The Friday night pizza dinner is a staple of American culture, and this love for the product has helped propel the industry over the last century. In honor of National Pizza Day, The Food Institute took a deep dive into the state of pizza to see how it may fare in 2023.
Operators Adjust Heading into 2023
According to Pizza Today’s 2023 State of the Pizzeria Industry Report, most operators were positive or neutral regarding sales in the coming year: 20.4% believed gross annual sales would be flat in the next 12 months; 17.5% believed sales would increase between 5% and 9%; and 16.2% believed sales would increase between 1% and 4% during the next year.
Meanwhile, 10.6% expected a 10% to 15% boom. Only 22.2% believed they would generate fewer sales in 2023 when compared to 2022.
About 92.5% said they would increase prices this year to offset higher costs of goods sold. When this was taken into account, only one-third of respondents predicted an increase in total profits in 2023.
Today’s Pizza Consumer
Technomic’s 2022 Technomic Pizza Consumer Trend Report provided insight into the state of the modern pizza consumer. Sixty-five percent of consumers said that their pizza consumption would remain the same in 2023 while 18% said it would increase slightly.
Respondents also prefer to build their own pizzas only 36% of the time. Thirty-three percent preferred heavy cheese coverage.
Americans also seem fixated on pizza as a dinner meal, although 28% said they were likely to order dessert pizzas while 24% said they would order a breakfast pizza.
Of note, 42% find an online ordering system where they can track their pizza to be an appealing option, while 38% want curbside pickup availability and 23% want to order pizza from their smart TV. Nineteen percent would order pizza via a QR code. This plays into the 39% who said they are ordering takeout or delivery more often than they were pre-pandemic.
New York Style Reigns Supreme
In the report, Pizza Today found that New York-style pizza was the most popular across the nation’s menus. This continued a trend that first began with the first licensed pizzeria to open in the U.S., Lombari’s, which first opened its doors in 1905.
The report noted the Chicago thin is a surprise on the top five list of styles offered in American pizzerias. Additoinally, the Detroit, Deep Dish, and Sicilian varieties are rising in popularity across the nation.
Supermarket Pizza Has its Moment
At the supermarket, frozen pizza is also busting out of refrigerators and into ovens at home. Despite a 2.6% decrease in total sales for the frozen pizza category in the 52 weeks ending Jan. 29, dollar sales were up 10.7% to about $6.6 billion, according to Food Institute analysis of IRI data.
The category was largely driven by sales of frozen pizzas. However, there was a 66.5% increase in frozen pizza kits and toppings during the period. With a potential recession looming, it makes sense that some consumers desire to enjoy their favorite meal at a discounted price.
What’s more, prepared deli pizza was also shining at the supermarket. Dollar sales were up 15.5% to about $785.3 million during the period while unit sales increased 7.2%.
Editor’s Note: Additional reporting for this article was completed by Food Institute business writer Grace Garwood.