Pizza consumption continues to rise. More than four in 10 (41 percent of) consumers polled say they’re now eating pizza once a week, compared to 26 percent just two years ago.
Pizza consumption has increased over the past two years as leading players revamp menus to include more innovative specialty pizzas, gourmet ingredients, and items beyond pizza that help operators drive traffic.
As increased consumer confidence leads some to trade up within the pizza category, others still feeling the pinch are attracted to the special offers and coupons that chains are rolling out, as well as generally less expensive, yet high quality, take-and-bake and frozen pizza offerings.
“Consumers increasingly view pizza as the go-to food when they don’t feel like cooking,” says Technomic Executive Vice President Darren Tristano. “Operators can emphasize convenience in their marketing message, positioning pizza as an easy, convenient, and affordable meal solution that will appeal to an entire group or family. It's a message that resonates with many customers.”
To help operators and others aligned with the foodservice industry more effectively identify opportunities for growth and gain a competitive advantage, Technomic has developed the Pizza Consumer Trend Report.
Interesting findings include:
- Combo-meat varieties and calzone-style stuffed pizzas stand out as growth areas at limited-service restaurants. At full-service restaurants, there has been slight growth in the number of veggie/garden and combo-meat pizzas.
- Chicken’s adaptability contributes to its widespread use as the top-listed protein topping in the full-service segment and third most-frequently listed protein in limited-service, largely due to barbecue and Buffalo chicken varieties.
- The latest menu trends call for authenticity, from Neapolitan, Sicilian, and other regional Italian interpretations to depth-of-flavor preparations, such as hearth-baked, wood-fired, coal, and brick-oven cooking.
- Thirty-seven percent of respondents order pizza from non-pizza limited-service and fast-casual restaurant locations once a month, signaling room for growth for these concepts and a potential threat for limited-service pizza chains.
- Forty-nine percent of consumers are purchasing pizza from a grocery store once a month, making it the second leading foodservice source for pizza, surpassed only by limited-service pizza restaurants (71 percent).
- All foodservice pizza purchases have increased over the past two years, but carryout and dine-in pizza occasions have increased the most: 68 percent of consumers now order carryout pizza once a month or more, followed by 45 percent who say they order pizza for dine-in.