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From Yogi and Crostini to Big Americans: German pizza makers bake up oven pleasers.

Hey, hey, hey...there's a new kid on the block in the frozen pizza market in Germany - and the Yogi sub-brand introduced at the Anuga Exhibition two years ago was just the beginning.

One doesn't need a high-powered telescope to observe evidence of positive consumer reaction to products produced by Trierweiler-based Galileo Lebensmittel GmbH (Fax: 49-651-82792-33).

Crostini is the latest "discovery" found in the adult-oriented Classico range of international appetizers. Heaped upon an unmistakably crisp Italian bread base is a choice of four toppings: Salami with tomatoes, paprika and cheese; Pomodori (mozzarrella cheese, tomatoes and basil); Salmon with cheese; and Hawaii (cheese, pineapple, ham, yogurt-cream sauce and spices). Two 175g Crostini come per pack, which sells for a suggested retail price of DM 3.99.

Meanwhile, it's Yogi Pizza that has proved especially popular with kids. Under a licensing deal, the 20cm, 180-200g products are available in packaging featuring cartoon character likenesses from the long-running animated TV show. There's Yogi Bear Pizza (cheese, tomatoes and ham), Ranger Smith's (topped with salami), Boo Boo's (cheese and tomatoes) and Cindy's (ham, cheese and pineapple).

The backs of each pack feature an adventure scene cardboard cutout, and one of every seven boxes contains a Yogi Family play toy resembling the familiar likes of Boo Boo, Chopper, Snagglepuss, Alfy Gator and others.

"With this Yogi innovation we have managed to address the youngest target group in the German pizza market, which topped 60,000 tons in 1994 and reached DM 620 million in value," said Stefano La Vecchia, managing director. "The packaging is designed to stimulate impulse sales, and the collectible toys inside make the range especially attractive."

For the more sophisticated palate there's Galileo's 420g Holzofen range. The hand-made, wood oven-baked offerings are: Prosciutto (ham, mushrooms, mozzarella and parmesan cheeses, tomatoes, olive oil and spices) and Salami.

Then there is a selection of 300-350g thin-crust stone oven pizza, ranging from Novara (with pepperoni, ham and mushrooms) and Milano (salami) to Firenze (salami, pepperoni and mushrooms), Ravenna (pepperoni) and Messina (tuna fish, onions and tomato chunks).

"Our recipes are of genuine Italian origin," Mr. La Vecchia told Quick Frozen Foods International magazine. "Given the chance, customers will come back to buy Galileo products again and again."

It's getting them listed in major supermarkets - where the firmly entrenched big brand names dominate - that is the problem. "We are making inroads, but it's tough," said the managing director. "Success has been quicker to come by in the growing frozen food home delivery sector."

Still, Mr. La Vecchia is undaunted in his determination to break into the channels of chain store distribution. As the son of the man who almost single-handedly launched the Italian-style frozen pizza business in Germany almost 20 years ago, he has seen David proudly walk among the Goliaths before.

The senior Mr. La Vecchia founded Peppino's Pizza in two small garages before expanding it into a highly successful firm thai was eventually sold to the UK-headquartered Perkins Foods group. Stefano learned much of what he knows about making and marketing pizza in the kitchen and executive office of a master.

The pizza segment of Germany's frozen food market has proved to be one of the most successful categories of the last 15 years, steadily posting strong growth rates. Consumption, which has doubled since 1989, is projected to rise 39% by the year 2000.

Meanwhile, Freiberger Lebensmittel GmbH (Fax: 49-30-4070-4202), the "king of the hill" in the German and European frozen pizza business, is gearing up its marketing efforts in the United Kingdom with the launch of Alberto brand thin-crust stone oven pizzas. Three varieties of nine-inch products are offered at an introductory retail price of [pounds]1.59: Ham & Pineapple; Mushroom; and Speciale (ham, salami and pepperoni).

The Berlin-headquartered manufacturer produces 1.3 million units of pizza, pasta and baguettes daily at two factories in Germany. Much of the output goes into private label.

The Alberto line is being initially targeted at the 25-44 years old segment of Britain's [pounds]269 frozen pizza segment. "Our stone oven range is the first ever to be aimed at the more adult pizza market," said Richard Harrow, UK sales director. "The feedback has been very positive."

Also new under the Alberto banner is a range of four pasta products in premium-quality sauce.

Another firm keenly eyeing the UK market - which is Europe's second largest for frozen pizza - is Wagner Tiefkuhlprodukte GmbH of Nonweiler-Braunshausen (Fax: 49-68-7366-5293). It unveiled 13 deep pan American-style and stone oven recipes at the IFE in London.

Thin and crispy crust stone oven varieties include the Special, which is a top seller in Germany. The meat feast pizza is topped with salami, pepperoni and ham. Other offerings are: Ham, Mushroom, Tuna; Mozzarella, Hawaii (pineapple and ham), Bolognese, and Salmon and Prawns.

Among the American-style deep pan pizzas, which feature fluffy and crisp bases with generous toppings, are: Supreme, Western, Hawaii, Mexicana and Shanghai.

Wagner produces more than one million pizzas a day at two factories in Germany. Its Original Wagner pizza ranks among the "Top 100" products of the German retail food trade. In addition to the UK, exports go to Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Austria, Switzerland, France and Spain.

Bielefeld-based Dr. Oetker (Fax: 49-52-1155-2910) has come out with three hefty-topping recipes under its new Big Americans range of 25cm diameter pizza products. Now available are: California (topped with tuna, corn and red onions), TexMex (salami, peppers, corn and kidney beans) and Supreme (salami, ham, peppers, corn, tomatoes and onions).

At the same time, three new items have been added to the Ristorante line of thin-crust Italian-style offerings. They are: Four Seasons Pizza (salami, tuna, mushrooms and spinach), Hawaii (ham and pineapple), and Mozzarella (tomato plus large slices of mozzarella and edam cheese).

Germany's Leading Frozen Pizza Brands

Premium Stone Oven

Wagner GmbH Galileo Lebensmittel GmbH

Value Priced Stone Oven

Peppino's Pizza Freiberger (Erno's)

Traditional Stone Oven

Dr. Oetker Mantua Roncadin Pan Nestle Findus Langnese-Iglo

Wood Oven

Galileo Lebensmittel GmbH

Baguettes

Freiberger Langnese-lglo Roncadin

Crostini

Galileo Lebensmittel GmbH

Children's Pizzas

Galileo Lebensmittel GmbH
COPYRIGHT 1997 E.W. Williams Publications, Inc.
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Publication:Quick Frozen Foods International
Date:Apr 1, 1997
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