Made in Lancashire, the German pizza that's devouring Italy

Italians who like to boast that no one makes pizza quite like their mamma are facing up to the indigestible news that in Italy the most popular shop-bought example of the classic Neapolitan snack is likely to have started life in Lancashire.

For while the denizens of Leyland near Preston might be unlikely to be heard muttering chi mangia bene, vive bene (those who eat well live well) as they relax over their morning cappuccino and biscotti, it seems they do know a thing or two when it comes to frozen pizzas.

Yesterday it emerged that the Ristorante brand produced by the German food conglomerate Dr Oetker at its plant on an industrial estate just off the M6 is the best-selling frozen pizza in a country synonymous with passion and pride in food.

According to sales data releasedby IRI, the company now commands 20 per cent of the Italian pizza market.It beat into second place Buitoni Bella Napoli – founded nearly 200 years ago by Giuseppe Buitoni, but which was bought by the Swiss conglomerate Nestlé in 1988.

Leyland's notoriety has until now rested predominantly on its production of buses and trucks before lending its name to the ill-fated 1970s nationalisation of the British car industry.

Although Italy may be the home of the Slow Food movement, the country has along with other European countries experienced a steady decline in home cooking. The current market for convenience food is worth €6.6bn (£5.8bn) – similar to that in the UK, according to Euromonitor. Sales of packaged food are rising in line with the rest of Europe at the rate of around 15 per cent a year.

Still, foodie sections of society reacted in horror last year when McDonald's teamed up with Silvio Berlusconi's government to create a special product to suit the local tastebuds. "McDonald's speaks Italian," the advertising slogan declared, targeting a nation with around 300 branches.

The US food giant's McItaly burger contained home-grown beef, artichoke spread, Asiago cheese and smoked pancetta, but it was, perhaps predictably, panned by the critics, prompting the Agriculture Minister, who endorsed the snack, to call them "ignorant Stalinists".

Lancashire meanwhile has been stepping up its claim to a seat at the world's top table. The Michelin star winners Paul Heathcote and Nigel Haworth are among two of the county's most famous chefs who have championed the region's fine produce and hearty cooking traditions.

The men behind the brands

* Dr Oetker

August Oetker is credited as the inventor of baking powder. His company, founded in 1891, is still based in Bielefeld, Germany, and now includes banking and publishing arms. Oetker passed the business on to his son-in law.



* Colonel Sanders

His military title may have been ceremonial but his string tie, white suite and goatee were real. A 40-year-old Harland Sanders began a Kentucky roadside chicken shack, deploying his "secret recipe" – a pressurised cooking method for frying breaded poultry wings. He sold the company for $2m (£1.3m) in 1964.



* Dr Pepper

First patented in 1885, the founder of the global fizzy-drink brand was no medic – it was a pharmacist, Charles Alderton, who sold his first soda at a drugstore in Waco, Texas.



* Mr Kipling

Sadly, the creator of French Fancies is only an exceedingly good marketing gimmick first introduced to the British cake-buying public in 1967.



* Uncle Ben

Ben was, according to the Uncle Ben's website, a real Texan farmer famed for his high-quality rice. But the details of his life have been "lost to history".

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
News
Kim Wilde began gardening in the 1990s when she moved to the countryside
peopleThe singer is leading an appeal for the charity Thrive, which uses the therapy of horticulture
Sport
Alexis Sanchez celebrates scoring a second for Arsenal against Reading
football
Life and Style
health
Voices
An easy-peel potato; Dave Hax has come up with an ingenious method in food preparation
voicesDave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
News
Japan's population is projected to fall dramatically in the next 50 years (Wikimedia)
news
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Recruitment Genius: Bid / Tender Writing Executive

    £24000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: With offices in Manchester, Lon...

    Guru Careers: Marketing Executives / Marketing Communications Consultants

    Competitive (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a number of Marketi...

    Recruitment Genius: Marketing Executive

    £20000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This well established business ...

    Ashdown Group: Management Accountant - Manchester

    £25000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Management Accountant - Manchester...

    Day In a Page

    NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

    Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

    A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
    How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

    How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

    Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
    From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

    The wars that come back to haunt us

    David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
    Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
    Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

    UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

    Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
    John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

    ‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

    Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
    Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

    Let the propaganda wars begin - again

    'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

    Japan's incredible long-distance runners

    Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
    Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

    Tom Drury: The quiet American

    His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
    You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

    You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

    Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
    Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

    Beige to the future

    Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

    Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

    More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
    Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

    Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

    The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
    Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own