Pizza Rises as Weekend Treat

More consumers are ordering pizza for dinner on weekends, and fewer are doing so during the week, which probably reflects tightened spending, a new Technomic study indicates. Nearly a third (32%) of respondents said they order pizza for dinner on the weekend, slightly more than the 29% who said they order pizza for dinner during the week. That's a reversal of findings two years ago. In a comparable

CHICAGO — More consumers are ordering pizza for dinner on weekends, and fewer are doing so during the week, which probably reflects tightened spending, a new Technomic study indicates.

Nearly a third (32%) of respondents said they order pizza for dinner on the weekend, slightly more than the 29% who said they order pizza for dinner during the week. That's a reversal of findings two years ago.

In a comparable 2006 study, Technomic found that 35% of respondents said they primarily ordered pizza for dinner during the week, and just 28% said they ordered pizza for dinner on the weekend.

“Pizza ordering,” which in Technomic's terms refers to pizza ordered for home delivery and for carry-out, has shifted perhaps because consumers are looking for less-expensive ways to treat themselves and their families, Technomic researchers said.

“The growing perception of pizza as appropriate for a weekend meal is likely due to more consumers choosing to celebrate family meals in a more economical manner,” said Sara Gillis, senior manager, consumer and market research at Technomic.

Technomic's current findings must reflect consumers' quest for convenience as well as their growing tendency to tighten their purse strings. Retailers certainly could benefit from the trend.

“There is definitely opportunity for retail-based foodservice pizza because of consumers' strong desire for convenience,” said Gillis. “Being able to purchase a prepared meal and groceries in one location will become increasingly valuable to time-starved consumers.”

One consultant suggested retailers could further ramp up the convenience factor by offering home delivery as well.

“I think the big effect on supermarket prepared foods by the growth of at-home pizza consumption is loss of share — not because of menu offering, portion, flavor or price point, but due to a busy, frenetic, activity-rich and time-poor consumer who is looking for food for tonight's meal that's easy,” said Ira Blumenthal, president of Co-Opportunities, an Atlanta-based consulting company.

“What could be easier than a delivered menu offering?”