NEW YORK — How well do you know ‘za? At least two in three Americans consider themselves “pizza experts.” A poll of 2,000 pizza-loving U.S. adults finds that 79 percent claim they can even point out the best places to get a slice in the town they live in.
More than nine in 10 (94%) have eaten a pizza just within the past month of taking the survey. Nearly three-quarters of respondents (72%) love pizza so much they could eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner without ever getting bored. Nearly half (47%) think it’s perfect for next-day leftovers.
While nearly two-thirds believe eating pizza is fine for lunch (63%) and dinner (62%), 44 percent add it’s completely acceptable to eat for breakfast. Commissioned by Donatos and conducted by OnePoll, the study revealed 64 percent don’t enjoy pizza as often as they wish, with some blaming their health.
From junk food to healthy food?
Sixty-two percent believe pizza is a “junk food,” and nearly half (48%) believe it’s not healthy enough for their diet. However, 72 percent would be “thrilled” if pizza was healthier to eat, while two in three would order more if the toppings were healthier.
With a third of respondents (36%) claiming they’re “meat lovers” and 23 percent being “veggie lovers” when it comes to the famous dish, there are some possible solutions on the horizon to make pizza healthier. A majority of both groups would be willing to try plant-based meat toppings — including 73 percent of meat-lovers and 81 percent of veggie-lovers.
Three in four meat-lovers would eat more plant-based meats in general if they “tasted just as good as the original.”
“If we’ve learned anything in the past 60 years of making pizza, it’s that people have very strong opinions about their favorite ways to enjoy this iconic American dinner staple,” says Carol Pasquariello, senior vice president of marketing at Donatos, in a statement. “But even though people may have their favorite toppings, as a pizza brand, we are excited to see how open people are to trying new things – like a plant-based pepperoni – or finding ways to make their pizza just a little bit healthier.”
What would Americans do for free pizza?
The love for pizza goes far 37 percent of Americans say they would be willing to have every movie for the next year spoiled for them to get free pizza for a year. Nearly as many (33%) would be willing to shave all of their hair from their body, eyebrows included. The nation’s pizza habit runs so deep that respondents could even pinpoint the toppings that should always (or never) make an appearance on their pies.
The most beloved toppings include pepperoni (42%), sausage (39%), and onions (37%). Meanwhile, the most despised toppings are anchovies (35%), pineapple (32%), and jalapenos (27%). Pineapple is a major topic of debate: while a third believe it doesn’t belong on pizza, 44 percent insist that it actually does.
Pizza-lovers also love to debate how to eat their slices. While a quarter (28%) eat it the traditional way (tip-first), 18 percent prefer going in crust-first, 17 percent fold it in half, and 14 percent sandwich two slices together. Eight percent actually eat pizza with a knife and fork.
More than half the poll (57%) admit they judge others depending on where they order their pies.
“As we like to say, ‘New year, new pizza!” Pasquariello says. “We know it’s hard for people to give up the things they love – like pizza – especially at the start of a new year. But with new options including plant-based toppings and cauliflower crust, pizza no longer needs to be on the chopping block when it comes to eating better in the new year.”