Frozen pizza sales as flat as pizza crust itself

by Dan Malovany
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In some mature markets, the only way to improve sales is to steal share from the competition. Take frozen pizza. Sales are as flat as pizza crust itself. I.R.I. reported sales of frozen pizza rose a paltry 0.47% to $4.4 billion for the 52 weeks ended Aug. 10.

Category leader DiGiorno, owned by Nestle USA, saw sales tumble more than 6% while private label sales rose nearly 5%, according to I.R.I. In a June report, researchers at Chicago-based Mintel noted annual retail sales of pizza have hovered around the $5.5 billion mark from 2009 through 2014, and the outlook is for more of the same. In fact, Mintel projected that retail sales will remain unchanged or slightly down through 2019.

Sometimes, new products along with aggressive promotions can be a powerful combination. Jon Wiersum, vice-president of brand marketing for Schwan’s Consumer Brands, recently told Baking & Snack’s Ryan Atkinson that its Freschetta brand is up 30% from last year.

“The category overall is showing signs of recovery across the U.S. and growth opportunities within our consumer base,” Mr. Wiersum said. “Pizza is a highly penetrated category at 70% overall, … and we’re telling people about our products with increased consumer spending to get them back into the frozen pizza aisle.”

With market penetration so high, it’s not surprising that the overall retail market for pizza — including frozen and refrigerated — has been stagnant. Find out how pizza producers are adding excitement to the category in the October issue of Baking & Snack magazine.

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