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CHICAGO -- Pizza sells, but according to a new study it is not enough to just add the consumer food favorite to the menu. Variety, as they say, is the spice of life.
According to Chicago-based Technomic Inc., consumers eat pizza 3.4 times a month. Expanded retail options and the growth of the trendy fast-casual pizza segment are now offering consumers more opportunity to get pizza, but what they really crave is more toppings and a wider assortment of offerings -- including pizza by the slice and portable pizza snacks for on-the-go eating.
"Consumers are setting new standards for the quality and variety they expect," said Darren Tristano, executive vice president of Technomic. "The fast-casual pizza segment is succeeding because it's matching customers' needs for quality, freshness and the ability to choose from among a broader selection of ingredients."
Pizza operators can stay competitive -- and steal market share –- by promoting freshness and customization opportunities, while giving consumers a more interesting range of toppings, crusts and other options that emphasize variety, Tristano noted.
Other findings in Technomic's updated Pizza Consumer Trend Report include:
- Fast casual is driving the evolution of the pizza landscape: 55 percent of consumers purchase fast-casual pizza at least once a month
- Diners want more variety: 74 percent, up from 70 percent in 2012, say a wide variety of toppings is important in creating a good pizza
- Quality and freshness are crucial: 43 percent of consumers visit their preferred pizza concept because it uses fresh, high-quality ingredients and 84 percent say fresh toppings are important.
Technomic's Pizza Consumer Trend Report provides comprehensive research in five sections: menu insights, consumer insights, competitive insights, outlook on trends to watch, and profiles of 10 trend-setting foodservice brands.