Pizza vending machine garners top readership in 2012

Every now and then a story will emerge that blows the doors off of normal readership expectations and generates a buzz for measure. This year, PizzaMarketplace experienced such an occurrence in June when an article was published about the Let's Pizza vending machine.

The company that distributes these machines — A1 Concepts, based out of the Netherlands — announced plans to add a U.S. headquarters and expand the concept in heavy-traffic areas, such as amusement parks. PizzaMarketplace's Q&A with A1 Concepts' CEO Ronald Rammers about the machine's debut in the U.S., where pizza competition is certainly not lacking, was this year's most read story ... By far.

The other most popular stories of 2012 include:

No. 2. Little Caesars' new marketing campaign bets on reverse psychology

In the summer, Little Ceasers introduced a new marketing campaign asking customers not to call the chain to order a pizza. The attempt at reverse psychology encouraged guests to choose carry out instead for its $5 Hot-N-Ready pizza.

No. 3. Papa John's fans bet on 'heads' for Super Bowl coin toss

and No. 6. Papa John's pizza giveaway depends on Super Bowl coin toss

Papa John's leveraged its NFL partnership to host an aggressive giveaway promotion surrounding Super Bowl XLVI's game-opening coin toss. Papa John's recruited Super Bowl champions Peyton Manning and Jerome "The Bus" Bettis to spread the word about the coin toss vote.

No. 4. Papa John's boycott threatened over CEO's Obamacare comments

Although Papa John's made good on its Super Bowl giveaway, the company's reputation took a bit of a hit after CEO/founder John Schnatter assured shareholders that any extra Obamacare costs would be passed along to consumers instead of them — to the tune of about 11 to 14 cents per pizza. A social media firestorm erupted, including promises of boycotts.

No. 5. NFCA suspends gluten-free designation after Domino's backlash

After Domino's Pizza announced its launch of a gluten-free pizza crust in early May, many of those with celiac disease raised a red flag. Domino's product was developed in partnership with the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness and was given an "Amber Designation" as part of the NFCA's tiered credentialing system introduced in April. Amber signifies that the new crust is appropriate for those with mild gluten sensitivity; however, it is not recommended for those with celiac disease. Domino's and the NFCA found that while the crust is certified as gluten free, current store operations at Domino's cannot guarantee that each handcrafted pizza will be completely free from gluten. After a bit of a backlash, the NFCA released a statement saying it is reconsidering the tiered designation program, and suspending use of the "Amber" label.

No. 7. Papa John's turns in strong domestic and international Q2

The interest in Papa John's is strong, as evidenced by its fourth story in the top 10 from 2012 — one that focuses on its second quarter financial performance and its international momentum.

No. 8. Pizza trends of 2012 (so far)

PizzaMarketplace took a mid-year look at some of the biggest culinary trends to emerge in 2012, including chicken toppings, spicy flavors, snack-sized items and artisan crusts.

No. 9. Facebook post inspires Pizza Hut perfume

Pizza Hut certainly has a creative marketing department and in December, its Canadian team introduced a new fragrance with "notes of baked, hand-tossed dough." The launch was inspired by a Facebook post, with Pizza Hut Canada asking its fans how much they loved the smell of a box of Pizza Hut pizza being opened.

No. 10. Survey: U.S. pizza market tops $40 billion

Back to business — in August, a Packaged Facts survey was released showing that 97 percent of U.S. adults eat pizza. Also according to the report, sales at pizza restaurants were predicted to reach $36.1 billion in 2012, up 3.8 percent from 2011. At retail, U.S. frozen and refrigerated pizza will register sales of $4.91 billion.

What do you think were this year's interesting or noteworthy stories from PizzaMarketplace? Sound off in the comments below!

Read more about trends and statistics.

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