Delivering the right order
Flavors can range from traditional to bold and spicy, but food manufacturers must also make pizzas that fit into today’s modern eating habits. Pizza, once considered a celebratory meal among large groups, continues to evolve as a single-serve, on-the-go option.
One of the biggest appeals of pizza is its convenience. Whether purchased at a restaurant, ordered for delivery or baked at home, pizza offers a quick, filling meal.
Adding to the convenience factor is the ability to store several frozen pizzas in a home freezer to bring out and bake as needed throughout the week. Frozen pizza has this advantage over quick-service or limited-service restaurant channels. Mintel’s 2016 study showed that four in 10 people keep their freezer stocked with frozen pizza.
While weeknight dinner is the most common pizza-eating occasion in all age groups, consumers aged 18-34 are considerably more likely than older adults to cite a wide range of other occasions, including weekend dinners, lunch and snacking, according to Mintel. Snacking in particular is an opportunity to drive pizza usage among younger adults who are more likely to incorporate snacking into their everyday meal routines. According to Mintel data, 18 to 34-year-old consumers are 11% more likely to eat pizza as a snack and 16% more likely to consume it alone or for lunch.
Ms. Battistoni said the trend toward more Americans eating alone is prompting some serious questions of the pizza industry.
“When you think about a product or a meal like pizza, it’s very much a celebratory meal option,” Ms. Battistoni said. “So when people are having parties or they’re inviting guests over, pizza tends to be a solution of choice. As we think about trends toward smaller portions, the way consumers are spreading out meals and the fact that a lot of younger consumers are eating alone, we need to think of ways to position pizza to fit evolving consumer needs in addition to celebration occasions in large groups.”
Catering to individuals can open a lot of opportunities for customization, Ms. Battistoni added, not only in ingredients but also in packaging for on-the-go lifestyles.
Examples of smaller servings include DiGiorno’s Artisan Style Melts, made on focaccia bread, and DiGiorno’s snackable Pizza Bun, both of which hit stores in early 2017. The Artisan Style Melts are intentionally created to eat any time without leaving the consumer feeling too full. Pizza Buns are a snack option baked golden brown on the outside and soft and airy on the inside and stuffed with ingredients like Italian sausage, pepperoni and mozzarella cheese.
“We are very conscious of consumers’ evolving eating habits and offer a variety of products to meet different occasions throughout the day, ranging from small, medium and large pizzas, to single-serve options,” Mr. Brody said.
Meanwhile, Red Baron offers Deep Dish Pizza Singles, French Bread Pizzas and Deep Dish Minis to cater to different occasions as snacks, appetizers or meals.
An uptick in growth during the past two years is an indication that the retail pizza category is making the right moves by enhancing product quality and introducing a wider range of new premium varieties. The opportunity exists for pizza marketers and retailers to accelerate the category expansion even more by introducing creative new flavors and combinations that can break shoppers out of their routines and capture new use occasions.