How to meet changing consumer demands in a dynamic market 

People have been eating pizza-like foods for millennia but what they want from the perennially popular dish keeps changing. To stay ahead in a fiercely competitive market, pizza manufacturers need to identify trends and adapt their offerings accordingly. Solina can help. Here, we look at the state of the European and North American pizza markets today—and share a snapshot of the trends that are driving the sector. 

The COVID-19 pandemic triggered a shift in the pizza market. The limited-service restaurant (LSR) market continued to go from strength to strength throughout the crisis, growing by 18% in North America and 4% in Europe between 2018 and 2022, according to Euromonitor.  

In contrast, as COVID-19 changed dining habits, the full-service restaurant (FSR) market contracted in both North America and Europe. The value of the FSR pizza market fell on both sides of the Atlantic between 2018 and 2022. The FSR pizza market in Europe, which is larger than its North American counterpart, suffered the biggest contraction, shrinking 13% over the four-year period. 

With the crisis now abating, the stage is set for growth. Euromonitor forecasts that the European and North American FSR pizza markets will hit new highs by 2026. Demand in Europe is predicted to rebound sharply, causing the market to grow by 22% between 2022 and 2026. 

Analysts expect the LSR pizza market to continue growing over the same period. In North America, where limited-service restaurants account for two-thirds of the pizza market, the LSR sector is forecast to break the €70 billion ($75 billion) mark by 2026. The market was worth less than €54 billion as recently as 2018. Similarly, in Europe, a region with an even split between limited- and full-service restaurants, the LSR pizza market is expected to grow 13% between 2022 and 2026 to reach a value of €56 billion. 

Who is driving pizza market growth? 

All of the evidence suggests consumers will increase their spending on pizza over the next few years. One big question for the industry is which companies will benefit most from the trend and why. In Europe, independent pizza restaurants currently dominate the market and, while chains are forecast to increase their revenues in the coming years, analysts expect smaller, standalone players to continue to account for most sales through to 2026 and beyond.

Even so, there are growth opportunities for pizza chains in Europe. The average per capita spend on pizza from LSR chains increased by a compound annual growth (CAGR) of 9% in the United Kingdom and 15% in Spain from 2020 and 2022. CAGR was slower in France and Germany, both 6%, over the same period but even those countries outpaced the 3% growth seen in the United States.  

In North America, pizza chains have already claimed most of the market from independents. Like in Europe, chains and independent restaurants are both forecast to grow sales over the next few years but pizza chains will remain dominant in North America through to 2026 and beyond.   

Three key players — Domino’s Pizza, Papa John’s and Pizza Hut — compete for the LSR pizza market in Europe and North America. All three companies achieved dynamic growth from 2018 to 2021, resulting in them controlling 35% of the market, but Domino’s is ahead of its competitors in both Europe and North America.   



How to succeed as the pizza market evolves 

To grow, pizza chains and independent restaurants alike will need to respond to trends that are shaping what consumers expect of FSR and LSR pizzas in 2023 and beyond. Solina has identified four key trends — health, ethics, pleasure and convenience — and is using its leading savoury food capabilities to help its customers create pizzas that deliver what consumers want in each area. 

Solina’s quick service restaurant (QSR) department is a master of the tasty, crunchy, natural and healthy applications that modern consumers want. With a rich heritage in meat, which has informed the creation of a specialist new protein food division, the company is ideally equipped to support companies that want to strengthen core offerings such as pepperoni pizzas and empower businesses that need to adapt to the growing demand for plant-based alternatives.  

Having established an industry-leading set of QSR capabilities, Solina’s services encompass emulsified and cooked-up sauces, coatings and seasonings and many other details that can elevate the offerings of pizza manufacturers and enable them to stand out in a competitive industry. Driven by our aim to transform the QSR sector by means of more sustainable innovations, Solina’s services include nutritional support that can reduce levels of fat and salt while fortifying foods with elements such as protein to turn pizzas from an occasional unhealthy treat into an everyday nutritious indulgence.  

For each project, Solina is considering how to positively impact each step of the food value chain, from farm (sourcing) to fork (nutrition). Solina is involved at every step in the process, from initial problem solving, through co-development and into scale up. Through the concept-to-launch offering, Solina works with its end customers and food processors in a triangle approach to ensure that every recipe meets the needs of all stakeholders and is ready for production at scale.  

The process results in tailor-made solutions that contribute to the production of pizzas that excel in perfected taste, enhanced nutrition, optimised functionality and sustainability. By partnering with Solina, manufacturers can stay competitive by delivering the pizzas consumers want today—and keep ahead of the trends that will reshape the dynamic market in the years to come.  

By working with Solina, a leading global partner for the food industry, companies can access the full suite of resources needed to meet changing consumer demands, from insights into local and global trends through to the spectrum of capabilities and expertise needed to deliver great-tasting products.

Contact us and learn more about creating QSR solutions based on the latest trends in consumption.