• Europe's largest frozen pizza maker wants slice of Canadian market

MISSISSAUGA, Ontario -- Ristorante Pizza, Europe's largest frozen pizza maker, has entered the Canadian pizza market, according to a report in the Mississauga News.

"Our research showed that Ristorante Pizza's sophisticated flavors and thin crust would be very popular with the Canadian consumer," said Gino Rulli, business unit manager for frozen foods of Dr. Oetker Canada. "It's still early days, but we've had tremendous response to date."

According to Rulli, Dr. Oetker sells more than a quarter of a billion Ristorante Pizzas each year in Europe. Based on extensive testing in Canadian homes, Rulli said the company is very confident of its sales prospects in the country.

"When it comes to pizza, thin is definitely in," Rulli said. "In Canada alone, the demand for thin crust pizza is up 113 percent since 1999 and it's growing."

Ristorante Pizza's are European-style, thin-crust pies sold in five flavors: Pizza Tonno (tuna), Pizza Spinaci (spinach), Pizza Mozzarella, Pizza Funghi (mushroom) and Pizza Pomodori (cherry tomato).

"The toppings -- especially the tuna or spinach -- have a fresh and unique taste that's just like what you might enjoy in a real Italian restaurant," said Rulli. "Send the kids to bed, light some candles and open up a nice bottle of wine. This is definitely 'adult pizza' and not your typical football game chow."

The pizzas are now available at 18 Canadian supermarkets.

Rulli said there is discussion about taking Ristorante into the U.S., but that it wants to succeed first in Canada before taking on the world's largest pizza market.

Dr. Oetker Canada Ltd. is a wholly owned subsidiary of The Oetker Group, an international and diversified company with operations in 25 countries around the world.

Dr. Oetker is the overall European market leader for branded frozen pizza, currently available in 24 countries around the world.

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