France Beats Out US in ‘Pizza Innovation’

By Mike Pomranz |
LACK OF PIZZA INNOVATION FWX

© Image Source / Getty Images

When Donald Trump gave his victory speech in New Hampshire last night, a very familiar part of it went like this: “We don't win anymore as a country. We don't win on trade. We don't win with the military.” Well, here’s something else The Donald can add to his list: pizza innovation!

According to market research company Mintel, despite being the king of pizza innovation “for years,” the US recently ceded the crown to none other than France. Just let that sink in: France is the global leader in pizza innovation. I don’t think we’ve ever needed a UN summit more urgently.

But it begs the question: What exactly is “pizza innovation”? I know in the past year Japan introduced a pizza topped with ramen. And India started delivering pizzas to moving commuter trains. But in the US, Pizza Hut just gave away pizzas covered in 24-carat gold flakes. Isn’t that worth something?

Turns out none of the above are worth anything when it comes to Mintel’s assessment of pizza innovation. Their definition of “pizza innovation” is strictly based on the number of new pizza products launched on the retail market – aka crappy frozen grocery store pizza.

Suddenly, the US falling to second in pizza innovation seems a bit clearer. In fact, Mintel’s Alex Beckett explains America’s dip in practically ironic terms. “With the economy looking brighter, consumers have been trading up and out of retail pizza to more expensive delivery and food service options,” says Beckett. “As a result of this, and the rapid growth of fast casual pizza chains, frozen pizza makers have been under huge pressure in the region.”

That’s right, America’s innovation in the frozen pizza space is sinking because our economy is so strong that people can actually go out and eat good pizza. Yeah, that’s a loss I’ll take.

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