Ever met anyone who didn’t like pizza? Neither have I. It’s probably the most wildly successful and non-controversial globalised food export that has ever come out of any one country, in this case Italy. Sure, one could argue that cola and burgers can be found just about anywhere on the planet, although these items are maligned in some regions as ‘a manifestation of American imperialism’.
Nobody could ever accuse a slice of three-cheese pizza of corrupting young people’s morals or furthering anyone’s political objectives. Pizza is harmless, delicious, and endlessly customisable – just toss a couple of local ingredients on top and hey presto, that pizza is YOURS!
As for tackling the question posed in the headline, I may not be able to come up with a totally satisfying answer. What I can tell you, though, is who are the most avid consumers of frozen and chilled supermarket pizza, and who spends the most in pizza joints.
Frozen vs. chilled – no contest!
Frozen pizza is far more widely available (and far cheaper!) than chilled. In 2012, 1.4 million tonnes of frozen pizza where shifted by retailers, compared to just 332,000 tonnes of chilled.
Spain, the UK and France were the top global markets for chilled pizza, while in Russia, Hungary, Argentina ad Turkey, for example, this type of product is not available in supermarkets. In the US, chilled pizza sales are dwarfed by frozen: 473,000 tonnes vs 25,000 tonnes in 2012.
Although the US is the world’s leading frozen pizza market, its per capita consumption was a comparatively low 1.5kg per annum in 2012. Norway leads, with 4.4kg. Germany, Ireland, the UK and Austria are next in line. Italians mustered 0.9kg.
Scandinavians spend most on pizza fast food
Italy, despite appearing reluctant to fully embrace supermarket pizza, topped 2012 global per capita spending charts for takeaway/home delivery pizza, and Italians also splashed out the most in full-service pizza restaurants.
Sweden and Finland splurged top dollar, per capita, on pizza fast food, US$62.8 and US$58.7, respectively, followed by Canada, Switzerland and Israel. Italy came 5th, and the USA 9th, with a miserly US$8.4. But you have to remember that food, and especially fast food, is considerably cheaper in the US than it is in Scandinavia, so this doesn’t tell us much about the actual quantities scoffed.
China is fast developing a liking for takeaway pizza and for pizza restaurants, though you’d be hard pushed to find one in a supermarket. Why is this? Because Chinese kitchens are not habitually equipped with ovens. In such a densely populated country with sparse fuel resources, cooking has evolved to be quick and, above all, fuel efficient. Little ovens designed to be placed on a kitchen work surface that are suitable for heating up pizza are the preserve of comparatively well-off middle class consumers.
Got any pizza-related gems to share from your country? I’d love to hear your thoughts and anecdotes.
What is your most reviled pizza topping? I can’t stand pineapple on pizza. It just doesn’t belong there!!!
[For data source, click here]