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In a recent study from foodservice industry consultant Technomic, 62 percent of consumers polled say their most recent away-from-home pizza purchase was driven by a craving, followed most closely by 25 percent reporting it was more convenient than cooking. About one-fifth said price, coupons, and promotions influenced the decision.
The findings are part of Technomic’s “Pizza Consumer Trend Report” designed to help operators and manufacturers better understand the changing pizza landscape and capitalize on growth opportunities. Some other tasty findings:
- The vast majority of consumers (93 percent) eat pizza at least once a month, and the average consumer eats pizza at least three times per month.
- Consumers indicate they have been trading down on pizza by cutting back on restaurant purchases.
- More consumers today are buying frozen pizza than were buying it in 2008 (81 percent compared to 74 percent).
- The quality perception of frozen pizza has improved. Today, 30 percent of consumers think that frozen pizza is equal to or better than restaurant pizza in terms of quality, as compared to 15 percent two years ago.
- Close to one-fifth of consumers (17 percent) say that new items influence where they buy pizza, highest among those aged 18-14 years (22 percent).
- Two out of five consumers (41 percent) say they would like pizza establishments to offer healthier ingredients, examples being whole wheat crusts (42 percent), organic toppings and crusts (30 and 28 percent, respectively), and all-natural and locally-sourced ingredients (50 and 38 percent).
- Limited-service pizza chains are differentiating themselves from local independents by featuring specialty and signature pizzas.
“Operators and suppliers will want to consider what they can do to elicit consumer cravings through adding new items to their menus and emphasizing them through their marketing message,” says Darren Tristano, EVP at Technomic. “Differentiation through pizzas that feature unique flavors and taste combinations that consumers cannot purchase elsewhere or make at home will likely help support this effort. Positioning pizza as a meal solution that is easy, convenient, and affordable will resonate with many consumers.”
Some trends, venues, and retail brands examined in the report include:
- Streamlined digital ordering: Papa John’s desktop widgets, Pizza Hut’s iHut smart phone application
- Innovative specialty toppings: ZPizza, Pizza Fusion, Extreme Pizza
- Expanded offerings in limited-service pizza chains: Pizza Hut’s Tuscani pasta, Domino’s oven-baked sandwiches
- All-natural ingredients in retail and restaurants: Amy’s Kitchen, Newman’s Own, Pizza Fusion
- Higher quality frozen pizza: California Pizza Kitchen, DiGorno’s
To purchase or learn more about “Pizza Consumer Trend Report,” visit www.technomic.com.