Pizza consumption remains steady, with 37% of consumers saying they eat pizza at least once a week.* During the COVID-19 pandemic, pizza operators have thrived, largely because their off-premise businesses were already intact, and consumers have been craving comfort fare. Because of their success, pizza operators have been able to maintain and launch diverse offerings, often spotlighting premium toppings and new flavours in a time when so many other operators have had to scale back.
We have seen consumers turn to more indulgent foods throughout the past year, and upscale ingredients can make a familiar favourite such as pizza more decadent. As a result, premium pizza ingredients are on the rise, with pizza classics such as basic cheese and onion getting upgraded in the form of goat cheese and caramelized onion. Premium proteins are also finding their way onto pizzas with increasing frequency, with back bacon being the fastest-growing protein on pizza.
Mediterranean toppings are also seeing a surge, with artichoke hearts and sun-dried tomatoes popping up on pizzas to a greater extent. This could reflect consumers’ increasing desires for global flavours, with 19% of consumers indicating they are more interested in trying pizza with global toppings or ingredients than they were two years ago.** Both items are also more premium than your standard pizza fare, showcasing the upmarket potential of the classic food.
Source: Technomic Ignite menu data, Q4 2019-Q4 2020
*Base: 1,884 consumers
**Base: 895 consumers
Source: Technomic 2020 Canadian Pizza Consumer Trend Report