Retail pizza innovation moving in the right direction

Retail pizza innovation moving in the right direction

The frozen pizza industry has a problem on its hands: in the face of health and “real food” trends, frozen pizza may be suffering from a processed food stereotype. The bottom line is that during 2010-2014, the percentage of households eating frozen pizza in the past 30 days has dropped slightly, while the percentage eating 10+ pizzas per month has dropped 15%. The trend is particularly troubling because it involves demographics that have been core users, such as consumers living in households with an income under $25K and income married households with children with an income under $50K.

But against the backdrop of an improving economy-and signs that the middle class may finally be benefitting from it-this is only half the story. Restaurant pizza chains offering the promise of higher quality increasingly beckon, and pizza delivery and takeout provide very strong ammunition in the form of simplicity and convenience.

The good news is that, in the face of this double-sided attack, industry players are well on their way to addressing the problem. Packaged Facts’ analysis of the 30 highest-growth frozen pizza brands reveals that one-third clearly and predominantly associate themselves with health and wellness. Among the rest, 12 are strongly associated with restaurant chains and/or restaurant quality. That these themes are finding a growing audience suggests that frozen pizza can gain traction by fighting fire with fire. But with price points of so many of these brands so much higher than the average pizza, we remain concerned that those lower- and middle-income core users may remain overlooked. To address this, more value brands need to step into the breach.

This blog is based partially on research featured in Packaged Facts’Pizza Market in the U.S.: Foodservice and Retail, 2nd Edition.  Add this report to your own intelligence library and receive a 5% discount during our promotional period effective through May 30, 2015. Use code PFPIZZA2015.

-- By David Morris