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Interview: Prof. Dr. Ulrike Detmers Managing Director Mestemacher Management GmbH, Talks to Riad Beladi ISN’s Retail analyst


ISN- Q – 1- Can you tell us about Mestemacher History, how did the company start, the philosophy behind the company?

Back in 1871, when Wilhelm Mestemacher founded his city bakery in Gütersloh, he also laid the foundation for today’s plant bakery. Because the Westphalian pumpernickel turned out to be a bestseller, he developed a pasteurisation method that allowed him to sell the bread, which now had a long shelf life, far beyond the Westphalian borders. Together with his wife Sophie, he built a special bakery for pumpernickel in Gütersloh in 1910. Among his customers were followers of the Lebensreform movement, who advocated a healthy lifestyle. Entrepreneurial spirit, boldness and sustainability – that’s what Mestemacher stands for to this day.

ISN- What would you say are the most important developments in the company’s recent history?

When we bought Mestemacher in 1985, the company was 114 years old. We have successfully developed this great entrepreneurial tradition and sustainable business model further with wholemeal rye specialities. Here, for example, we have been producing organic wholemeal bread since 1985. The era for which my husband, Albert, myself and my brother-in-law, Fritz Detmers, are responsible commenced in 1994. Together with Helma Detmers, co-partner, we represent modern corporate management.

ISN – What are the most important milestones for you personally?

One of my personal milestones is the “Panem et Artes” bread and art edition.  With this, we embellished the bread tins with works of art, which were then sold in supermarkets from 1994 to 2013, thereby supporting numerous artists.  Another milestone was the birth of the “Mestemacher – the lifestyle bakery” claim in 2000. It triggered the modernisation of the Mestemacher bread brand’s entire market presence. 2000 also saw the start of the avant-garde equality campaigns. Examples of this are the Mestemacher prizes “TOP FATHER OF THE YEAR” or “LIVING TOGETHER”. It fills me with pride to be awarding the Mestemacher “FEMALE MANAGER OF THE YEAR” prize for the 20th time.  

SN- Q – 2- Consumer behaviour is changing and young consumers demand now a days seems to be healthy foods how do you see the future sales of healthy foods and bread in particular?

All in all, more and more people are turning to organic food. Around 20% of Mestemacher’s net sales are generated by organic products. Organic wraps and organic toast breads, as well as organic spelt bread, are very popular with young people, for example also with supporters of the Fridays for Future movement. This trend could grow even further in times of climate change.

SN- Q – 3- Can you talk to us about your products and is sales in the increase?

We started our anniversary year with a significant increase in turnover of 16.7 per cent with a net turnover of 147.4 million euros in the 2020 financial year. On the one hand, the strong growth in turnover results from the strong demand for self-service packed breads and bakery products with a long shelf life when stored unopened, and, on the other, from new self-service appropriate breads and bakery products that fully satisfy the demand for high-fibre organic breads, ethnic food and protein breads. 

SN- Q – 4- Where can we find Mestemacher Bread and products, which countries and supermarkets?

We are the global market leader for fresh wholemeal products with a long shelf life.  Our products are sold in supermarkets in 80 countries. In the 2020 financial year, we recorded an export share of 34 per cent. The majority (77.13 per cent) of export sales were generated in the European Union.

SN- Q – 5- Myself I am always looking for healthy bread How do you see the future of healthy eating, healthy foods sales?
For us, healthy and sustainable nutrition is both a tradition and a mega trend. Our commitment to using the Nutri-Score nutritional label also expresses our sustainable corporate DNA On this basis, 95 per cent of Mestemacher breads are recommended as beneficial for daily consumption. Owing to this, we are also anticipating further sales growth in the current financial year.

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