Projections and tips for retail pizza products

Research shows that variety, nutrition, fresh ingredients and individual servings are critical for the future of retail pizza product market.

Mintel Group Ltd, the global and award-winning provider of market research, released a July 2013 report called Pizza at Retail that examines the current market and provides insight for manufacturers. Mintel reports that the biggest segment in the market—frozen pizza—is in decline. Moreover, even the growth from smaller segments such as dough kits, mixes and sauces will not be strong enough to slow this projected overall decline.

Three of the four leading pizza product companies saw sales decline in 2012, showing the overall decline the market is experiencing. Even though Nestlé’s DiGiorno tops the frozen pizza market, only Schwan’s Red Baron saw growth in sales as it introduced a range of new pizza styles and flavors that helped keep the brand fresh (Mintel).

Mintel points to increased consumer confidence along with declining unemployment that is leading consumers away from the frozen food section and into pizza restaurants. Since the main draw of frozen pizza up to this point has been its affordability and convenience, Mintel believes frozen brands will have to compete with restaurant pizza on attributes such as quality and taste.

Mintel reports that data shows that households those with children and black consumers are the highest reported purchasers of frozen pizza. In addition, black consumers are more likely than other racial group to report using pizza sauces and packaged, ready-made pizza crusts, according to Mintel.

So what is Mintel’s recommendation to retail pizza manufacturers? Mintel believes that the most effective measures companies can take to help boost sales are to create a wider variety of pizza styles and products with added nutritional benefits. Among these; fresh ingredients and more individual serving sizes top the list. In addition, Mintel believes aggressive marketing of these improvements, directly comparing frozen pizzas to restaurant pizzas, and pushing their products beyond convenience and price will likely serve them well in the coming years.

The MSU Product Center, in partnership with Michigan State University Extension, provides business counseling for product development and marketing strategies that will help Michigan entrepreneurs commercialize high-value, consumer–responsive food products. For more information, visit the MSU Product Center website or call 517-432-8750.

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