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    Tightened Wallets Making Pizza a Weekend Treat: Study

    Foodservice consulting firm Technomic says the forgoing of weekday pizza indicates consumers are also cooking more meals at home instead.

    In what appears to be another sign that consumers are trimming back on restaurant spending, foodservice consultants Technomic found that consumers have shifted their pizza-ordering habits, cutting back on weekdays and reserving pizza eating as a weekend choice.

    This is a quite recent shift in pizza buying habits. In 2006, Technomic research showed 35 percent of consumers would primarily order pizza for dinner during the week; and just over a quarter typically ordered pizza for dinner during the weekend. Today's consumers, however, report that they order pizza for dinner on the weekend (32 percent) slightly more than they do during the week (29 percent).

    "We believe that increasing consumption of pizza on weekends over weekdays is likely tied to consumers' desire for more economical options," noted Darren Tristano, e.v.p., Technomic Information Services. "Instead of going out for a sit-down meal during the weekend and ordering pizza for dinner during the week, consumers are scaling back by having an affordable pizza meal on the weekend and preparing more weekday meals at home."

    Technomic's new Pizza Consumer Trend Report also revealed that when eating pizza, health and wellness is a concern for 69 percent of consumers; yet half these consumers do not let their concerns influence their consumption behavior. To appeal to those truly interested in healthier alternatives, pizza operators must not sacrifice taste, focusing instead upon ingredients that carry a health halo, such as those which are coined as all-natural, fresh, and artisan, said Technomic.

    Also, frozen pizza has become increasingly competitive with foodservice pizza, both in terms of overall quality and in providing an affordable pizza option. Foodservice pizza producers need to focus marketing efforts on what differentiates their products from retail options, and why they provide an overall better value, claimed Technomic.

    Consumer preferences, particularly for pizza crust and sauce, vary regionally and ethnically. For example, sweet sauces are favored by more consumers in the Northeast (25 percent) than among Southern (18 percent), Midwestern (17 percent), and Western (13 percent) consumers. Also, pesto-flavored sauce was preferred by 14 percent of all consumers; Asians, however, chose pesto more than any other ethnic group (24 percent).

    For more information, visit www.foodpubs.com.

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