Nuremberg Lebkuchen owe their worldwide reputation to one Nuremberg business: Lebkuchen-Schmidt, the oldest mail order company for Lebkuchen and pastry delicacies. For over 80 years, we´ve sent our scrumptious delights to places all over the world.
he founding of the company was a coincidence and an adventure at the same time. There were two brothers: E. Otto Schmidt in Nuremberg and his brother Franz in Thuringia. In 1926 Franz accepted a railway car load of Lebkuchen as a payment from a customer and sent it his brother Otto to Nuremberg to put it on the market.
Faced with the task of selling these Lebkuchen quickly, E. Otto Schmidt had a great marketing idea: He had the Lebkuchen grouped into assortments in order to sell them to the end consumer through regional and national advertisements.
That’s how the idea of Lebkuchen mail order delivery was born. The sales were so successful that they had to make another Lebkuchen order with the company Zucker-Bär. Buoyed by his success E. Otto Schmidt began producing Lebkuchen himself the following year. In a small bakery in a backyard in Nuremberg, in Voltastrasse 91, ten workers packed the Lebkuchen to assortment boxes on an area of 50 square meters. The goods continued to be shipped to the end consumer. About 150 parcels a day were taken from the Lebkuchen bakery to the post office in a small hand cart.
In subsequent years, the "nucleus" in Voltastrasse quickly became too small, so the entrepreneur purchased new premises in Gyulaer Strasse where he constructed a small factory building. At this moment in time, in 1930/31, the company employed 150 workers and produced about 35,000 Lebkuchen packets per season. The years 1938 until 1947 were hard years for many businesses in Germany. After his expropriation in 1938, E. Otto Schmidt quit the company and in 1943 the Lebkuchen production came to a standstill when bombs had severely damaged the company building. After the war, the allies named a trustee. But the company founder Schmidt – despite some difficulties – was able to resume the operation of his company in 1948. One year later, the destroyed building was reconstructed and by 1950 Lebkuchen-Schmidt already employed 300 workers.
1950 – the economic boom time started. Martin Burkhardt joined the company and took over the department for design and advertising. In 1955, his brother Rudolf Burkhardt, a qualified engineer, was made head of technical operations. Those two brothers must have meant a lot to E. Otto Schmidt, he adopted them both in 1960. The company flourished. Already in 1956 the personnel requirements had to be covered by hiring staff from the regions outside Nuremberg – the workers commuted in company busses. During the 1959 season, 600 employees worked for the company and produced 500,000 packets of Lebkuchen.
When it became obvious that its capacity would soon be exhausted again, a lot of land was bought in Zollhaus-Strasse. On this plot, the company’s current headquarters, a new factory building was constructed and completed in 1963. Edmund Otto Schmidt didn't live to see its inauguration, he passed away at the age of 69 on 31st of December 1961. His adoptive sons Rudolf and Martin Schmidt-Burkhardt, as well as Auguste Schmidt, became joint owners of the Lebkuchen factory. In subsequent decades the company grew steadily.
After her husband, Rudolf Schmidt-Burkhardt, passed away in 1980 and her brother-in-law died shortly after in 1984, Mrs. Henriette Schmidt-Burkhardt became the head of the company in 1987. Expansion remained her focus so she took over the traditional company Wicklein, one of Nuremberg’s oldest Lebkuchen producers.
The reconstruction and the rationalization of the production in the 1990s, the completion of the administration in the years 2003 and 2006, and the installation of a completely new oven line for the pastries series in 2006, integrated seamlessly into the success story of the Company which was by then renamed Lebkuchen-Schmidt. Through quick decision-making in a family atmosphere, through the commitment of each employee and the continuously successful idea of the founder, Lebkuchen-Schmidt developed into a successful global player.
Today about 800 employees work in the very modern production halls of Lebkuchen-Schmidt during the Lebkuchen season. In a three-shift operation, around 3 million Lebkuchen are baked every day, which require approximately 80 tons of selected ingredients: Almonds, nuts, honey, sugar and flour as well as lots of delicious spices, prepared by our diligent baker masters according to carefully kept secret recipes. Production and sales work hand in hand. This guarantees that the Lebkuchen and pastry specialties that are packed straight from the oven, are delivered to the customer as quickly as possible.