Pizza consumption is trending at its highest level in the past four years, and showing growth for pizza-focused concepts across channels, according to Chicago-based Technomic’s “2016 Pizza Consumer Trend Report.”

To maintain this momentum and stay ahead in the competitive pizza space, operators must innovate and adapt to consumers' evolving demands for unique, high-quality and better-for-you pizza ingredients and add-ons.

"Today's consumers are less beholden to their standard pizza orders, as emerging players push the envelope of what's expected on a pizza menu," says Deanna Jordan, manager of consumer insights. "New chef-designed, specialty pizzas positioned as customizable thought-starters will serve to convey kitchen skills and allow for the personalization these consumers increasingly expect."

Key takeaways from the report include:

·         Pizza consumption is trending up; consumers average 4 pizza occasions per month, up from 3.4 in 2014.

·         Unique toppings are increasingly key; 39% of consumers say that new and innovative toppings are highly important in creating a good pizza, up from 32% two years ago.

·         More consumers are demanding transparency in the pizza occasion; 32% of consumers say it's important to know the nutritional content of the pizza they eat, up from 25% in 2014.

Using actionable data from more than 1,500 consumers, as well as Technomic's exclusive Digital Resource Library, Knowledge Center and MenuMonitor databases, the “2016 Pizza Consumer Trend Report” serves as a guide for foodservice operators and suppliers to understand consumer attitudes toward pizza.