What are consumers consuming? Pizza— and a lot of it. Every week, two out of three Americans eat pizza. In fact, the average consumer purchases pizza away-from-home (at a restaurant, fast food outlet, cafeteria, etc.) five times a month — more than once a week.
What types of pizza are consumers eating, where are they eating it, and what are the barriers that keep them from choosing pizza? Also here’s a comprehensive look at growing pizza trends, from toppings to crusts to rapidly-growing flatbreads.
Americans love meat.
Consumers can’t get enough pepperoni pizza. Pepperoni pizza was the highest rated of the varieties we tested, loved by 47% of consumers. And they are voting with their wallets — among consumers who had eaten a pizza within the past two weeks, 40% chose a pepperoni pizza, with sausage a distant second, chosen by 16% of consumers. But overall meat pizzas are the overwhelming choice for most consumers — meat lovers, supreme and sausage were all top choices, both in pure likability and recent purchases.
Which meat varieties may become the topping favorites of the future? Some of the fastest-growing topping options over the past year are cotto ham, up 61% over last year, pepper bacon and pancetta. Quick-service restaurants are taking inspiration from other trends and dishes, adding pulled proteins like pork or chicken or Philly steak to pizzas, while independents are incorporating unique flavor profiles like confited proteins, reflecting the importance of “premium” toppings in differentiating pizzas.
Thinking outside the pizza box
Crusts are also getting an update, with everything from skinny versions to pretzel crusts providing an on-trend base. In fact, 46% of consumers said that a truly great pizza starts with having a truly great crust. The most popular MegaTrend we tested was also crust-related — 30% of consumers were interested in wood-fired or coal-fired pizzas, speaking to the growing popularity of authentic, Neapolitan-style pizza.
Trendy flatbreads are also shaking up the pizza category, moving the dish into new menu parts and utilizing more unusual ingredients. In just the past few months, major chains have released seasonal flatbread limited-time-offerings like a turkey cranberry flatbread, innovative appetizers like a Fig & Pig Flatbread, and even desserts, like a Sangria Flatbread, topping a brioche flatbread with berry sangria preserves, mascarpone cheese, candied pecans and creamy wine custard sauce.
Flatbreads have markedly different ingredient and flavor profiles. According to the report, premium toppings like beef tenderloin, havarti cheese and tomato aioli are 10 times more common on flatbread pizzas. Generally, high-end proteins, like ahi tuna, filet mignon and duck confit, are far more likely to show up on flatbreads, as are globally-inspired sauces like chimichurri and harissa.
Success at Retail
Regardless of the day part, whether it’s a breakfast pizza or late night snack, most consumers are purchasing ready-to-eat pizzas at restaurants and other away-from-home locations. According to the report, pizza manufacturers still have some barriers to overcome to entice consumers to purchase more retail pizza options, whether they are frozen, take-and-bake, or made-from-scratch/speed-scratch varieties or options. Again, crust was top-of-the-mind for many consumers, who expressed frustration with tough or chewy crusts and microwaved pizzas lacking in crispness. But consumers also said generous toppings, more interesting varieties and coupons/deals would drive more retail purchases.
A changing market
For the pizza market, there are almost certainly more changes ahead, particularly as new, innovative toppings and flavors continue to grow and a wider variety of operators menu flatbreads.
Source: Smartblog.com, 12-1-2014