Category Close-up: Frozen Pizza Getting Cold as Economy Improves

A Look at the Market's Winners, Losers and More

By Published on .

What's happening

The market is stagnating and brands are fighting for a bigger slice of the same-sized pie. And
conditions might get tougher as the economy improves and more people are able to afford restaurant pizza, according to Mintel. The market-research group projects sales of packaged pizza will remain relatively flat at $5.5 billion annually through 2019, while pizza chains will grow sales by 18% between 2013 and 2018, reaching $45.3 billion.

Winners

General Mills grew packaged-pizza sales by 7% to nearly $400 million in the 52 weeks ending June 15, according to IRI, thanks to solid growth of its economy-priced Totino's brand. The brand's one-year-old "Bold" line, which covers both regular pizza and pizza rolls, features black packaging and flavors like buffalo chicken. Marketing is highlighted by a partnership with WWE, including a contest called "Show Us Your Superstar" that allowed fans to submit ideas for new wrestling characters.

Losers

Though still the category leader, Nestlé, whose brands include Digiorno and Tombstone, faltered, losing 1.6 market-share points in the frozen-pizza category in the 52 weeks ending June 15, according to IRI. A bright spot for the company is Digiorno's 18-month old premium variety, which has reached 2% market share and $89.8 million in sales during the same period. Digiorno is also trying to lift sales with a new customizable "Design a Pizza" kit that includes individually wrapped packets of meats, veggies, cheese and seasonings.

The pitch

This is one food category where nutritional claims aren't going to move the needle. Only 22% of shoppers surveyed by Mintel consider health attributes when buying pizza. Brands are better off touting premium ingredients and styles that mimic restaurant pizzas, including unusual flavor combinations. Nestlé-owned Jack's is trying to differentiate itself this summer by encouraging people to throw frozen pizzas on the grill.

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