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As the coronavirus pandemic takes hold around the world, and consumers have little choice but to eat at home, pizza is perhaps one of the meals that many will choose to cook at home. Consumers now have a wide range of pizzas to choose from, from premium authentic Italian style pizzas, to one portion microwaveable pizzas that are ideal as a snack. And whatever dietary requirement someone has, there is now a pizza that will meet their needs.

 

NPD in chilled pizzas performing strongly

One of the first choices that consumers will make when buying pizza is whether to buy a frozen or chilled pizza, although preference and availability of these formats varies around the world. In the US, the majority of pizzas sold are frozen, while in Japan they are chilled. Increasingly, however, companies are launching chilled pizzas, with Innova Market Insights’ product launch data showing that between 2015 and 2019, the number of chilled pizzas launched globally increased by a CAGR of 15.0% versus 5.7% for frozen. Chilled pizzas tap into the premiumization trend, with companies more likely to use premium ingredients and market their products as authentic style, than perhaps many frozen pizzas; although premiumization is also occurring among frozen pizza companies, with the likes of Nestlé launching a new range in December 2019 under its US DiGiorno brand called Artisan Thin Crust.

 

Tried and tested flavors continue to be popular

Once a choice has been made between frozen and chilled, the consumer is then faced with a range of choices including flavor, crust type and any dietary requirements. Despite companies having the ability to add any type of flavor they want via the pizza topping, data show that companies still tend to stick to the most popular tried and tested flavors. Some of the most popular flavors being used in current NPD around the world are meat flavors, including pepperoni, ham, chicken, salami and bacon.

Digiorno Artisan Thin Crust- Butchers Cut Pizza: 4 Meats And Roasted Red Pepper Sauce (US, Dec 2019), Food Italia Pizza Prosciutto (Sweden, Jan 2020), Caulipower Buffalo Style Chicken Pizza (US, Mar 2020).

Non-meat pizzas are becoming more popular amongst product developers, with the simple Margherita pizza rising up the flavor rankings, and vegetable flavors also seeing significant increases. This reflects that some consumers are seeking to reduce their meat consumption, or eliminating meat entirely from their diets.

 

Gluten free goes mainstream in North America

Another diet trend which is impacting the pizza category to some extent and most notably in North America, is the gluten free diet. Globally, 8% of pizzas launched in 2019 made a gluten free claim, but in North America this rose to 25%, with one in four pizzas being gluten free. In North America, it’s predominantly smaller independent companies launching gluten free pizzas (although Nestlé-owned California Pizza Kitchen launched a range of cauliflower base pizzas in 2018). These companies have been very innovative in developing gluten free pizzas, with a move away from gluten free grain based ingredients and instead using vegetables to create a crust. Cauliflower is proving very popular, while broccoli and sweet potato have also been utilized by some innovative companies.

 

Microwaveable pizzas becoming the norm in Asia

In Asia, where the strong growth in pizza sales is a sure sign that Asians are continuing to embrace western style foods, companies are focusing on different consumer needs. In particular the need to be able to microwave a pizza is evident in current NPD, with 42% of pizzas launched in the region being microwaveable. This is driven by two trends: the low penetration of ovens in the region; and snacking, where quick cooking is paramount.

Whatever the future holds for the world and the way food is consumed, the pizza will certainly have a key place in many homes around the world.

 

“Pizza: Global” is a new Category Insider report from Innova Market Insights, which brings together market sizes, company analysis and a review of new product trends and activity to demonstrate just how the picture has been changing and to suggest where the future opportunities can be found.