Pizza consumption is high: in fact, consumers told Technomic they eat pizza about 3.4 times a month. In addition to traditional pizza formats, today's expanded retail options and the emergence of the trendy fast-casual pizza segment are giving consumers plenty of ways to satisfy their pizza cravings.

Yet consumers tell us they want to see even more variety on pizza menus. They're calling for more toppings and a wider assortment of offerings—such as pizza by the slice and portable pizza snacks they can eat on the go. Additionally, quality and freshness are factoring more strongly into today's pizza purchasing decisions.

"Consumers are setting new standards for the quality and variety they expect," says Darren Tristano, executive vice president of Technomic, Inc. "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."

Tristano also says that for pizza operators to stay competitive and steal share, they'll have to strengthen the quality perception by promoting freshness and customization opportunities, while giving guests a more interesting range of toppings, crusts and other options that emphasize variety.

To help foodservice executives understand the latest behaviors, preferences and attitudes of consumers regarding pizza, Technomic has published an update of its Pizza Consumer Trend Report. Interesting findings include:

  • Fast casual is driving the evolution of the pizza landscape: 55% of consumers purchase fast-casual pizza at least once a month
  • Diners want more variety: 74%, up from 70% in 2012, say that a wide variety of toppings is important in creating a good pizza
  • Quality and freshness are crucial: 43% of consumers visit their preferred pizza concept because it uses fresh, high-quality ingredients; 84% say that fresh toppings are important

Technomic's Pizza Consumer Trend Report  provides comprehensive research on the latest menu and consumer trends for restaurant and retail pizza.