Global pizza market remains steady despite consolidation in frozen pizza

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 26th August 2013

 New product activity levels in the pizza market have remained relatively consistent over the past few years, despite ongoing consolidation in the industry, particularly in the US and in the frozen pizza sector, according to market research organisation Innova Market Insights.

The most developed convenience foods markets of North America and Europe dominated launch activity, accounting for over 80 per cent of the total pizza launches recorded globally by Innova Market Insights in the 12 months to the end of June 2013. Innova Market Insights said Western Europe alone accounted for over 40 per cent of the total, reflecting the large number of countries and companies involved. The highly developed US market took over a quarter.


“Authentic” pizzas grow

Recent new product activity focused on areas such as “authentic” and traditional-style pizzas, gourmet ingredients and toppings and “healthier” alternatives, according to Innova Market Insights. It reported that a new style product received particular attention in the US in the first half of 2013: flatbread pizza.

“New products are particularly using upscale flavours,” said Lu Ann Williams, Director of Innovation at Innova Market Insights. “These include Palermo’s ‘Creamy Spinach & Goat Cheese’ and ‘Italian Sausage with Mushroom and Fire-Roasted Onions’ flatbreads, Phillips ‘Chesapeake Crab and Bourbon BBQ Shrimp’ flatbreads and ‘Trader Joe’s Mushroom & Black Truffle’ flatbread,” she said.


Gluten-free options on the rise

Innova Market Insights said the US market had also seen considerable activity in gluten-free options, with 10 per cent of pizza launches in the year to the end of June 2013 featuring “gluten-free” claims. This was compared with a much more modest 4 per cent globally.


“Upmarket” and spicy toppings trend spreads


The other key US trend towards more complex, upmarket and often increasingly spicy toppings was also strongly in evidence in Europe, according to Innova Market Insights. Branded and own-label new product activity in this style continued to grow.

In the UK, Innova Market Insights said retailers play a “significant role in the market”, particularly in chilled pizza. Recent launches have included Asda’s ‘Kickin’ Piri Piri Chicken’, ‘Smokin’ Sensation’, ‘Pep-Me-Up’ and ‘Veggie Chilli Cheezilla’ thin and crispy stone-baked pizzas, as well as Tesco’s ‘Italian Stone-baked Pepperoni and Tomato Chilli Crumb’ and ‘Italian Black Pepper Chicken and Parmesan’ variants.


Thin-based products also grow in Europe

Interest in thin-based products also grew in Europe, according to Innova Market Insights. Activity in France included chilled foods specialist Sodebo’s extension of its range to include five Pizza Style products with thin oval bases and large toppings.


On the other hand, Innova Market Insights’ findings showed that there was also activity in deep pan pizza, with UK frozen pizza market leader Dr Oetker launching into the category for the first time with its Panebello range, already available in some other countries.


‘Organic’ and ‘sustainable’ labelling rising

Notable activity in ‘organic’ and ‘sustainable’ products in Europe was also reported by Innova Market Insights. Lea Natured extended its Jardin Bio ‘organic’ foods range in France into chilled foods for the first time, while in Germany, Fish and More extended its Followfish ‘sustainable fish’ brand with what it claimed was the country’s “first Marine Stewardship Council certified tuna fish pizza”.


“The retail pizza market has benefited more than most from the financial downturn, offering an attractive option in times of increased financial pressure, with consumers able to buy in advance for social nights in, as a cheaper alternative to home-delivery, takeaways and eat-in restaurants,” Ms Williams said.