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Technomic Pizza Consumer Trend Report -Market Drivers

What is driving the market and tips for foodpreneurs


Zpizza Berkely Vegan Pie, an upscale QSR pizza restaurant

Zpizza Berkely Vegan Pie, an upscale QSR pizza restaurant


In part 1 of the Technomic Pizza Consumer Trend Report we looked at Fast Casual and Upscale QSR Pizza providing market leadership in innovative new offerings. Although pizza is consumed by approximately 50% of the public weekly, pizza operators are looking to expand their menus AND increase the average ticket with desserts and sandwiches.

Technomic's Executive Vice President Darren Tristano pulled out some really great nuggets of information from their new Pizza Consumer Trend Report pointed out the most innovative pizza operators:

  • Pie Five Pizza which is focusing on custom pizza produced quickly for an individual consumer in less than 5 minutes
  • ZPizza serving gourmet and specialty offerings like Gluten Free and Vegan
  • Home Made Pizza Company and Poppa Murphy's garnering their share of "the pie" in the new take and bake pizza segment

Market Drivers in the Pizza Segment

Here are top line trends from the Technomic Pizza Consumer Trend Report:

  • Combo-meat varieties and calzone-style stuffed pizzas stand out as growth areas at LSRs (QSR). At FSRs, there has been slight growth in the number of veggie/garden and combo-meat pizzas.
  • Chicken's adaptability contributes to its widespread use as the top listed protein topping in the full-service segment and third most-frequently listed protein in limited-service, largely due to barbeque and Buffalo chicken varieties.
  • The latest menu trends call for authenticity, from Neapolitan, Sicilian and other regional Italian interpretations, to depth-of-flavor preparations, such as hearth-baked, wood-fired, coal and brick-oven cooking.
  • 37 percent of respondents order pizza from non-pizza limited-service and fast-casual restaurant locations once a month, signaling room for growth for these concepts and a potential threat for LSR pizza chains.
  • Is there a non-pizza chain that is capturing more of this?
  • 49 percent of consumers are purchasing pizza from a grocery store once a month, making it the second leading foodservice source for pizza, surpassed only by LSR pizza restaurants (71 percent).
  • Are they purchasing more volume.. more dollars… more occasions?
  • All foodservice pizza purchases have increased over the past two years, but carryout and dine-in pizza occasions have increased the most; 68 percent of consumers now order carryout pizza once a month or more, followed by 45 percent who say they order pizza for dine-in.
  • Does this mean Dominos, who delivers, is not capturing the growth or do you see them repositioning the brand?

How Can You Use This for Your Food Brand?

Technomic first wanted to understand pizza consumption, finding out how often and why consumers choose different types of pizza. The indentified 3 target market segments:

  • Pizza for dine-in, carryout and delivery
  • Take-and-bake pizza from restaurants and retail stores
  • Retail frozen pizza and pizza components

They wanted to know how price, quality, uniqueness, health and other factors impact the consumer decision process in pizza. More specifically their process identifies consumers' preferred specialty pizzas and types of crust, sauce, cheese, protein and other toppings. Finally the created the "competitive set" in both retail grocery and the QSR, Fast Casual and Full Service Restaurants.

3 Tips for Foodpreneurs

OK, so need to know how to use this since your brand is not pizza? OK, Let's break this down into 3 steps

  1. Understand consumption. Many retail foods are consumed during different meal occasions, times, quantities, etc. The fancy marketing terms here are Usage Situation and Usage Rate. In other words when is it being used (situation) and how often is it being consumed (rate). If you know this, you are starting down the road of effectively positioning your brand to the right customer, at the right place, at the right time and at the right price.
  2. What attributes are most important to the consumer. Great taste is not ALWAYS the only attribute. Pie Five has a focus on pizza ready in under 5 minutes.
  3. Who are you competing with, or as we say the competitive set? Don't say you have no competition! And just because a consumer buys your brand does not mean they buy it for every meal occasion.

Learning from other industries and market segments is critical to success in the food business. Don't be myopic (narrow-minded) and only focus in your niche segment. Just look at artisan… once the enclave of struggling foodpreneur, truly in the know about their food and many times local brands. Dominos Artisan Pizza's are just one example and the brands Darren pointed out are generally in that artisan category … they are seeing the market opportunity from the consumer demanding newer and personalized foods.

Better yet, let's stop writing and reading go get an upscale artisan pizza!

About Technomic

Technomic provides clients with the facts, insights and consulting support they need to enhance their business strategies, decisions and results. Its services include numerous publications and digital products, as well as proprietary studies and ongoing research on all aspects of the food industry.

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