France dethrones US as top innovator in global retail pizza market

By Douglas Yu

- Last updated on GMT

US retail pizza has come under pressure from the out-of-home market. Photo: iStock - Songbird839
US retail pizza has come under pressure from the out-of-home market. Photo: iStock - Songbird839

Related tags Pizza Apple

France has usurped the US as the most innovative retail pizza market, according to new Mintel research.

Eleven per cent of the world's new pizza products originated in France in 2015, up from 9% in 2011, while the US's share of retail pizza launches fell from 19% in 2011 to just 10% last year.

Shop-bought pizza has come under increased pressure in the US from consumers eating out, Mintel senior food and drink analyst Billy Roberts told BakeryAndSnacks.

Consumers turn to pizza restaurants because they are affordable, convenient, and ready-to-eat in a quick manner​," he added.

Government data showed 2015 was the first year on record in which Americans spent more on dining out than on groceries, said Mintel.

Craft pizza opportunity

Further piling the pressure on the retail market was rapid expansion of fast casual pizza chains, suggested Mintel global food and drink analyst Alex Beckett, adding that development of craft-style pizzas could help expand US retail market.

Nearly six in 10 (58%) US consumers claim they would buy more frozen pizza if it had premium/gourmet ingredients, rising to 72% of 25 to 34-year-olds [ Mintel Pizza US 2015 report].

As far as retail pizza is concerned, consumers are showing signs of becoming tired of the mainstream​,” said Beckett. “Consumers want pizza manufactures to take inspiration from the wider craft boom seen in food and drinks​.”

Pizza innovation

Beckett believes craft pizzas that convey an artisanal quality, with carefully considered and locally sourced ingredients, will grow in US retail over the next few years.

Asia-Pacific pizza boom

In contrast to the slump in US innovation, development of new pizzas in the Asia-Pacific region has almost doubled from 6% of global launches to 11% in 2015.

Growth could be attributed to increasing urbanization and a leap in ownership of microwave ovens, said Beckett, with 58% of the region’s pizza launches in 2015 claiming to be microwaveable.

It is also noticeable that many of the retail pizzas that have launched in Asia-Pacific in 2015 have sought to appeal to the specific tastes and needs of the country’s consumers​,” added Beckett. “As such, a number of Asian-based manufacturers offer toppings with a local flavor twist - such as tom yum-flavored sauces in Singaporean pizza and roti bases emerging in Thailand​.”

Gluten-free launches increase

Mintel’s Pizza Market 2016: Global Annual Overview report also found a 58% surge in the number of gluten-free pizza launches across the globe between 2012 and 2015.

The rise in gluten-free pizza launches comes as a result of the growing demand for wheat alternative​,” the report said, adding that rice flour was proving popular, with the number of pizza launches containing the ingredient increasing from 78% to 90% between 2014 and 2015.

Until last year, development of chilled gluten-free pizza had been rare, with frozen options accounting for nearly all the offerings.

This is likely to relate to cost efficiency as without the binding quality of gluten, a chilled pizza is liable to turn biscuit-like and break after spending a few days on a store shelf​,” said Beckett.

European pizza innovation

A selection of recently launched or relaunched products from the European pizza market:

FP Jardin Bio

Pizza Bio’ 3 Fromages
Manufacturer/brand: Jardin Bio'/ Léa Nature
Country: France
Size: 400g
Price: €5.80 ($6.33)
This repackaged Léa Nature Jardin Bio' Pizza bio 3 Fromages (Organic Three Cheese Pizza) is an artisan-made, pre-baked pizza made with French wheat and topped with emmental, mozzarella and roquefort cheeses.

FP Sodebo

Sodebo Mountain Recipe Raclette Cheese & Raw Ham Pizza
Manufacturer/brand: Sodebo/Sodebo Pizza Crust
Country: France
Size: 580g
Price: €5.49 ($6.08)
Sodebo Pizza Crust Recette Mountain Raclette Jambon Cru (Mountain Recipe Raclette Cheese & Raw Ham Pizza) is said to be soft in the middle and crispy around the edges. This product has stone-baked dough that is topped with a sauce, golden potatoes, raclette cheese, raw ham and smoked bacon pieces, and a crust sprinkled with cheese for a gratin effect.

FP Veggie

Dr Oetker Hearty Vegetarian Pizza
Manufacturer/brand: Dr August Oetker Nahrungsmittel
Country: France
Size: 380g
Price: €3.29 ($3.64)
Dr Oetker Pizza Veggie Die Herzhafte Vegetarische Pizza (Hearty Vegetarian Pizza) is now available and is topped with vegetarian fillet pieces, red onion, bell peppers and jalapeno sour cream.

FP sweet pizza

San Marco American Style Apple Crumble Sweet Pizza
Manufacturer/brand: Green Isle Foods/San Marco American Style
Country: France
Size: 437g
San Marco American Style Apple Crumble Sweet Pizza consists of a sweet stone baked pizza base topped with diced apples, Bramley apple sauce and a crumble topping. The vegetarian product was on display at the Anuga 2015 Trade Show in Cologne, Germany.

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