exclusive Simon Mowbray Leading German food manufacturer Dr Oetker is to launch its first assault on the British market. The multi-billion pound business is introducing a range of frozen pizzas which should start hitting supermarket freezers as early as next week. The company said it had listings confirmed in "most major multiples". And it added that it was confident of reinvigorating a £300m sector which is declining by more than 3% a year as consumers switch to chilled products [Information Resources]. UK sales director Peter Franks said: "We are totally focused on becoming a major player in the United Kingdom and already have a proven track record in Europe." Leeds will be the base for Dr Oetker (UK) Ltd, handling the administration and distribution of its Pizza Ristorante brand in the UK. The range of 10-inch thin and crispy' pizzas will initially come in four core varieties ­ Mozzarella, Speciale, Funghi and Hawaii ­ retailing at £1.99 each. A marketing spend of £5m has been earmarked to support the brand and will include television commercials from April 1. It is a bold move for the company ­ which has a burgeoning portfolio in Germany including desserts, cereals and seafood. Its ambitions will put it in direct competition with the likes of market leaders Schwan and McCain. Schwan, by contrast, this week announced agressive plans to take on Germany with its Freschetta brand. Dr Oetker's move has been met with some scepticism by the industry, however. One senior buyer told The Grocer: "It will be interesting to see how they get on and the first few months will be critical. "If they don't make an impact straight away, then I can't see it being worth their while to stay in the market." {{NEWS }}