Americans’ appetite for pizza has reached eye-opening proportions.
Consider: A survey by Caulipower Pizza indicated 98% of Americans eat pizza. Meanwhile, a recent poll produced by talker.news revealed 74% of Americans would be satisfied eating pizza for any meal of the day.
“People love pizza. It’s that simple,” said Jim Metevier, the CEO of Mountain Mike’s Pizza.
“Pizza is completely customizable to individual flavor preferences. … It’s quick, delicious, and portable,” Metevier told The Food Institute.
Trendincite recently noted that the frozen pizza category increased by 10.7% from the past year, reaching sales of $6.83 billion. And numerous pizza innovations have been unveiled in recent months, apparent in grocers’ freezers and at chain restaurants.
The new year promises more unique products as R&D teams consider every pizza concept imaginable.
“I think we’ll see innovations around crusts – stuffed, flavored, etcetera – that will grow in popularity, and we’ll see artisan takes on pizza becoming an even larger part of the frozen pizza segment,” Metevier said.
The Latest Innovations Offer Flavor & Value
MOD Pizza recently added a “folded” Pocket Pie to its menu. In a similar spirit, Conagra has introduced three new Banquet MEGA Crustless Pizzas.
Meanwhile, Cynthia Ottavio, director of menu innovation at Donatos, said “In 2024 we believe the ‘sweet heat’ trend will gain even more popularity. Food trends have become even more widespread thanks to short-form videos on social media, and hot honey is no exception.
“Sweet heat, or the blend of spicy and sweet, is ideal for pizza because it gives an extra kick to each bite but isn’t overwhelming,” Ottavio told FI.
Brands are also developing new pies with distinct crusts. California Pizza Kitchen has added Croissant Inspired Thin Crust Pizzas with flaky layers, according to Trendincite.
Because pizza can be a labor-intensive product, the food industry is increasingly turning to robotics to provide solutions. Donatos, for example, is testing automated machines that distribute sauce and toppings on pizzas in addition to a slicing machine that cuts pies.
Additionally, DiGiorno is testing Pizza Kiosks at locations like Walmart in Colorado. The kiosks are essentially large vending machines with an oven and premade, 10-inch pizzas that take roughly three minutes to prepare, Trendincite explained.
In a period of inflation, businesses must be mindful of consumers’ economic concerns, too.
“I believe 2024 will see consumers continue to face economic uncertainty and look to stretch financial resources as far as they can,” Metevier said. “As a result, we’ll see a focus on bundling and building value.”
Consumer Pizza Preferences
The aforementioned talker.news poll revealed that more Americans prefer frozen, ready-to-bake-at-home pizza (30%) than they do eating fresh pizza in a restaurant (26%) or delivery pizza (16%).
Furthermore, when it comes to certain styles of pizza, Americans prefer the following:
- Thick crust (32%)
- Pepperoni (51%)
- Topped with mozzarella (59%)
A final, intriguing tidbit from talker’s findings: the average American eats 180 slices of pizza per year – roughly the equivalent of a full-sized suitcase filled to the brim.
The Food Institute Podcast
What does it mean to be omnipresent in the food channel? Daily Harvest founder and CEO Rachel Drori explains how her company aims to meet consumers where they are via direct-to-consumer and retail channels, and how it supports regenerative agriculture across the U.S.