Frozen Pizza: Taking on The Pizzeria


Over recent times, the frozen pizza category has witnessed increasing moves towards authentic styles and recipes, as well as a focus on special dietary needs and convenience benefits, according to Gama’s latest research.

By Tom Warden, editorial director, Gama

Mirroring a drive towards greater perceptions of quality across frozen food as a whole, firms active in the frozen pizza category are looking to expand product appeal through premium branding, more ‘genuine’ and tempting products – especially with an emphasis on thin or ‘authentic’ dough bases, as well as, increasingly, catering to demand for allergen-free formulations and quick, on-the-go or sharing formats.

While somewhat less active in NPD terms than some other categories, pizza nonetheless plays a notable role in frozen food innovation across many regions. According to the latest insights from Gama Compass – Gama’s leading platform for innovation – pizza has accounted for 6% of all frozen food NPD globally since 2014, compared to just 1% in the chilled foods space. Meanwhile, Gama Compass data also shows that frozen pizza has the edge over chilled products in value terms, with frozen pizza launches coming in at an average of 12% cheaper than their refrigerated counterparts since 2014.

The standout feature of the frozen pizza market over the past three years, as evidenced by trends in new product launches, is a concerted effort on the part of manufacturers and retailers to drive up perceptions of quality in the category, in particular by emphasizing ‘genuine’ ingredients and more authentic styles that create the experience of ‘dining out, at home’. This marks a move away from a more limited focus on toppings and flavors and implies, increasingly, an emphasis on the quality or authenticity of the pizza base itself, as well as the way the pizza is cooked – especially traditional ‘wood-fired’ or ‘stone-baked’ methods.