Food Trends / Industry News

Pepperoni is Tops Among Favorite Pizza Toppings

By Lauren R. Hartman, Product Development Editor

Feb 24, 2016

pizza close up 187694While vegetarian foods are gaining a lot of ground in the U.S., Americans love pizza, and can't seem to get enough of it. Many think it's a comfort food. A Harris Poll issued Feb. 23 asked Americans about what they like and don't like in pizza and where to find the best. Pepperoni topped their list of favorite pizza toppings. Anchovies, by contrast, topped the list of least favorite add-ons. Veggies ranked four out of five of the least favorite toppings coming in after anchovies. Mushrooms aren't a top topping either.

And in the great debate over where to find the best, New York style still rages with Chicago deep dish. Americans answered that New York is seen as the best state to get a good slice while Illinois lands second. These are some of the results of The Harris Poll, which surveyed 2,193 U.S. adults online from January 13-18.

However, pizza toppings are just the the cherry on top -- a solid foundation can make or break the meal. Regarding the all-important crust, there's no majority rule on the style, although 29 percent prefer thin-crust. A bit more distantly, 18 percent of adults like regular crust, 15 percent favor deep-dish and 14 percent want stuffed crust. Fewer than one in 10 prefer thick-crust (9 percent), French bread style (4 percent), or Sicilian crust (3 percent).

What's key is how generation factors in the type of crust people prefer: Millennials don't just want toppings on their pizza; they want it in their pizza. Stuffed crust is the number-one pick for this group, while all other generations default to thin crust as their preferred choice.

Six percent said they have no preference when it comes to the crust type, while a mere 2 percent may be missing out on all pizza has to offer, as they said they don't eat pizza at all.

While Americans may be more or less united in eating pizza, they're also pretty aligned about what they don't like on it. Anchovies are the least preferred topping, though beyond that, one person's treasure seems to be another's trash, as most other top 10 favorites also appear on the least favorites list. Mushrooms fall second, followed by pineapple, onions and olives to round out the top five. Pepperoni and sausage are the number-one and number-two favorites. Yet pepperoni is sixth on the least favorite list. Peppers and sausage rank seventh and eighth, while meat in general falls ninth. And an ordinary pizza just won't do for some, as a plain cheese pizza rounds out the list of top 10 least favorites.

Where to find the best pizza? New York and Illinois top the list of states with the best pizza, with California landing in the third spot. But the rankings are much different when looking across the regions:

--Those in the East stick to the East coast, through and through. New York is number-one, followed by Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
--Americans in the Midwest maintain that Illinois has the best pizza, while they settle for New York as second; Ohio and Michigan tie for third place.
--Those in the South jump all over the map, from New York at number-one, to Illinois at second and Texas taking spot number-three.
--Westerners stay with their roots, with California in the number-one spot; New York and Illinois round out their top three.
The online Harris Poll was conducted in English within the U.S., with 193 adults aged 18 and over. Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary, to bring them in line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online.

More information about Harris polls and the full results of the study, including data tables, can be found here.