• DiGiorno gets into deep-dish game

CHICAGO -- DiGiorno, the most popular bake-to-rise frozen pizza brand in the U.S., has added its own deep-dish pizza.

In 2002 alone, Pizza Hut and Papa Murphy's Take 'N' Bake chains have added deep dish pizzas, and Papa John's is testing a deep-dish product in multiple markets.

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, DiGiorno is the first national frozen brand to offer a deep-dish pizza. The product is available in three varieties: pepperoni, four cheese and supreme, and sells for a suggested retail price of $7.49.

The Sun-Times writer who reviewed the DiGiorno deep dish pizza said it was not only very good, but good enough to justify "blowing one's diet."

Since its 1995 launch, sales of the DiGiorno brand have skyrocketed to $1 billion -- more than a third of the nearly $3 billion frozen pizza market.

Restaurant industry watchers like Chicago-based Technomic Inc. believe the frozen pizza market is nibbling away at the ready-to-eat pizza market. No less than John Schnatter, founder, CEO and chairman of Louisville, Ky.-based Papa John's International, has stated publicly that frozen pizza sales have had a negative impact on sales at his company.

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