The world’s largest pizza producer, Italpizza, is moving to Quebec. The Italian giant is opening its first store in Canada, hoping to convince the whole country that it is possible to combine frozen food and fine dining to offer quality at a reasonable price.
Italpizza is not a pizzeria. No food is prepared there and only two employees work in one branch. The owner of Italpizza Shop & Eat, the Canadian branch of the company, welcomed The newspaper at its premises in Plaça Laval, in front of a row of freezers.
“It is a concept that requires much less investment in money and time. Selling frozen pizzas helps fight the labor shortage, because we don’t need anyone in the kitchen. It also allows us to keep our prices very low compared to what is done elsewhere”, Andrea Primo Gennari points out.
When entering the “pizzathèque”, the customer chooses between four toppings and two types of crust, Neapolitan or Roman. A service employee heats up the customer’s plate, and in a few minutes, everything is ready to eat on site or at home.
“We also have delivery agreements with Uber Eats and Doordash,” emphasizes the man who runs the Quebec food company Walcovit, known for its milk-fed beef sausages for sale at various retailers.
All of the pizzas the company will sell in Quebec and Canada are baked in Modena, Italy, using fresh local produce. According to the entrepreneur who arrived in Quebec in 1985, it is this aspect that sets Italpizza apart from the low-priced competitors found in supermarkets.
“Each pizza dough spends 24 hours in fermentation to obtain a more airy texture. Once stuffed, they are baked in a wood-fired oven as is the tradition. You get a thick and crispy crust, but very light, like you’ll find in big pizzerias. Quality food comes at a price…and it’s $12!”
The pizzas are frozen and exported to 57 countries around the world, now including Canada. The company has “no interest” in setting up a factory in Quebec, as it would be impossible to maintain the same freshness by importing large quantities of Italian food.