Loblaw Cos. chain Fortinos Supermarket plans to test the sale of par-baked frozen pizza from Toronto-area restaurant operator General Assembly Pizza.
Plans call for five Fortinos stores in Burlington, Vaughan, Brampton, Hamilton and Oakville, Ontario, to carry a selection of GA Pizza’s naturally leavened frozen pizzas, GA Pizza said yesterday. When the pilot is completed, Fortinos and GA Pizza will review the results to determine go-forward plans, which may include further expansion across the greater Toronto-area grocer’s 23 locations.
GA Pizza’s chef-prepared frozen pizzas are made with premium ingredients and all-natural dough and provide meal solutions for all diets, including meat-free and plant-based options, the company said. The pizzas take less than 10 minutes to cook.
“Our team was drawn to GA Pizza’s product offering: a premium frozen pizza that’s both easy to cook and delicious,” Beverly Wright, director of marketing at Fortinos, said in a statement. “Fortinos is excited to partner with GA Pizza. As a large grocery retailer, this premium, locally made frozen pizza is a great fit for our customers.”
GA Pizza noted that the distribution at Fortinos marks its largest wholesale partnership to date in the retail channel, including its first collaboration with a supermarket chain. Including the Fortinos locations, GA Pizza said its retailer presence expands to more than 80 stores across Ontario, and the company sees more growth potential in the consumer packaged goods market.
“This an exciting development that will allow us to further expand our retail footprint and ultimately introduce GA Pizza to new households across Ontario,” GA Pizza CEO and founder Ali Khan Lalani stated. “Partnering with Fortinos Supermarket, a beloved part of Loblaw’s robust retailers, is a fantastic opportunity to extend our reach more than ever before.”
Founded in 2017, GA Pizza started as a fast-casual pizza restaurant in Toronto and three years later began offering a “freezer to table” par-baked line and online pizza subscription (gapizzaclub.com) and gifting (give.gapizza.com) services. Last month, the company — General Assembly Holdings Ltd. — completed a public offering and opened a satellite restaurant on Toronto’s waterfront. The fast-growing business also was featured in Forbes magazine.
Key to GA Pizza’s growth will be a new master production facility in Vaughan, Ontario, that will take over much of the pizza production to meet rising consumer demand. In announcing the lease of the 42,060-square-foot facility last week, GA Pizza said daily production capacity will initially increase by 150% to 5,000 units by the end of the third quarter and then ramp to 10,000 units by the year’s end. When fully operational in 2022, the facility is expected to have a production capacity of 50,000 units daily, up 2,400% from the company’s current level, and generate about 1 million pizzas monthly.
“Our new facility is a significant stepping stone for the team,” Lalani added. “We will finally be able to keep up with demand and forge larger-scale wholesale relationships like this to better serve our pizza lovers.”