Chef Luciano Vendone has been making authentic pizzas for decades. Along with his wife Susan, he runs Nottingham-based Deli Conte, producing and supplying dough balls and pizza bases to restaurants, bars and other caterers across the UK, as well as training chefs how to make the perfect pizza.
The Vendones pride themselves on listening to customers and keeping abreast of trends, and decided to try and produce a high protein version of their popular products.
But in order to be described as ‘high protein’, the company needed to demonstrate that at least 20% of the energy value of the food was provided by protein. The issues of which protein and how to ensure that Deliconti could make the 'high protein' claim were areas where the University could help.
The independent family-run business was able to take advantage of a unique collaboration project at the University of Nottingham’s Food Innovation Centre, based on its Sutton Bonington Campus.
The EU-funded project links small and medium-sized food and drink firms in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire to specialist innovation support, with access to scientists, technicians, and facilities at the University of Nottingham.
Richard Worrall, head of project at the Food Innovation Centre, said: “The collaboration illustrates how the expertise in universities can be harnessed by food and drink producers in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire to help them create new products and grow their businesses.”
“As a small business, we have the ideas and the capability but time for research and development is sparse. We knew we could develop a truly high protein pizza base but it was important to get the nutritional claims correct before going to market.”