Most pizza connoisseurs would cringe to hear it, but frozen pizza represents the ultimate comfort food for many: quick and easy to make, affordable and undeniably delicious. It might not surprise you to learn that some of the most popular frozen pizza brands in the world hail from Italy. Buitoni – best known as a pasta brand – is currently working on opening a new “pizza hub” near Benevento. The production centre, which should be operational by next October, will expand on existing factories and increase their production. Worldwide exports are, of course, the long-term goal.
How many pizzas are too many?
The current production line, which has been recently added to the Buitoni factory, produces around 5000 pizzas a day, but the introduction of two more lines of the same kind, that number is set to increase by 500%. While the existing production line will continue to churn out pizzas for the Italian market (yes, there is an Italian market for frozen pizzas), the other two will provide products destined for international exports, with a focus on Europe and the Mediterranean area.
Art, craftsmanship and technology of pizza
The art of Neapolitan pizza making has been listed as intangible world heritage by Unesco and it is widely considered an art. Can machines reproduce art? Probably not, but their production can certainly rival with that of many skilled “pizzaioli”. The main differences are in fact to be found not in the process, but in the ingredients (as the dough requires a slightly different recipe to maintain its properties after being frozen. And you would be mistaken to think that frozen pizza is made by rushing the original process: the dough is left to rise for 22 hours. The industrial process innovates and optimises other parts of the production, such as the adding of tomato sauce and other toppings, which is done by machines, thus obtaining a more even distribution of key ingredients in a shorter time. These innovative machines, recently introduced by Buitoni, allow for a wider variety of ingredients and recipes.
Health and safety
Fully-automated pizza making allows for each individual pizza to pass smoothly from the oven to the freezer, thus making sure the frozen product stays fresh and fragrant once thawed and cooked. Moreover, the process incorporated an extra start, in which each individual pizza is checked for health&safety purposes, in order to make sure that no inappropriate materials or components accidentally land on the finished product.
This technological pizza revolution will translate into new employment opportunities: the company will need to hire 150 new employees, effectively increasing its workforce. The consequences of this development will be felt throughout the region, as Buitoni aims at involving the territory in its innovation process, by sourcing most of its raw ingredients from Campania.