Reto Schmid from Sedrun makes what is surely the smallest Bündner Nusstorte, or Grisons nut cake, in the world and is currently conquering international markets with them. It’s a success based on innovation and determination – and a little help.
Reto Schmid’s bakery lies in the heart of the Grisons mountains, at over 1,400 meters above sea level. Together with his employees, he produces up to 50,000 small tartlets every day – and this is still not enough to meet demand: “We’ve already had to turn some customers away,” says Schmid, who owns La Conditoria. His business is flourishing and La Conditoria exports nut tartlets to countries like Germany, Japan, Russia, South Korea and the USA. In order to meet demand and grow further, Reto Schmid is building a new production center in Sedrun with a capacity of 20,000 tartlets per hour.
Up until a few years ago, the family-run business was a typical village bakery with a café, but the declining population, the ending of the NRLA construction site and crumbling tourism forced Schmid to use his innovative spirit. He therefore began work on the creation of a new form of Grisons nut cake, smaller and lighter than before. After several hours in the bakery and various tastings, the mini form of the Grisons nut cake was born, weighing 19 g and measuring 4 cm tall. The snack tartlets made consumers’ mouths water, and it quickly became clear to Reto Schmid that this product could be developed into a long-term project.
International trade fairs as a shop window
Reto Schmid has not only reinvented a product rich in tradition, he also wants to conquer international markets with it: “Everyone on the planet should have the opportunity to eat a nut cake from Grison,” he says decisively. In order to find potential buyers and tap into new markets, Reto Schmid exhibits at international trade fairs, where he can present his product directly to visitors and offer it for tasting. To get noticed at the trade fairs and to attract attention, La Conditoria is part of the Swiss joint stand, the SWISS Pavilion. This is organized by the project team from Switzerland Global Enterprise (S-GE), the official export promotion organization on behalf of the Swiss Confederation. Reto Schmid reflects: “We’re convinced that potential customers become aware of us via the Swiss stand.”
In addition to the Swiss Pavilion, La Conditoria has already used other services from S-GE. “We planned our market development in Germany together with the consultants in Zurich.” More specifically, the aim was to find the right business model and the right business partner. Reto Schmid has now successfully gained a foothold in Germany and various other markets, and this international success is symbolized by his world map, on which he marks each new export country with a colored pin.