Sales among the limited-service pizza industry grew by 3.7 percent in 2017, while units grew by .9 percent, according to Technomic’s 2018 Pizza Occasion Consumer Trend Report

“Increased demand for quality and authenticity is influencing consumers to become increasingly discerning about each component on their pizzas,” says Anne Mills, senior manager of consumer insights at Technomic. “As consumers’ expectations rise and competition increases, pizza operators will be driven into niche, specialized areas such as Roman-style, Detroit-style, and even convenience-focused offerings.”

Other key findings include: 44 percent (up from 40 percent in 2016) of consumers say they choose pizza operators based on who offers the best crust. Nearly half — 49 percent — of consumers want pizza establishments to offer more authentic pizzas. There’s also a growing interest in unique toppings or ingredients: 28 percent of consumers (and 43 percent of those ages 18-34) are more interested in such offerings than they were just two years ago.