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Pizza is a passion; the taste, style, and even the shape.  As one of the most simple and popular foods, pizza has long been a global favorite.  With over 94% of Americans regularly consuming pizza, pizzerias represent over 17% of all restaurants.  

History

The history of the pizza varies, depending upon the definition of pizza.  When defined as a flat bread cooked in the oven, pizza originates back to ancient times in the middle east.  The ancient Babylonians, Israelites, and Egyptians all ate unleavened flat breads baked in mud ovens.

Pizza, defined as having toppings, dates to ancient Greeks and Romans.  Flat bread was topped with olive oil and local spices, today referred to as focaccia bread.

The most popular definition of a pizza, with tomato sauce, cheese, and toppings originated in Italy.  Raffaele Esposito, from Naples, is often the baker given credit for creating this first pizza.

After its introduction, pizza made its way to Spain, France, England, and the United States through Italian immigrants, only gaining popularity after World War II.


Variety

There is a large variety of pizza options available, from frozen pre-made pizza, homemade pizza mix, ready-to-eat grocery store pizza, food trucks and stands, restaurants, and pizzerias. 

The versatility of pizza allows for consumers to use almost anything as a topping or base.  Some of the most popular options range from a variety of cheeses, pepperoni, bacon, sausage, ham, mushrooms, peppers, tomatoes, olives, onions, pineapple, BBQ sauce, and pizza sauce.  Other, more uncommon options are lettuce, egg, garlic, zucchini, steak, broccoli, lobster, fruit, pesto, hummus, and white sauce.  While people tend to favor meat toppings, vegetables are becoming more popular as health-conscious consumers are increasing.  The dessert pizza is also growing in popularity.  Dessert pizzas integrate items such as nutella, chocolate, marshmallows, caramel, icing, brown sugar, cream cheese, and fruit.


Despite the obvious availability of pizza almost everywhere, there is a strong demand together with the evolving tastes of consumers that provide ample opportunity for entrepreneurs, especially to franchise.  Franchisees account for approximately 61% of the total pizza market.  Independent operator’s revenue was $14.9 billion in 2015 while franchise revenue was $23.5 billion.  


Everyone loves a good pizza.  Whether its gourmet, frozen, or one of the many other options, this global favorite will not be burning out anytime soon. 


Sources:

https://wonderopolis.org/wonder/who-invented-pizza
https://www.franchisehelp.com/industry-reports/pizza-industry-report/
https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/12/popular-pizza-toppings_n_4261085.html
http://www.encyclopedia.com/sports-and-everyday-life/food-and-drink/food-and-cooking/pizza

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