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Which Pizza Topping Is King?

Pizza is one of the most beloved meals around the world. In fact, pizzerias comprise almost eight percent of all United States restaurants. Manufacturers’ sales of pizza has reached almost $40 billion each year. Americans eat about 100 acres of pizza each day, or about a staggering 350 slices per second! For a certainty, there are many sensory factors in play with pizza, but the toppings can be a real game changer for pizza. Which pizza topping is king?

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In the US, more than half of consumers say that they usually order pepperoni (65%), sausage (54%), or mushroom (51%). This is followed by extra cheese (45%), onion (39%), green pepper (37%), olive (34%), bacon (31%), ham (29%) and pineapple (21%).

When it comes to gender, men are much more likely than women to order bacon (38% of men v 24% of women), sausage (60% v 48%), pepperoni (71% v 60%), and ham pizzas (34% v 25%). In comparison, women prefer vegetable options, such as olives (36% of women v 33% of men), onion (40% v 38%), green pepper (38% v 36%).

Topping preferences also differ according to age. Consumers aged 18-24 show a stronger preference for bacon (40% of this age group v 31% on average), extra cheese (54% v 45%), ham (36% v 29%), and pineapple (26% v 21%). On the other hand, consumers aged 65+ are much less likely to order mushrooms (58% v 51% on average), and those aged 55-64 show a strong preference for onions (47% v 39% on average).The popularity of pizza toppings can vary quite a bit by region and time of year.

Favorite pizza toppings outside the United States might surprise you. For example, in Amsterdam, touted as the “kingdom of coffee shops” the most popular topping is hotdogs on pizza. In Japan, if you open a pizza box you will find squid under the lid more than any other pizza topping. Do you like coconut? Costa Ricans most popular pizza topping is coconut. Down under in Australia, a combination of shrimp, pineapple, and BBQ sauce is the native favorite. The Aussies aren’t the only ones who enjoy combination toppings on their favorite pizza. India enjoys a combination of pickled ginger, minced mutton and tofu for their taste palate. France prefers the combo of bacon, onion, and fresh cream. If you go to Russia, plan on a mix of sardines, tuna, mackerel, salmon and red onions on your pizza. Singular toppings still have great popularity in many countries including Brazil which enjoys the Amazonian way of eating pizza by sprinkling green peas on their pie. In Saudi Arabia pork products are not consumed so beef is the favorite. If you are enjoying a walk on the Great Wall of China plan on having a pizza with Thousand Island dressing sauce, and we hope you like eel pizza because that’s the favorite topping. Germany offers a refreshing change, their favorite topping, a sunny side up egg is the way they wake up with pizza.

Sensory product research, when combined with effective market research, is the key to understanding what your market truly wants.

This article is free information from Contract Testing Inc., an established leader in sensory product research and consumer product research for the food, beverage, and (QSR) quick service restaurant industries throughout the United States and Canada. To learn more about the complete scope of product research services, please call 1-905-456-0783 or visit us onlineContractTesting.com.