PizzaExpress_Restaurant Favourites

Pizza Express has unveiled the “biggest ever” revamp of its chilled pizza range as it seeks reduce the gap between its restaurant and retail offer. 

The overhaul of Pizza Express’ supermarket range comprises improvements to taste across its ‘Icons’ series, a new posher tier of 11-inch ‘Restaurant Favourites’, as well as refreshed packaging.

It will be backed by the company’s biggest retail marketing push to date.

“Transforming the range offers our customers clearer choice and better quality – with premium ingredients used throughout that are closer than ever to our restaurant recipes,” said Pizza Express’ retail director Rich Mills.

The Icons pizzas are the brand’s nine-inch American, Margherita and Sloppy Giuseppe SKUs. They had been tweaked to “be closer to the restaurant recipe”, it said.

The higher tier of Restaurant Favourites, meanwhile, used “restaurant-quality ingredients” and would “bring customer favourites to the supermarket shelves”.

They are: Margherita Formaggi, Pollo ad Astra, La Reine, American Hot, Hawaiian and Pollo American.

The refreshed Icons pizzas would have an pre-promotional rsp of £5.50 per pizza, while the Restaurant Favourites would cost £6.

This compares with an average price of £2.16 per pack across chilled and frozen, and £2.55 per pack in chilled alone [Kantar 52 w/e 17 July 2023].

To coincide with the launch, Pizza Express has overhauled packaging on all of its 45-strong range of supermarket products, which includes pizzas, dough balls and salad dressings.

The refresh incorporates the brand’s “iconic filigree” across all products. Pizza Express said consumer research had shown the asset helped customers identify its products “when they’re browsing busy shelves”.

Alongside this, Pizza Express would invest in new “vertical merchandising” at point of sale to enable products to stand up on shelf, as well as posters and digital screens at OOH locations near to key retail outlets.

They would promote the new Pizza Express ‘Dinnertime, Showtime’ tagline and help it reach over two million customers nearly three times each in 2023, the brand said.

It comes at a time when chilled pizza is on the rise, with sales up 9.5% to £716m [Kantar]. However, frozen is growing at a faster rate, with value up 17.8% to £664m.

Most of the growth across the category has been driven by price, with units up 13.1% on average [Kantar]. Volumes of chilled and frozen pizzas are up by just 0.5% and 0.3% respectively.

To prevent shoppers from turning away, brands are turning to NPD. Kantar’s analysis showed nine new branded pizza lines have hit the market in the past year, compared with five new own-label lines.

In August, Dr Oeteker Ristorante unveiled a new premium tier of frozen pizzas, while The Italian Takeout, Franco Manca and Lewis Capaldi’s Big Sexy Pizza have all launched new products in the past 12 months.