Shoppers bought 16 million more chilled pizzas last year than they did in 2012 - giving fresh a bigger slice of the market.

Brits’ growing appetite for chilled pizza more than offset a drop in frozen - resulting in the overall pizza market growing by the equivalent of 8.2 million 350g pizzas. In value terms, this has increased the total pizza market by £35.2m, or 4.2%, on the year before [Kantar Worlpanel 52w/e 8 December 2014].

Chilled pizza accounts for 44.3% of the overall market - up 2.4 percentage points on the previous year - while frozen’s share has fallen to 55.7%.

Industry insiders suggested shoppers had been drawn to the wide range of interesting flavours and toppings offered by fresh pizza ranges, which are often perceived as being closer in quality to a restaurant offer.

A 2013 survey of 1,500 consumers by Mintel showed they saw frozen pizzas as more processed than chilled - with 45% stating this was the case compared with 21% for chilled. Chilled pizzas were seen as “high quality” by 41% of consumers, but only 17% felt this applied to frozen pizzas. Frozen beat chilled when it came to value for money (52% versus 29%), and also convenience (54% versus 49%).

A leading supplier said frozen often matched the quality of chilled, but added that shoppers and retailers would be unwilling to pay the high price point required for frozen pizza to deliver some of the more interesting flavours and toppings offered by chilled.