Exclusive interview: Spinato's, on frozen pizzas and broccoli crust
We recently were able to talk to Anthony Spinato, president of Spinato's Fine Foods, Tempe, AZ, about their new broccoli pizza crust and other frozen pizza aspects.
Liz Parker: How do their restaurants influence the R&D for their frozen retail line?
Anthony Spinato: The restaurants were really the inspiration for our frozen retail line. My parents, Ken and Elaine Spinato (entrepreneurs and founders of Spinato’s), moved from the Chicago suburbs to Phoenix in 1974 where they established their first pizzeria. We now have five restaurant locations. Our family spent 35 years of business refining and perfecting the recipes that have made Spinato’s pizzas famous. Customers loved the new hometown pizza so much that they regularly requested take-home options from the restaurant. Spinato’s was also the gathering place for the community, bringing together families, friends, neighbors to connect over food. This was truly the spark for our future. We wanted to transpose this same experience, the Spinato’s experience, to people’s homes. This eventually led to the exploration and launch of our retail business. For our family, pizza is more than just a meal— it’s an experience. We’ll continue to dedicate a lot of energy towards sharing our love and passion for pizza with others.
LP: What is driving growth of retail frozen pizzas?
AS: Pizza is one of the top meal choices for comfort and convenience for many American families.* Frozen pizza adds an additional layer of convenience for households. According to Datassential Food Bytes (August 2018), 56 percent of consumers purchase frozen pizza at least once a month, with 4 in 10 people saying that they keep their freezer stocked with a frozen pizza for convenience.
In terms of the growth of frozen pizza, data from SPINS indicates that the natural and specialty frozen pizza market is equal to $883 Million with a projected growth of 9 percent. The gluten-free frozen pizza market is $156 Million with a projected growth of 29 percent.**
Millennials are driving the consumption of pizza overall.*** Data indicates that 1 in 5 Millennials have consumed pizza within the past day.* They are a more health-conscious category, working to find new and healthier options for meals. But Millennials aren’t the only ones spending income on food. Gen Z is spending 20 percent more of their disposable income on food than Millennials.**** They spend their own money and influence their parents to buy for them. Gen X, with their own children, boomerang kids and aging parents are also anticipated to spend more of their income on groceries.
LP: Why did they decide to use broccoli in a pizza crust?
AS: We knew that if we introduced a new pizza, it had to be something never done before and the new broccoli crust offers a satisfying, flavor-forward option that is also healthy. We want the every day consumer to feel good about the meal they’re eating.
At the time, we recognized the positive consumer response to plant-based products on the market. The broccoli cheddar was a natural extension to our existing line. It kept with our mission to provide a no-compromise pizza experience that’s fulfilling and unmatched in terms of flavor. It is much higher in vitamin D and calcium compared to cauliflower crust, along with many carotenoids. It also added to the nutritional profile. Broccoli brings so much more to the table in terms of flavor.
LP: Are shoppers looking for better-for-you options in the frozen food aisle?
AS: Absolutely. With today’s busy lifestyles, shoppers are really challenged with providing healthier dinner options. We feel that the convenience of a frozen meal doesn’t require a compromise in quality. Convenience, however, does allow mealtime to be focused on sharing moments together rather than meal preparation. I think that’s an important component of our business and why we continue to innovate.
LP: Are Spinato's frozen pizzas distributed nationally, or are they just in Arizona/local/regional stores?
AS: Our pizzas will be distributed by Kehe, UNFI and DPI and sold in Sprouts, Fry’s, and independents—pending distribution in Safeway, Albertsons and other fine retail locations.
*Datassentail Food Bytes (August 2018)
**Retail data: SPINS cross-channel plus Whole Foods Market, 52 Weeks Ending 8/12/18 v YA | (*) MULO Channel | (^) Natural Supermarket Channel | (+) marketsandmarkets.com | (++) Allied Market Research
***2016 Power of Pizza Report: A state-of-the-industry analysis: http://www.pmq.com/December-2015/The-2016-Pizza-Power-Report-A-state-of-the-industry-analysis/
**** Satisfying Gen Z's appetite for food in near-real time (www.genzinsights.com/satisfying-gen-zs-appetite-for-food-in-near-real-time)