- Private-label frozen pizzas posted 15.7% in unit sale gains and 11.3% in dollar sale gains during the 52 weeks ending Sept. 9, according to market research from Information Resources, Inc. reported by Baking Business.
- The biggest manufacturers in the space posted sales gains during the past year. Frozen pizza from Schwan Food Co. saw a 4.6% year-over-year dollar sales increase; General Mills' frozen pizza saw a 2.3% increase in dollar sales; and Nestlé USA's frozen pizza dollar sales were up 0.9% during the past year, Baking Business reported.
- Four of the top five frozen pizza brands also saw dollar sales gains in the past year. Sales of Schwan's Red Baron jumped 7%, Nestlé's DiGiorno rose 3.1% and General Mills' Totino’s Party Pizza increased 2.8%.
Consumers appreciate a convenient, tasty, heat-and-eat snack or dinner option — and pizza fills the bill on all those counts. It's a popular and versatile dish that can be adapted to several styles, whether that means loading it with meat and plant-based toppings or enjoying the basic cheese version.
This surge in sales for the convenience of frozen pizza comes at a time when the frozen foods segment is seeing its first positive volume growth in five years. Part of the renewed interest comes from convenience and relatively low prices, but it's also due to the application of quick-freeze technology.
Research shows consumers are visiting frozen food grocery areas more often these days. And while all ages said they were purchasing more from that department, 43% of millennials said their shopping there increased over the previous year. Convenience was a main driver. Shoppers said they used frozen foods as easy dinner options, for kids' breakfasts, as side dishes and for handy lunches. As manufacturers have revamped marketing approaches by pitching newer frozen products that can be tasty, unique and better-for-you, frozen pizza has also adjusted to fit consumer needs.
Manufacturers are changing up the typical pizza recipe with some creative innovations. Cauliflower crusts are one of the latest adaptations, with varieties widely available at Whole Foods and Trader Joe's. Oprah recently partnered with Kraft Heinz on a line of frozen pizzas under her O, That's Good! brand, which are being marketed as healthier for having a partial cauliflower crust and no artificial flavors or colors.
Nestlé recently expanded its footprint the space beyond its DiGiorno, Tombstone and Jack's pizza brands. Last year, it purchased plant-based manufacturer Sweet Earth and launched a cauliflower crust pizza under that brand. Nestlé's Foundry Foods innovation incubator recently created Outsiders Pizza Co., producing frozen pies reflecting regional styles, such as those from Detroit and Milwaukee.
Vegetables, plant-based protein and fiber add-ons could be helping sales surge by turning frozen pizza from a cheese-laden cholesterol special to a healthier meal option. That change in perception, plus the convenience, versatility and relatively low cost, could be why consumers are reaching for them a lot more often.