It’s all-change in the world of pizza!


Perhaps it’s not entirely surprising, but the predicted growth in sales of pizza is a great barometer of the revolution we’re experiencing in the what’s, when’s and where’s of our evolving eating habits.

We live in rapidly changing times, demanding more in terms of choice and convenience, eating when we want, not when convention dictates, and adopting lifestyles that are forcing the food manufacturing and food service industries into constantly thinking on their feet.

So, what are the key changes we need to respond to? Here we take a brief look at the trends that are already impacting, and those that are set to shape the future.

Who doesn’t love pizza?

It’s safe to say pizza is up there as one of the world’s favourite foods, and would probably retain this position even if other factors weren’t coming to bear.

Currently, the global market for pizza is estimated to be heading towards £130Bn and showing every sign of getting bigger…and bigger.

Here in the UK, that same trend is reflected as we top the world’s ‘per capita consumption of pizza’ table. Yes…we tuck into more pizza per person than anywhere else in the world, despite having fewer pizza takeaway and delivery options than similar markets like the US, Australia and New Zealand.

Cue one of the biggest growth opportunities for the UK market.

Delivering a better return

The extraordinary rise of apps like Just Eat and Hungry House, and delivery specialists like Deliveroo and Uber Eats, is a sign of things to come.

While we love to eat out – pizza is the No.1 item consumed at lunch – we also love to eat ‘in’, especially when someone else does all the work and delivers to our door. Whether it’s at home, to the office, or even to a station platform (as one top DJ famously arranged as his train made a scheduled stop), we now expect convenience. It’s no longer a luxury. It’s an essential.

In fact it’s anticipated that delivery will be the single biggest driver in increased pizza consumption, helped by millennials who are the heaviest users of pizza takeaway and delivery services, and ordering with even greater frequency.

Food-to-go goes from strength to strength

It’s not just the dining out and ‘in’ markets that are booming. Eating on the move is on the up too, fuelled by longer working hours, longer commutes and a general ‘blurring’ of the day-parts, all of which encourage us to grab a meal or a snack wherever we can…with pizza by the slice or in a hand-held format fitting the bill to perfection.

Even the traditional retail market is benefitting from this ready-food phenomenon. With a third of us deciding what to eat for dinner late in the afternoon, the convenience of picking up pizza at the supermarket is an easy solution.

But what about the pizza itself? Well, our tastes are changing almost as fast as our need for more…but faster!

Healthy, wealthy and wise

All our favourite toppings are still there, whether the pizza is chilled, frozen or already cooked for us. But new ones are rapidly coming to the fore.

Exotic and spicy flavours are in demand. High quality, fresh ingredients offer added value. Vegetarians and flexitarians are looking for meat-free flavour. Even the bases are changing to meet our new requirements, with gluten-free and cauliflower proving popular, along with spelt and rye sourdough.

And let’s not forget the most important ingredient of almost every pizza…cheese.

No longer just Mozzarella or Cheddar, we’re now enjoying Monterey Jack, Colby, Provolone and Fontal. All of which is music to the ears of Richard Thorpe, Head of Marketing & Insights at food ingredients giant, Ornua Ingredients UK.

“These are exciting times for the pizza industry…and for dairy producers like us. Where once it was all about the classic Mozzarella topping, we’re now working with our clients to develop all manner of customised cheese toppings…whether it’s IQF portion control, specific melt characteristics, new flavours…even specialist bechamel sauces.”

So that’s just a little taste of what’s to come. But there is one last thing…

Don’t overlook visual appeal. In our Instagram world, a stunning pic of a pizza…opened by millions of users…could be your best marketing tool – ever!


This article first appeared in Pizza & Pasta Magazine, February 2018


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