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October Celebrates Pizza!

October is National Pizza Month. I know, I know, some people are not big fans of this National Whatever celebrations, be it by day, week or month–but some people do. They actually believe that it works in promoting their products , and well, it gives us a reason to highlight our favorite food every once in a while.

So yeah, it’s national pizza month. Here are some interesting facts, including a bit of news from Technomic, about this crusty, cheesy and saucy stuff we all love.

• We started celebrating the National Pizza Month in 1987, after the U.S. Congress designated it.

• Americans started loving pizza in the late 19th century, when it was first sold in Italian neighborhoods in the cities of New York, Chicago and Philadelphia. Peddlers in cool paper chef hats used to walk up and down the streets with a metal washtub full of pizzas on their head, and selling it at 2 cents per piece. Pretty soon small cafes and grocery stores started offering the dish to their Italian-American customers.

• These days, selling pizza is a $30 billion-a-year industry in the U.S., having 70,000 pizza restaurants across the country. Americans eat approximately 43 slices of pizza per year (although I doubt if you’d agree with this if you’d speak for yourself), and 36% of those slices are said to be pepperoni, making it America’s number one pizza topping in the country.

• The innovation that presented us this flat bread used tomato as its primary sauce and topping, but as pizza evolved, different cultures developed their own unique preferences. The Japanese loves to serve their pizza with squid and Mayo Jaga (mayonnaise, bacon and potato), while Indians liked theirs with pickled ginger, tofu and minced mutton. Brazilians love to eat their pizzas with green peas, while Russians prefer it with mockba (a mix of tuna, sardines, salmon, mackerel and onions).

• 61% of the American population loves thin crust pizza, while 11% prefer theirs to be extra thin. People who love thick crust and those who like deep dish pizzas both tallied at 14%.

• Among all the states in the country, Iowa is said to have the highest per capita rate, with a ratio of 4.13 per 10,000 residents. The lowest is Mississippi, which has 2.41 for every 10,000 people.

• Pizza Hut is said to be the biggest seller of pizzas in the world, having sold 17% of America’s pizza sales market. Domino’s, on the other hand, delivers the most pizzas worldwide.

Now here’s a recent consumer data report from Technomic, offering restaurant operators vital insights about this dish:

• One out of three pizza consumers like organic pizza toppings, with 20% of those consumers willing to shell out more money for organic pizza

• Four in ten consumers like to see more local ingredients

• 45% of delivery and take home pizzas have been purchased at limited-service restaurants (LSRs), 17% are purchased at convenience stores and grocery stores.

• The key to selling more pizzas these days? Differentiation, they say.

I don’t know about you, but I now have the urge to put on peddler-like paper chef hats and gobble up three or four slices of Super Supreme. Who wants to share?