&Gasser, brewed some interesting reflections on the company's organization and raw material supply. Thanks to the contact with Trentino Sviluppo, on the other hand, Dr Schär was able to quickly identify extra spaces to stock the raw materials needed to meet the booming demand for gluten-free products from the Italian and European markets which were recorded since the first days of the Coronavirus emergency.

The full story of Dr Schär and the response to the Coronavirus emergency in the words of Alberto Contessotto, director of the Dr Schär plant in Borgo Valsugana.