Travel your tastebuds to Italy with Sugo Tu
Born with a deep, unshakable desire for “perfection”, and a dream to create “a one stop shop for truly authentic and irresistible Italian food”, Sugu tu founder and owner, Robert van den Bergh, founded his business with tenacious ambition and a pledge to produce the highest-quality traditional products that stand the test of time.
With a family legacy spanning the Dutch baking and brewing era dating back to 1792, Mr van den Bergh’s father Rudi was a pioneering World War II migrant from Holland, who established bakeries in Queensland and New South Wales, Australia. Developing an enviable reputation for delicious home-baked premium goods, his Australian-born sons Robert and Leo joined the family business in 1975, successfully selling their chain of bakeries in 1994.
Soon after, Mr van den Bergh travelled to Italy where he learned traditional baking techniques, and upon returning to Australia, was disappointed with the quality and lack of authenticity in what Australia had on offer.
“I wanted to produce frozen, unbaked pizza dough the traditional Italian way, so I set about researching, developing, and modifying dough methods and processes including pre-fermentation.”
“We started with one large dough mixer, a few chest freezers and a “crazy entrepreneurial ambitious drive,” he said.
Mr van den Bergh said the key to their success was their “pursuit of perfection” and conceded that many factors were responsible for positive results; from the kind of flour used, to the fermentation process.
“We only use the very best ingredients in our dough, including Manildra Group’s flour, and we champion a clean label with no sugars, no oils and no fats. Consistency is integral throughout the entire production process,” he said.
The secret lies in the “dough”, and started with Mr van den Bergh reviving a 200-year-old family recipe. More than 500 prototypes later, he had finally “perfected the pizza” and had delivered a product unrivalled in quality, consistency, and irresistible taste.
“We craft our dough over 24 hours, using our unique two-stage fermentation process, precise temperature control, and our proprietary flour blend. We’re so proud of our dough producing light thin bases and a soft fluffy crust,” he told The Cultivator.
“We’ve solved the eternal balancing act of quality, verse speed, and are able to serve customers rustic, authentic, great tasting pizzas.”
An Australian-first for the food service industry, Mr van den Bergh developed a method whereby he freezes the dough, retaining the traditional qualities that give the dough its incredible taste and texture, with a multi- dimensional rustic taste experience representing an authentic Italian-style.
From the head chef, to the kitchen hand and the waiter, Sugu tu’s robust dough is so easy to hand stretch it’s almost impossible to get wrong.
Sugu tu enjoys a strong presence in the highly competitive food service market in Australia and internationally including Hong Kong, the United Arab Emirates, Vietnam and Singapore, whilst consistent quality remained at the heart of their range.
As the premier producer and food service supplier, Sugo tu has expanded to include
pizza dough, parbaked pizza bases, fried breads, grissini, pasta, sauces, gluten free pizza bases, as well as contract manufacturing options, all delivering authentic, consistent high-quality results.
Mr van den Bergh’s next mission was to create a retail range that inspired every-day consumers to make and enjoy their own restaurant quality authentic Italian pizza in the comfort of their own home, whilst providing a “wow factor”.
“All the hard-work has been done, so in four easy steps you have the most beautifully authentic pizza, and so many people tell me that “It’s like enjoying a slice of heaven in Italy”.
“You simply bring the dough to room temperature, get hands-on and stretch it out before topping with your favourite ingredients, be it the humble Margherita or brave creations including octopus and anchovies.
“When we make something, we do it properly and to the very best of our ability, it’s really satisfying and brings me a lot of joy knowing that cooking pizza at home, brings people together,” he told The Cultivator.
Today with more than 1,000 retail outlets including independent retailers such as IGA, Costco, and Woolworths, Sugu tu is the nation’s leading retail pizza dough manufacturer, producing their pizza dough crafted with Manildra Group’s high-protein 100 per cent Australian wheat flour and slow fermented creating the exceptional taste and texture.
If you ask Mr van den Bergh, he’ll tell you that the brain behind Sugu tu is his wife, children, family, and dedicated team of 40 employees striving for “perfection”. Together they are able to produce more than 20,000 balls of doughy pizza goodness every hour at their manufacturing site in Mansfield, Brisbane, Queensland – a nostalgic move home to the very factory where van den Bergh’s Continental Bakeries operated decades ago.
“There is an enormous sense of pride in owning your own family business. For centuries now my family has been in the baking industry, creating a real sense of heritage and tradition. I know how proud my father would be today of Sugu tu, in particular that we are still maintaining 100 per cent family ownership and working with my kids. It truly brings more meaning to what I do every day, we are committed to seeing its success and our family legacy continue to grow,” he said.
Mr van den Bergh has a clear vision regarding the way Italian food should be made and enjoyed, with “Sugo” meaning ‘sauce’ in Italian and “tu” translating to ‘you’.
“When your name is Sugo, you’d better be good at making sauce! We spent years perfecting
the recipe and it’s made with the ripest Italian tomatoes, producing an intense sun ripened rich flavour, with fresh garlic, olive oil and basil. “People say our sugo is drinkable,” he chuckled.
“It tastes just like “nonna used to make” with our enticing, mouth-watering tomato sauce forming the base of many classic Italian dishes.”
With a strict discipline for quality and authenticity, Sugu tu only uses “top quality ingredients” including Manildra Group’s premium Australian-grown and made flour, durum semolina, vital wheat gluten, oil, modified protein, sugar, and starch in their authentic Italian inspired range.
“I love supporting Australian-made, grown, and owned products – with everything staying in Australia. Consistent quality is integral to our business and product range, so buying from Manildra Group supports our drive for “perfection”, Mr van den Bergh told The Cultivator.
“For us, buying from a like-minded Australian family-businesses such as Manildra Group improves our business relations and there is always a good understanding,” he said.
With a gelato range of beautiful uniquely-Italian flavours from crème Brulé to chocolate, Sugu tu is currently also working on dessert pizza doughs, topped pizza options for pizza franchises, expanding their pizza paddle flavours, launching a gin brand and brewing their own beer.
Manildra Group Queensland Sales Manager, Cameron Mackay, said that Sugu tu’s unwavering commitment to produce the highest-quality products whilst maintaining authenticity was shared by the two family-owned Australian businesses.
“Rob is the real deal. His tenacity and drive is remarkable, delivering an irresistible range of perfect authentic Italian favourites from beautiful pasta, to decadent gelato and of course pizza “fit for a Roman”, he said.