Pizza Express increased supermarket lines by 10% this year: chain shifted 2019 strategy towards retail before difficulties

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Restaurant chain Pizza Express has been slowly shifting its focus to retail product lines, growing them by 10% in the past year, according to analysis from global e-commerce insights business, Edge by Ascential.

Analysts from Edge by Ascential examined the historical data across the major supermarkets for the Pizza Express range from the period between 1 January and 8 October 2019, discovering that total Pizza Express product lines in the past year have grown by around 10%, spearheaded by a specific focus on its products like salad dressing that sit outside of its pizza ranges. 

This was in complete contrast to the company’s strategic focus in 2018 – where analysts found that despite there being changeable ranges in supermarkets, there was no growth in listings in either pizza or salad dressing.

Pizza Express retail products are manufactured on license by All About Foods Ltd, which also produces supermarket products for other restaurant chains such as GBK, Wahaca and Nando’s, which are brands that have also increased supermarket product lines:

  • Nando’s has seen a huge increase in supermarket listings since 1 Jan 2018, with the number of products growing consistently by 38%, largely in cooking and dry sauces.
  • Moreover, following the closure of 17 restaurants in 2018, Gourmet Burger Kitchen focused on introducing a number of new listings throughout 2018, showing it was putting more focus on retail.
  • From the end of 2017 to mid-2018, there was significant growth in the number of Wahaca product listings. However in July/August 2018, it lost a large number of listings in Ocado and Tesco. Since then the number of Wahaca products has not recovered. 

Chris Elliott, insight manager at Edge by Ascential, said: “The increase in Pizza Express product lines in the big supermarkets is part of a growing trend we’ve recognised as the ailing chain restaurant industry shifts focus away from the dining experience by diversifying not just into retail but even outside of primary products in a bid to secure additional revenue.

“We’re noticing this with a number of popular restaurant brands that have deals with manufacturers like All About Foods Ltd. It’s a wise move but not a complete panacea, especially for smaller brands like Wahaca that can overcommit too early and have to scale back quickly due to low demand.

“Pizza Express is a popular brand and many consumers would be sad to see it disappear so it will be interesting to see how the issues facing the restaurant side of the business affect the retail range. Traditional FMCG brands also need to up their game on supermarket shelves in the face of this increased competition as consumers have a greater opportunity to recreate their favourite restaurant experiences at home. ”