It’s the self-proclaimed Pizza Capital of the World and every Sunday, millions of Paulistanos – as residents of São Paulo are known – go out to their local pizzeria to eat pizza.
But it’s not just Sunday that close to a million pizzas are consumed - it’s every day. According to Reuters, there are more than 6,000 pizzerias in this city of 12 million; pizza’s so popular in São Paulo they even have a national pizza day in July.
Now Fonterra has quietly ventured into the Brazilian pizza market with its first sale of its high quality, extra stretch Individual Quick Frozen (IQF) mozzarella.
It landed the sale with São Paulo’s oldest and most traditional pizzeria. Founded in 1924, Cantina Castelões is known for its pizzas and still sells the popular pizza that bears its name Castelões – mozzarella, tomato sauce and spicy Calabresa sausage – which is copied by other pizzerias.
Fonterra’s Foodservice Manager Brazil Hugo Melo says this is a small but significant step into a new market for mozzarella but the potential is huge.
“We’re working closely with Cantina Castelões because we believe our specially patented mozzarella is a superior product with great taste and extra stretch appeal and will save them time, money, labour costs and reduce wastage,” Hugo says.
IQF mozzarella is made from pure New Zealand milk using world-leading technology developed at the Fonterra Research and Development Centre in Palmerston North. It has features that binds the topping to the base, provides colour and texture and extra stretch – a key part of the pizza experience. It’s snap frozen at peak maturity to capture freshness and its authentic taste, and pre-shredded for ease of use.
Fonterra Global director Foodservice Grant Watson says IQF mozzarella is the jewel in the Co-operative’s foodservice crown.
“It’s a fantastic and popular product in our other markets and demand for it continues to grow. We think there’s huge potential in Brazil for our mozzarella to become a real selling point for pizzerias, given its extra stretch, the fact it tastes so good and is 100 per cent natural,” Grant says.
Fonterra recently announced it was building a new $240 million plant to help meet growing demand – the single largest foodservice investment in New Zealand’s dairy industry history. It will allow it to double the Co-operative’s capacity to produce its revolutionary mozzarella, which is made from milk in one day instead of the usual two to three months taken by conventional mozzarella processes. It’ll come on stream in September 2018.
Once complete, it will make Fonterra’s Clandeboye site the largest producer of natural mozzarella in the Southern Hemisphere.
The IQF mozzarella is the result of patented technology developed by the Fonterra Research and Development Centre, and supported by Transforming the Dairy Value Chain – a Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) programme between the Ministry of Primary Industries, Fonterra and DairyNZ.
So what does the man whose business is all about pizzas, think about the new mozzarella that’s topping his pizzas at Cantina Castelões?