German firm Dr Oetker is planning to relocate a production line from Germany to its Chicago Town site in Moss Side, Lancashire. If planning permission is granted, the firm will take on the new staff over a period of three years.
The food manufacturer wants to extend its factory on the industrial estate and build new offices to enable it to support the manufacturing process.
A spokeswoman for Dr Oetker told FoodManufacture.co.uk: “The Dr Oetker Group is undertaking a feasibility study to relocate a production line currently within the facilities of a third-party manufacturer.
“The Leyland site [in Lancashire] is the preferred option and plans have been submitted to the relevant local authorities for approval. These are now progressing through the normal planning process.”
Planners at South Ribble Council have recommended that councillors approve an application for the two-storey extension, offices and cold storage unit next week.
The Leyland plant is one of the town’s biggest employers, with around 300 staff on its books.
It has been part of the town since 1989 and was formerly owned by Schwan’s Food Company, before Dr Oetker took over in 2008.
Dr Oetker’s ‘robust growth’
Market research firm Mintel reported “robust growth” for Dr Oetker in its most recent report on the pizza market, published in July 2011. It said own-label pizza had taken the largest slice of the frozen take home pizza sector, accounting for 35% of the segment’s sales in 2010.
“Dr Oetker’s acquisition of Chicago Town in 2008 appears to be paying off as the market leader posted 13% sales value growth in 2010 to grab a 24% share of the frozen segment,” said Mintel’s senior food analyst, Alex Beckett.
“Similar to its parent brand Dr Oetker, Chicago Town reaped the rewards of a busy innovation schedule. It targeted pizza delivery users by launching limited-edition pizzas under its Takeaway brand under such youth-friendly themes as The X-Factor and the FIFA World Cup.”
FIFA World Cup
Mintel also said Dr Oetker had achieved early success with the August 2010 roll-out of Casa Di Mama, a frozen pizza range claimed to have the quality credentials of chilled pizza.
Overall, reported sales in the UK take home pizza market increased by 22% to reach £825M between 2006 and last year.
“Growth was driven by a combination of factors, however, at core was the expansion of own-label, increased promotional activity and the position of pizza as a relatively low-priced family friendly food,” said Beckett.
Family owned firm Dr Oetker started life in Germany in 1891. It introduced the first frozen pizzas to the German market.