Independent family run artisan pizza base producer Deli Conti is unveiling a new high protein pizza dough at one of the UK’s largest food and drink trade shows, following support from food innovation scientists.

Experts at the Food Innovation Centre, based at the University of Nottingham’s Sutton Bonington Campus, are focusing on a number of key issues in the food and drink sector, including the increasing demand for alternative sustainable proteins.

In a unique collaboration project that provides free specialist innovation support to small and medium-sized food and drink firms in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire, the centre offers access to scientists, technicians, and facilities at the university – enabling eligible food and drink firms to seek free advice on how to overcome challenges and develop new ideas.

One of the latest firms to take advantage of the expertise on offer is Nottingham-based pizza base and dough ball producer Deli Conti. The company turned to experts at the Food Innovation Centre as it prepared to develop a new high protein pizza dough to satisfy the increasing demand for high protein products.

Now the new product is ready for launch and will be unveiled at Food & Drink Expo at the NEC, Birmingham, which runs from 16 to 18 April.

Luciano Vendone, who runs Deli Conti with his wife Susan, said: “High protein food is increasing in popularity, and as a supplier to the foodservice sector for many years, we wanted to offer a high protein version of our authentic pizza bases. We needed the input of experts at the Food Innovation Centre and a UKAS accredited laboratory to verify the protein levels so that we can advertise the products as ‘high protein’ and we are delighted that we have achieved that aim.”

Deli Conti, which supplies its dough balls, pizza bases and panizza® to restaurants, bars, hotels, schools, universities and caterers across the East Midlands and beyond, hopes the new dough will appeal to gyms, leisure facilities and other catering outlets that specialise in high protein food and drink.

Luciano has been making authentic pizzas for almost 40 years, always using the same method.

He added: “We have given out samples of the new high protein pizza for chefs to try, and have had the thumbs up from everybody. We are looking forward to launching the product at Food and Drink Expo 2018.”

In order to be described as ‘high protein’, at least 20% of the energy value of the food must be provided by protein. A claim that a food is a source of protein may only be made where at least 12% of the energy value of the food is provided by protein.

Susan Vendone said: “The project with the Food Innovation Centre has been an immense help to Deli Conti. 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.

“The service we received from the team at the Food Innovation Centre at the University of Nottingham was excellent and it means we can promote our high protein products – knowing that they have been developed with the help of experts in the field of innovation.”

The new pizza bases will be presented at Food and Drink Expo at the Deli Conti stand, J218.

The Food Innovation Centre, which is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), is part of the Division of Food Sciences at the University of Nottingham. Its experts are looking at a range of global issues affecting the food industry, including ways to reduce waste, innovative new products and energy that can be created from by-products, and new protein sources.

Richard Worrall, head of project at the Food Innovation Centre, said: “The food science experts working at the Food Innovation Centre were very pleased to support Deli Conti, as the company developed a high protein pizza base to satisfy increasing demand in the foodservice sector for high protein foods. 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.”

For more information about the Food Innovation Centre, visit

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