(CBS Local) — As if shortages of hand sanitizer and toilet paper weren’t bad enough. Now, there’s a shortage of frozen pizzas.
Americans have bought approximately $275 million worth of frozen pizza since the start of the coronavirus pandemic in March. That’s an increase of 92 percent compared to the same time last year, according to Ad Week, citing stats from data analytics firm IRI.
“It’s incredible,” says Gina Bolger, vice president of branding for Home Run Inn Pizza, which is churning out as many as 85,000 pizzas a day at its 60,000-square-foot factory in Woodridge, Illinois.
“We equate this to every day being like Super Bowl Sunday — the orders don’t stop. The demand is through the roof. We’re trying to keep up as best we can,” she says.
How much frozen pizza are people buying? According to data analytics firm IRI, Americans filled their shopping carts with $275 million worth of the stuff for the four weeks ending April 5. That’s a 92% increase from the same period a year ago. https://t.co/ltrlB5FOCf
— Adweek (@Adweek) April 16, 2020
“I’ve been in this business over 25 years, [and] I’ve never seen a spike like this across the country,” said Newman’s Own president and COO Dave Best, who says sales of his company’s frozen pizzas have spiked 190 percent since the coronavirus crisis began. “This is unprecedented,” he added.
The experts say shoppers are hoarding frozen pizza because it’s affordable, easy to make and tends to be a crowd-pleasing family favorite. Pizzas also can last a long time in the freezer, which can be helpful for a country that largely remains homebound under stay-at-home orders.
Due to the high demand, some stores are limiting the amount of frozen pizzas customers can purchase in one outing. One shopper shared an image of a Whole Foods sign warning customers that only four units of frozen pizza could be purchased in order to “support all customers.”
Limit 4 units of frozen pizza what is this a managed futures program? pic.twitter.com/nkKFiIVDAW
— Phillip Streible (@PStreible) April 17, 2020
“When living in uncertain times — as many of us are right now — we’re seeing a rise in consumers turning to much-loved comfort foods,” says Ashley Lind, director of demand sciences at Celeste pizza parent Conagra Brands, whose frozen pizza business has grown by over 100 percent from this time a year ago.
“Frozen pizza checks a lot of these boxes for consumers,” he adds.