Frozen food

Italy in the vanguard of the gluten free market in Europe

Italian producers keep specializing by increasing investments in R&D, and frozen pizzas are among the most innovative sectors. The example of Roncadin

Gluten free food constitutes a real trend in Italy and is conquering market shares year after year. Italy is among the European nations with the highest rate of gluten intolerance (1% of Italians compared to 0.2% of Germans – courtesy of the Italian Celiac Association). Gluten free products are, however, also chosen by non celiacs who react sensitively to the presence of gluten in food, or are simply selected for the sake of varying the diet. Thus, an increased variety of products on European supermarket shelves can be noted, especially in some key sectors, such as frozen pizza.

Dario Roncadin

A START-UP FOR GLUTEN FREE FROZEN FOODS – On the occasion of the Gluten Free Expo 2016, the international exhibition of gluten free products held in Rimini last November, Roncadin, a Meduno (Pordenone)-based company specialising in the production of premium frozen pizzas, presented a new project to speed up production, as a proof for its readiness to invest more in this sector. We founded the start-up company AR in partnership with Appetais, explains CEO Dario Roncadin. The plant is located in Genoa, on an establishment that is entirely dedicated to the gluten free category where we produce for several Italian and foreign labels. The first business year closed as planned, meaning a turnover of three million euro and an anticipated growth of around eight million in 2017. The business is being consolidated through the acquisition of Italian and foreign customers, continues Roncadin.

FOCUSING ON THE MIXTURE – In the future, Roncadin intends to further invest in research and development at its plants in Meduno and Genoa, aspiring to find innovative recipes not only for fillings but especially for new mixtures. This is Roncadin’s careful choice, explains the CEO: The alternative use of maize meal blended with alternative flours is already entrenched in the company’s DNA, which has been successfully producing the typical ‘farinata’, a traditional Ligurian pizza made by working water, extra virgin olive oil and chickpea flour. As is true for all legumes, the high protein and nutritional value of chickpea flour is an interesting ingredient for innovative products targeted towards consumers following vegetarian and vegan diets. Roncadin closed 2016 with a turnover of 95 million euro and 80 million pieces of pizza and snacks. The company intends to achieve a production of 500,000 pizzas per day by 2020.

USA, THE MARKET WITH MOST POTENTIAL FOR FROZEN PIZZA – The USA market is attentive towards high-quality raw ingredients, paying great attention to the ingredients’ origin and whether they are organic. In the United States, one out of two consumers is willing to spend more for pizzas made with premium ingredients, “gourmet” recipes, and organic raw ingredients. Within the younger slot, from 18 to 34 years of age, this percentage reaches 60 to 70% (Lightspeed GMI/Mintel data).The market asks for stuffed pizza with high quality Italian ingredients and regional specialties such as buffalo mozzarella, ricotta, dino kale, and rabe. Tomorrow’s recipes throw an eye towards the new trends such as gluten-free, vegan, and even cheese-free, for people who suffer from food intolerance and consumers who are paying more and more attention towards their health and nutritional tables.

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