Chain restaurant Franco Manca has launched a range of “cook at home” pizzas in 500 supermarkets across the U.K., Fulham Shore, the venture capital firm which owns the brand revealed today, 3 November.
Chairman of Fulham Shore David Page, the man responsible for expanding Franco Manca’s spiritual forefather Pizza Express into cities and towns across the U.K. in the 1970s and 80s, called the move into mass market retail a “very exciting” new strategic development, which (no need to boast, David) “complements the appeal and success of our consistently busy and growing portfolio of restaurants,” City A.M. reports.
Pizzas, which are currently retailing at £5.75, include the following crowd-pleasing toppings: Four cheese with a balsamic glaze; salami and chilli honey; fennel sausage and red pepper; beef meatball with red onion and pecorino. They come in at 25p more than the Pizza Express Sloppy Guiseppe, which has been a mainstay of the supermarket refrigerator for two decades.
Franco Manca has come along way from its days as an indie artisanal pizzeria in Brixton market when Neapolitan folklore, the immortal (and meaningless to most Neapolitans) words “sourdough bases,” Somerset mozzarella, and natural wines thrust it to cult status in the late 2000s. The group now runs 45 restaurants across London, with 28 across the rest of the U.K., and, curiously, one in Athens.
Fulham Shore says that the five “premium” pizzas have taken “many months of careful development” and will be available in supermarkets this week. According to a report in Langton Capital, the company has licensed the brand to Italian food manufacturers Rondanini who have developed the range in partnership with Franco Manca’s executive chef Alfonso Marseglia.
In addition to supermarkets, the group plans to add its pizzas to other grocery retailers from late in 2023. Fulham Shore says the move is designed to drive brand awareness, to introduce the Franco Manca brand to consumers across the U.K., “especially where [it] does not yet have a restaurant presence.”
At least after the boom and near-inevitable bust, the pizzas will live on, still chilled in the supermarket refrigerators.