Pizza is an established food staple that continues to grow in sales volume.
For the year ending November 2018, pizza servings at total foodservice, restaurants and other foodservice outlets were up 1% — or 5.1 billion servings — compared to the year before, according to market research company NPD Group.
Pizza servings rose 6% — 205 million servings — in the c-store channel.
Projected to be a $47.2 billion business in 2019, pizza may be an established food staple, but it continues to grow in sales volume. By 2022, total pizza sales aided by home delivery and takeout sales are anticipated by Euromonitor International to increase to $50 billion.
“Pizza is a ubiquitous food, but if it’s done right it may be a differentiator and drive traffic to stores,” said Barry Friends, a partner at Chicago-based food industry strategic consulting firm Pentallect. “People will go out of their way to get a good pizza.”
Friends noted that one of pizza’s major appeals is that it is a convenient carrier for all manner of ingredients and flavor profiles, lending itself to customization. Friends said more than 50% of consumers prefer to build their own pie creations.
This is especially true when they are ordering on their computers, phones or at in-store kiosks, Friends said, where they mix and match crusts, sauces and toppings.
It’s easy to boost the excitement level of the category with the addition of ingredients the c-store retailer already has in inventory. Friends mentioned a Buffalo mac-and-cheese version and one topped with chicken and hot sauce.
Variety resonates with customers at Reno, Nevada’s Shop ‘n’ Go. In addition to 17-inch pies with traditional toppings, Shop ‘n’ Go offers 12-inch, thin-crust artisan pizzas with such gourmet toppings as prosciutto and goat cheese, said Joe Linscott, the company’s general manager.
While the artisan pizzas get a lot of attention, the regular 17-inchers do a brisk business as well.
“We’re very well known for our pizza,” Linscott said.
Both the regular and artisan pizzas are made to order.
He is anticipating continued growth in the category this year—not just at meal-time, but in between as well.
“We sell pizza all day,” Linscott said. “Some customers just come in for a craft beer or other beverage and pizza anytime during the day.”
Breakfast pizza is a healthy sub-category for the same reasons that the pies are popular all day, Friends added.
“Pizza is a convenient choice anytime because it travels well without getting messy and can be eaten anywhere,” Linscott said. “It’s a logical component of a convenience store foodservice offering.”
With the proliferation of delivery services such as Grubhub and Uber Eats, pizza has become even easier to get from just about any foodservice establishment, Friends pointed out. To win the “who has the best pizza” battle, convenience stores have to produce a high-quality product consistently.
- Pizza may be ubiquitous, but can still be a differentiator.
- Half of U.S consumers like to choose their own pizza creations.