Report: 4 top pizza industry growth factors

| by S.A. Whitehead
Report: 4 top pizza industry growth factors

Good news came this morning in the form of a new report on the global pizza market for the next three years. Technavio's latest research shows that the market will grow at a CAGR of 3 percent through 2020, according to a news release. 

The research covers the present scenario in the pizza food service industry worldwide and splits the industry into two segments: chain operators with more than 10 global outlets; and independent operators.

The following four factors are contributing to growth of this market globally, according to the report's authors:

1. Growing pizza industry innovation and customization
Customer expectations today are driving the inclusion of new and often bold pizza varieties. Millennials have a particular fondness for offbeat offerings. Technavio said one brand's innovations are emblematic of this trend: In 2015, Pizza Capers introduced summer offerings that included a blueberry bliss and banana choc overload. 

The research also found that customization of each diner's pizza is a big and growing trend, with even large brands such as Pizza Hut offering what Technavio said is representative of this predilection among today's customers. The brand's nutrition calculator lets diners choose their pizza crust type and size, as well as toppings and sauce. The calculator then shows the calorie count. 

"The main impetus for customization is the growing importance of diet in the current generation of consumers," said Technavio Lead Analyst for Food Research Arushi Thakur, in the release. "Fulfilling the needs of the customer aids pizza vendors in increasing the probability of repeat customer visits." 

2. Increasing demand for gluten-free pizza
The U.S., U.K., France and Canada have all seen a large increase in gluten-free pizza customers, who research shows are strongly loyal to the brands that offer this option in flavors they like. Technavio researchers say that pizza is still perceived as an indulgent food, so to the gluten-free diners, it's critical to play up the quality of ingredients used.

Technavio said that although a mere 1 percent of Americans have celiac disease — caused by an immune reaction to eating gluten — many more see gluten-free diets as better for their overall health.  Both Pizza Hut and Papa John's have embraced the trend, offering gluten-free pizza choices to customers here and in the U.K. 

3. Fast-growing fast-casual pizza
Fast casual pizza brands blend the best of quick service and relaxed atmosphere. But researchers said these brands also tend to specialize in more healthful varieties of the longtime staple, so the growing emphasis on healthful eating in many countries is driving up the popularity of this type of pizza place, according to Technavio.

"Customization and convenience are the key selling points, but the quality of the pizza will maintain the growth of fast-casual pizza in the long run," Arusha said. 

The report identifies MOD Pizza, Blaze Fast-Fire'd Pizza, Pie Five Pizza, PizzaRev, Uncle Maddio's Pizza, and Live Basil Pizza as leaders in this category in the U.S., but that the real growth potential is overseas in key markets such as the U.K., Germany and France.

4. Burgeoning marketing initiatives
Pizza has always been a promotion-heavy market, but the introduction of digital media has put this aspect of restaurant operations on steroids, according to Technavio. The company said that Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are all being used to mobilize the all-important 18–30 demographic.

As a prime example, Technavio cited the April introduction by Domino's of its "Zero Click" pizza ordering app, which saves the user's favorite pizza, billing and delivery information to allow near instantaneous ordering through the app. 

Topics: Business Strategy and Profitability, Franchising & Growth, Trends / Statistics

S.A. Whitehead

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 and 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.

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