Pizza is a hot restaurant concept around the world, according to Euromonitor International, which reported that it's gaining in popularity in not only traditional pizza markets but also in areas where it has usually been considered exotic, if not a little weird. Here are some of the main takeaways from the latest report, authored by Euromonitor Consumer Foodservice Associate Stephen Dutton:
- The top three global pizza chains have almost 20 percent of the total market by value.
Papa John's, Domino's and Pizza Hut thrive globally via high-dollar features that the smaller players cannot afford. Domino's, for example, has a heavy investment in technology and delivery in places like India, where the chain is making its red-white-and-blue pizza boxes as commonplace as colorful saris and pampered cows.
"Domino’s, for example, is doing much to influence the development of HDTA (Home Delivery/Takeaway) channels in India as a first-mover in food service delivery in that market," according to the Euromonitor report on the subject. "Domino’s is inspiring a culture of digital convenience, mobile ordering and effective delivery, and the company is in the early stages of repeating this process in Brazil, another large market with huge potential for growth."
- More developed, "First World" markets demand special treatment and ingredients.
In places like the U.S. and United Kingdom, where there are pizza places on every corner, there is an enormous shift in the sector toward the fast casual business model to accommodate millenials' growing demands for "unique, more personal experiences" as well as more customization options and gourmet offerings, according to the report.
- Non-traditional pizza markets in the developed world and pizza restaurants that focus on local food "loves" are winning.
In non-traditional pizza markets, such as Mexico and South Korea, it is more about the pizza than the format, and domestic pizza operators are having success by adopting local ingredients and developing specialty combinations that incorporate local cuisine, according to the research report.
So, in South Korea, the fastest-growing pizza chain, Pizza Alvolo, uses a local favorite — black rice — in its purple-tinged pizza dough with favorite Korean ingredients as toppings, including sweet potato and bulgogi, a grilled beef that's marinated for hours in soy sauce, sesame oil, black pepper, garlic, onions, ginger and sugar.
The U.S, on the other hand, is welcoming a flood of new build-your-own fast casual chains, including MOD and Blaze, according to the report. The research also found that chains and independents in the U.S. strive to make very personal connections with customers in a number of ways, including one company, &Pizza, which gave away free pizza for fans, who tattooed the restaurant's ampersand (&) symbol somewhere on their bodies.
- UK customers cherish pizza chains but are learning to like the offbeat and independent.
Although pizza chains in the UK made up 87 percent of the market by value in 2015, the research revealed that other concepts, like Base+Barley and Franco Manca, are giving the big chains a run for their money. Franco Manca was particularly pointed out in the report for its sourdough base, brick oven-baking and array of exclusive beverages that are stealing the heart of British millennials.
- Thriving pizza brands think locally to expand globally.
"In developed markets ... emerging concepts compete by offering services that the largest chains can’t necessarily provide, with new formats and pizza offerings that tap into local trends and provide consumers with a more novel experience," according to the report.
Award-winning veteran print and broadcast journalist, Shelly Whitehead, has spent most of the last 30 years reporting for TV and newspapers, including the former Kentucky and Cincinnati Post and a number of network news affiliates nationally. She brings her cumulative experience as a multimedia storyteller and video producer to the web-based pages of Pizzamarketplace.com and QSRweb.com after a lifelong “love affair” with reporting the stories behind the businesses that make our world go ‘round. Ms. Whitehead is driven to find and share news of the many professional passions people take to work with them every day in the pizza and quick-service restaurant industry. She is particularly interested in the growing role of sustainable agriculture and nutrition in food service worldwide and is always ready to move on great story ideas and news tips.