CHICAGONot only is pizza still one of America's favorite foodsit's also trendy. New research from Technomic shows consumers eat pizza more than three times per month, and they want formats to expand beyond traditional pizza options to satisfy their cravings.
In addition to the recent made-to-order pizza trend, portable pizza snacks and pizza by the slice are becoming more popular among consumers, according to Technomic. Pizza lovers also want a wider variety of toppings and high-quality, fresh ingredients. Food product designers crafting frozen and refrigerated pies can respond to consumer demands by offering new pizza snack options, creative pizza formats made with premium ingredients, and an assortment of toppings.
"Consumers are setting new standards for the quality and variety they expect," said Darren Tristano, executive vice president, Technomic, adding the pizza segment is succeeding at retail and fast casual outlets because it's matching customers' needs for quality, freshness and the ability to choose from among a broader selection of ingredients.
Tristano also said that for pizza operators to stay competitive and steal share, they'll have to strengthen the quality perception by promoting freshness and customization opportunities, while giving guests a more interesting range of toppings, crusts and other options that emphasize variety.
While pizza has been a staple in the grocery isle, fast casual is driving the evolution of the pizza landscape: 55% of consumers purchase fast-casual pizza at least once per month. In addition, 74% of consumers said a wide variety of toppings is important in creating a good pizza. Quality and freshness are also crucial: 43% of consumers visit their preferred pizza concept because it uses fresh, high-quality ingredients, and 84% said that fresh toppings are important.