Bella Italia’s executive chef Vittorio Lettieri has personally developed a bespoke range of meals for the supermarket channel as the chain follows rivals such as Pizza Express down the route of non-restaurant sales.
The chain’s range of frozen ready meals will be sold through Tesco and promise to deliver high quality Italian meals to supermarket shoppers.
The selection of dishes were chosen and refined by Mr Lettieri following an extensive process of cook-offs and stringent tests. All are designed to build on the authentic Italian dishes that the chain serves in its 111 UK restaurants.
The range, which includes a selection of starters, mains and desserts, all of which are or have been on its a la carte menu, is part of a strategy to target new markets in the UK.
Wherever possible, the dishes use the same ingredient suppliers as those served in Bella Italia restaurants across the UK, to maintain the same integrity, quality standard of product that its customers know.
James Spragg, chief operating officer of Bella Italia, said: “We’re restaurant operators at heart, with a rich heritage, but we also have a wealth of experience that can be utilised to tap into other markets, such as retail. As well as focusing on menu innovation and creating exceptional dining experiences, we’re also determined to evolve and find new ways to capitalise on our expertise and experience.”
Mr Spragg added that the chain was proud of the progress it has made on menu innovation, championing authentic and healthy flavours and produce over recent years.
“We are confident that the rigorous testing and quality control measures we have put in place with Tesco will guarantee an end product we’re both proud of,” he added.
Numerous high street chains offer ready meals through the supermarket channel, including Giraffe and Itsu.
Pizza Express shifts more pizzas through supermarkets than it does through its restaurants. Last year it sold 35 million boxed pizzas, compared with 21 million through its restaurants.