America’s Evolving Love Affair with Pizza 

There was a time when pepperoni, sausage, and cheese were the undisputed champions in the world of pizza toppings. However, in recent years, the tastebuds of the American pizza consumer have undergone a flavor revolution. Gone are the days of predictable toppings.

The modern pizza consumer wants more adventurous, healthier, and inspired ingredient combinations as well as greater conveniences rooted in technology. This is driving pizza industry leaders to be more creative with their offerings and consumer interactions, so let’s explore the changing tastes of America’s pizza lovers!

Pizza… It’s What’s For Breakfast, Lunch, or Dinner!

Americans are serious about eating pizza. It’s undoubtedly one of the most popular foods in the United States. In fact, Americans consume about 350 slices per second, or close to 100 acres of pizza every day. While it remains true that pepperoni is the most popular pizza topping and sausage is still among the top four, pizza consumers are craving a variety of other add-ons and combinations.

Some of the other popular and interesting toppings in demand are:

  • Pineapple: Yes, the topic of many pizza feuds is in the top echelon of high-demand pizza toppings.
  • Jalepeños: For a dash of spice, these peppers will liven up every bite of pizza.
  • Bacon: Why limit bacon to breakfast? Enough said.
  • Mushrooms: Always a “fun-guy” to invite to the pizza party.
  • Anchovies: These little fish often get a bad rap, but they can be a nice salty, savory delight if added in moderation.
  • Sauces: The tomato sauce base is still the most popular, but Alfredo sauce and Italiano sauces provide an unbeatable flavor profile.

This is Not Your Grandfather’s Pizza

In addition to new topping choices, alternate options for crusts and sauces are gaining popularity with American pizza consumers. Health concerns among consumers are giving rise to things like gluten-free crusts, pesto bases, fresh veggies, dairy-free cheeses, and plant-based protein options that cater to vegans and vegetarians.

Many of these new trends are regionally inspired by geography and/or cultural influences.

Who’s Eating All The Pizza?

If you’ve ever wondered what demographic eats the most pizza, market data indicates that Millennials and Gen Zers are the champions in this area. Aside from the wider variety of pizza ingredients, generational factors have played a large part in the changing preferences of the American pizza consumer.

Gen X and Boomers still tend to prefer classic toppings and more traditional dining experiences, while Millennials and Gen Z pizza consumers favor tech-driven convenience, customization, and sustainable options.

  • Delivery Apps Rule: Between 51% and 63% of Millennials and Gen Zers use delivery apps to order food, including pizza.
  • Alternate Options are King: Alternate crust options, like cauliflower, gluten-free options, lean protein, and plant-based meats are on the rise among Millennials and Gen Z.
  • Sustainable Substitutes: Millennials and Gen Zers have a deep interest in products that are from sustainable sources and promote better health, which is quickly changing the long-perceived pizza consumer profile.

Other Factors of the Pizza Consumer Revolution

New ingredients, ordering options, and concerns about sustainability and health are certainly at the center of the changing tastes of American pizza consumers, but other factors such as geography and dining experience preferences are impacting the pizza consumer revolution.

  • Location, Location, Location: City dwellers tend to enjoy speed, convenience and variety along with independent pizza franchises versus rural residents tending to prefer established chains and more classic pizza offerings.
  • Delivery vs. Dine-In: Delivery has become a favorite option with pizza consumers who are increasingly opting for the convenience of having their pizza delivered to their doorstep for movie nights or in-home celebrations. However, dine-in experiences are still valued, especially for socializing with friends in an enjoyable atmosphere.

The Future of America’s Pizza Consumer

The American pizza market has a delicious heritage and has come a long way since its early days. The modern pizza consumer represents a tasty combination of diverse demographics, evolving trends, and insatiable appetites. Staying ahead of the curve in terms of market data is crucial for pizza businesses to thrive in this dynamic landscape.

In the coming years, the U.S. pizza market is expected to grow by over 6%, or $51 billion. As consumers of pizza continue to seek new flavors, ingredients, and experiences, this growth will likely be fueled by these and other, factors:

  • Continued focus on convenience and customization: Pizza consumers will increasingly demand seamless online ordering, delivery options, and personalized toppings.
  • Emphasis on health and wellness: Healthier crust options, plant-based toppings, and fresh, seasonal ingredients will gain traction.
  • Rise of gourmet pizza and local sourcing: Pizza consumers will show interest in pizzas with premium ingredients, artisanal cheeses, and locally sourced produce.
  • Technology integration: AI-powered recommendations, voice ordering, and interactive dining experiences will further personalize the pizza experience.

Grab a Slice of the Revolution

Pizza is a delicious part of the fascinating story of how we eat, live, and connect through the power of great ingredients and memorable experiences. If you are a pizza lover with an entrepreneurial spirit and want to be part of the ongoing evolutionary story of the American pizza consumer, then consider opening a Gambino’s Pizza franchise.

To get started, fill out the inquiry form on our website or call us at 316-396-0551.