Canadian Pizza Magazine

Millennial mindreading

By Canadian Pizza Staff   

News abacus data canadian pizza show canadian pizza summit david coletto millennial marketing millennials

Renowned marketing expert David Coletto sheds light on the preferences of millennial pizza lovers

David Coletto joined us at the Canadian Pizza Summit in October to talk about the millennial mindset and what it means for pizzerias and their marketing plans. Coletto, a self-described pizza lover, is chief executive officer of Abacus Data, a firm that does polling and research for businesses and analyzes the findings.

Coletto reminded us that Canadians aged 20 to 40 now outnumber baby boomers. But the reassuring news is that they are more the same than they are different from older generations.

The key difference – and the one that operators will need to remember – is that they must market, sell and communicate differently with millennials. This means being where your customers are: on social media such as Facebook and Instagram, and on web delivery platforms,


Things to know about millennials: More women are getting a post-secondary education than in the past. Another change is that 42 per cent of men do most of the cooking in households. Many new households are being formed as millennials move out from their parents’ homes and take steps toward independence.

Even weddings are changing. For example, these rites of passage are no longer all happening in banquet halls.

Millennials love to be connected: it’s like a dopamine fix for them, he said. Consumers have more power than ever and this can amplify both the good and the bad.

The 30-something consultant, who has made a name for himself and his company in political polling, shared results of a special poll he took of Canadian millennials and their pizza habits and preferences in collaboration with Canadian Pizza.

There is good news for pizzerias: 59 per cent of millennials say they love pizza compared to 47 per cent of generation X and 43 per cent of baby boomers. About a third of millennials say they are eating more pizza than they did last year. Pizza is growing in popularity and this is an opportunity for pizzerias, Coletto said.

The talk highlighted several points unearthed in the Abacus survey:

  • Millennials are adventurous and likely to try less-common toppings such as chicken or prosciutto.
  • Half say they like regular crust, while another 32 per cent prefer a thin crust.
  • They are more or less split on where the toppings sit on their pizza: 54 per cent prefer them underneath the cheese, while 45 per cent like them on top of the cheese.
  • Pizzeria must-haves for millennials include delivery (34 per cent), access to other foods besides pizza (18 per cent) and ingredients that are locally sourced (16 per cent).
  • Nice-to-haves include online ordering, vegan and vegetarian options, and delivery.

Coletto touched on the lighter – and very Canadian – topic of pineapple on pizza, noting 25 per cent believe it is blasphemy to put pineapple on pizza while 28 per cent say it’s tough to be friends with someone who likes pineapple on pizza.

So how do you go about making your business millennial-friendly? Coletto encouraged operators to tell the story of their food. People are looking for authenticity, which can mean different things to different people.

“Be genuine, be original and present an ‘honest interpretation’ of a classic,” he said. In other words, you don’t have to learn pizza making in Italy in order to serve an authentic version of it.

Making a connection is important. If you’re not online, you don’t exist to customers under 40, many of whom “Ask Google” to find nearby pizzerias.

Be aware of disruption: Meal kits, for example, are popular and a source of competition. Seven per cent subscribe to meal kits, eight per cent said they are likely to subscribe and 88 per cent are happy with the kits they order.

“Food unites us,” Coletto said in conclusion. “It’s a social experience. People are not always in an all-fired hurry to have their food. They will wait, as long as they are having a good experience.”

Print this page


Stories continue below