Alexander Antonoff, vice head of corporate communications at Nestle Germany, told BakeryAndSnacks.com that Nestle made the decision due to “the growing demand in the German market and in various export markets.”
He said that export sales accounted for around 390% of a total 400 % sales growth since Nestle acquired Wagner in 2005.
As a result, Nestle has begun to export Wagner pizzas to the Canadian market, he said.
The expansion will increase Nestle’s capacity at the site from 70m products per year to 350m when operations begin in spring 2013.
Asked about any plans to introduce new pizza varieties as part of the expansion, Antonoff said: “There are naturally plans, but which kind of products we will publish at a later date.”
Frozen pizza market
A report from Germany Trade and investment found that Germany had the largest frozen food market in Europe, with total sales of €11.4 billion in 2010. It found the largest retail segment was deep-frozen ready-to-eat meals, including pizza with a 32.2 % share.
There are two big names in German frozen pizzas: Nestle and Dr Oetker, owner of the Chicago Town brand. Dr Oetker currently holds top spot, while Nestle has around 30% of the market.
Wagner has around 1,400 employees at present and turns over approximately € 400 million a year.
Nestle strengthens pizza portfolio
Nestle has also invested in frozen pizza brands outside Europe in recent months.
When it acquired Kraft Foods’ frozen business last year, Nestle added brands including DiGiorno and California Pizza Kitchen to its portfolio in the US and Canada.
Nestle entered into a joint venture with Wagner in 2005 and upped its stake to 74% in 2010.
Wagner’s turnover has increased 51% since the initial partnership.