U.S. consumers chose pizza over all other meals due to taste, ease and value according to a new study released by the Chicago-based food industry consulting firm, Technomic.
Technomic found that 62 percent of consumers polled said their most recent away-from-home pizza purchase was driven by a craving, followed by 25 percent of people reporting it was more convenient than cooking at home. Nearly 20% of those surveyed said price, coupons or discount promotions also influenced their pizza purchases. The study is part of Technomic’s larger publication, the Pizza Consumer Trend Report, designed to help operators, suppliers and manufacturers understand pizza industry trends and consumer purchasing decisions and preferences.
Some of the study’s more interesting findings included the fact that most Americans (93 percent) eat pizza at least once a month, with the average consumer eating pizza three times per month. Although one-fifth of consumers aged 18-24 years said that new items influenced where they buy pizza, it seems many American pizza consumers (41 percent) say they would like their pizzerias to offer healthier ingredients, such as whole wheat crusts (42 percent), organic toppings (30 percent) and organic crusts (28 percent), all-natural ingredients (50 percent) and locally-sourced ingredients (38 percent).
The Technomic study also showed that some limited-service pizza chains like Extreme Pizza and Pizza Fusion, are differentiating themselves from local independents with innovative specialty ingredients and the sourcing of all-natural and organic ingredients. Technomic's study also found that more consumers today are buying frozen pizza than in years past because more Americans are associating frozen pizza with high quality, with 30 percent of current respondents indicating they think frozen pizza is equal to or better than restaurant pizza, up from 15 percent just two years earlier.
Darren Tristano, executive vice president of Technomic said “Operators and suppliers will want to consider what they can do to elicit consumer cravings through adding new items to their menus and emphasizing them through their marketing message,” and added “Differentiation through pizzas that feature unique flavors and taste combinations that consumers cannot purchase elsewhere or make at home will likely help support this effort. Positioning pizza as a meal solution that is easy, convenient and affordable will resonate with many consumers.”
Operators who wish to purchase or learn more about the Technomic Pizza Consumer Trend Report should visit www.technomic.com.