Founded in 1891, German food processor Dr. Oetker is cutting up the Australian Ready-to-Cook market with a blend of new pizza taste profiles coupled with their well-kneaded European pedigree. Branko Miletic talks to Dr. Oetker’s Executive Manager Marketing – Pizza, Paula Wyatt, about why this brand of pizza is fast becoming Australia’s favourite slice of pie.
Food Magazine (FM): What are the main differences between your pizzas and other brands in terms of ingredients, preparation and production?
Paula Wyatt (PW): Our main brands of frozen pizza here in Australia – Dr. Oetker Ristorante and Papa Giuseppi’s Bakehouse crust are both pan pressed pizzas, meaning the dough is pressed into pans, proved and baked. This gives an extremely light crispy texture to the crust and gives the consumer a very consistent product each time.
(FM): How does the Ready to Cook (RTC) market differ in Australia to Europe?
(PW): There are big differences in the frozen pizza market between Australia and Europe. For example household penetration of frozen pizza is low in Australia at 47 per cent compared to Europe, which can range between 75-90 per cent.
There are some significant consumer barriers in Australia to overcome, taste and quality being the main concerns, where consumers have not experienced frozen pizza for many years and remember the lower quality offerings of old. There is a perception that frozen pizza is poor quality and is just for kids to fill them up.
In the UK and Canada as two examples frozen pizza takes a 20 per cent and 27 per cent share, respectively, of total pizza consumption (including takeaway, chilled, and restaurants). The share in Australia is 8 per cent.
There is significant potential to grow the market by attracting new households. Dr. Oetker Ristorante has been and will continue to be a key driver of unlocking this growth – it has the highest loyalty and weight of purchase of any frozen pizza brand, once trialled, consumers are genuinely delighted with the quality and that it delivers on it’s pizzeria taste promise.
The target is to bring this to a wider audience and demonstrate to Australian consumers that there is great taste available in frozen pizzas.
(FM): Are there certain flavours / combinations that sell more in Australia than overseas?
(PW): There is a definitely a bias towards meatier toppings in Australia. BBQ Meatlovers is the best selling topping with Pepperoni and Supreme also performing well. Again this is one of the ways that Ristorante offers something different to the market. Our range of nine varieties is the widest of any frozen pizza brand where Mozzarella (slices of mozzarella, tomato and garnished with pesto), Spinaci (spinach garnished with garlic cream sauce), Funghi (sliced mushrooms with garlic sauce), Bolognese and Prosciutto sit with the more traditional Pepperoni and Hawaiian.
(FM): How much of the market do you currently have here and in Europe?
(PW): Dr. Oetker’s share of the frozen pizza market in Australia is 28 per cent inside the 5 years since launch. This is second to McCain, who command 58 per cent share. (source: Nielsen Scan 52w/e 6/9/15). The overall market is worth $AUD167.5m. Market share varies in each country, by way of example in the UK it’s 40 per cent, in Germany it’s 37 per cent, in Spain it’s 30 per cent, and in Canada it’s 42 per cent.
(FM): You make meat-based pizzas here but import the non-meat ones from OS— are there benefits for this and are you planning to produce all your pizza’s here?
(PW): This remains a legacy of how we entered the market in Australia where vegetarian varieties were imported to “test” and establish the market before local production of meat based varieties started.
At the moment we plan to continue to import these varieties, we often find our vegetarian flavours are more complex and contain more specific ingredients, it can be difficult to source the right ingredients locally to produce these efficiently at the quality we demand.
We continue to work on this, as you can imagine it’s a long way to import these goods, adding some complexity to our supply chain.
(FM): Are you looking to diversify your range/offering in Australia and if so, to what products?
(PW): Our plan is to launch new concepts to help attract new consumers and grow the market here in Australia.
We have a wide portfolio globally and expertise we can draw on – however it’s really important to bring concepts that appeal to Australian consumers, have the right taste profile and effectively target and convert these new consumers for future growth. Therefore we invest heavily in consumer research to understand potential gaps and how best to fill these with the right concepts for this market.
The market here is underdeveloped and a number of key areas are our focus for growth – for example crust styles, occasions (snacks, main meal, sharing), topping trends etc.