Pizza Palates Changing

Fast Facts About Pizza

• Americans eat approximately 100 acres of pizza each day, or about 350 slices per second.
• Pizza is a $30 billion per year industry. There are approximately 69,000 pizzerias in the U.S. Approximately three billion pizzas are sold in the U.S. each year. (Source: Blumenfeld and Associates)
• Pizzerias represent 17% of all restaurants. (Source: Food
Industry News)
• Pizza accounts for more that 10% of all foodservice sales. (Source: Food Industry News)
• 93% of Americans eat at least one pizza per month.
(Source: Blumenfeld and Associates)
• Each man, woman and child in America eats and average of 46 slices, (23 pounds), of pizza per year. (Source: Packaged Facts
• Italian food ranks as the most popular ethnic food in America. (Source: National Restaurant Association)
• According to a recent Gallup Poll, children between the ages of 3-11 prefer pizza over all other food groups for lunch and dinner.
• Pepperoni is by far America’s favorite topping, (36% of all pizza orders). Approximately 251.7 million pounds of pepperoni are consumed on pizzas annually. Other popular pizza toppings are mushrooms, extra cheese, sausage, green pepper and onions. 

A recent Consumer Trend Report from Technomic showed that while 69% of pizza-eating consumers are concerned about health and wellness, they don’t let those concerns stop them from eating pizza.

However, the report also noted that regional and ethnic consumer preferences, particularly for pizza crust and sauce, do vary. For example, sweet sauces are favored by more consumers in the Northeast (25%) than among Southern (18%), Midwestern (17%) and Western (13%) consumers. Also, pesto-flavored sauce was preferred by 14% of all consumers; Asians, however, chose pesto more than any other ethnic group (24%).

Though pizza remains an American staple, consumer preferences for how it’s presented and what it’s called are also changing, according to Rutter’s Farm Stores’ vice president Jerry Weiner. “We’re getting out of pizza,” Weiner said. “We used to have it in nine of our stores, but we’re only offering it in three of those now.”

Pizza may be out at Rutter’s, but the store’s signature fresh-made stromboli is definitely still in—and since stromboli is much like a rolled up slice of pizza, maybe pizza is still in. “The boli fit into our new program, which features stir fry and fresh-baked breads and lots of side dishes,” Weiner explained. “The pizza didn’t.”

Though pizza sales slowed in recent months due to extreme regional economic downward movement, they appear to be picking up again now, said Sandy Arrasmith, operations manager for J & H Oil Co., the Wyoming, Mich.-based operator of 43 convenience stores.

To help keep pizza sales strong, Arrasmith decided to partner with a national brand. She opted for Piccadilly Pizza. The benefit of the pizza brands that service the convenience store industry, such as Hunt Brothers and Hot Stuff Foods is that they offer proportioned items, which helps simplify the preparation and cooking process.

Arrasmith also noticed that one burgeoning trend in the pizza business over the past few months has been the switch from individual mini pizzas to what she described as a mega-wedge. “It’s a little more cost effective, and the retail is lower as well,” she said. “We felt that converting to a smaller retail package would serve everyone better. Otherwise, we’re sticking to what’s tried and true.”


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