Canadian Pizza Magazine

From the Editor’s Desk: April/May 2006

By Cam Wood   

Features Trends

A better taste

Without question, we Canadians are getting more sophisticated in our tastes.

A better taste

Without question, we Canadians are getting more sophisticated in our tastes.

And despite the economic pressures of 2005, which are expected to whip up again with a hurricane-type vengeance this year, consumers still expect to find a level of sophistication throughout the buying chain.


Market analysts are predicting another difficult summer for the oil and gas industry in North America. Their outlook is rooted soundly in the dire warnings from marine meteorologists that 2006 will see its fair share of tropical torment.

For consumers, the impact hits their disposable income available for luxury items – such as dining out – as they continue to fuel up on less than economical modes of transportation. But what doesn’t fluctuate is the modern consumers’ demand for quality and a willingness to pay premiums for that quality.

Consider for one moment: consumers with a taste for quality and the reality of having less spending money. The idea forces more and more people further down the food chain, but it doesn’t change their expectations. The end result is a refined diner, searching for an affordable food experience without sacrificing their palate, and let’s be honest, a hint of snobbery. A five-star diner doesn’t change their taste because of tighter purse strings, they just seek out more affordable dining options that appeal to those tastes.

One of the easiest methods to appeal to these modern tastes is through one of the foundational elements of pizza – cheese.

Cheese consumption among Canadians has remained solid, while the new breed of “gourmet consumers” continue to fuel a demand for quality, taste and something unique. A recent food survey revealed that over 20 per cent of us consider ourselves gourmet diners. And, we’re willing to shell out to maintain these little luxuries while scrimping and saving elsewhere.

Canadian pizzaiolos have the opportunity to continue their quest to be among the world’s best pizza makers and use this economic pressure to their advantage. Rather than reacting in fear of competitive pricing dropping to an even lower point, pizzaiolos must serve the discriminating consumer – the kind of consumer who will evolve into a loyal repeat buyer – because they will make a conscious effort to find quality food, not cheap prices.

With the tough times that exist today, as consumers we feel an emotional need to treat ourselves. And with pizza, it makes sense to find a treat beyond the stereotypical “grease wheel” of the past. Food is an indulgence many of us are willing to explore and seek out a feeling of decadence that will wash away the day’s stresses.

It has value on both an economic and psychological level.

Sure, cheap-price pizza buyers will always exist and will never demonstrate loyalty. They are motivated by one purchase decision and one only – who has the lowest price for the largest pizza with the highest number of topping selections. They are a different breed, one that will not alter their habits and explore new cheese blends, organic dough or non-traditional toppings.

But the emergence of the new, more discriminating consumer could mean a whole new menu. •

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