As an ultimate comfort food that people can quickly make at home, frozen pizza has done well during the pandemic.
Throughout the four-week period ending April 5, for instance, shoppers across the country purchased nearly twice as many frozen pizzas as they did during same period last year, according to market research firm IRI. In late July, Nestlé CFO François-Xavier Roger told investors that its North American frozen-food business experienced double-digit growth during the first half of 2020 thanks, in part, to increased sales of its DiGiorno and Hot Pockets pizza brands.
Wanting in on the action, Banza has extended its line of chickpea-based products into the frozen pizza category. Known for its pasta, rice and mac and cheese, along with its vibrant orange product packaging, the brand’s new offering boasts more protein and fewer carbs than the standard fare.
To promote its chickpea-based pizza, Banza is running its biggest ad campaign to date. The marketing effort, produced in-house, will run from October to February 2021 and include influencer marketing, out-of-home advertising and paid spots on social media.
The brand’s campaign argues that people shouldn’t feel guilty about consuming Banza’s frozen pizza, even if they do so on a frequent basis.
“People tend to designate one night of the week to pizza night, which is a lot less than people wish they were eating pizza,” said Nicole Landesman, vp of marketing at Banza.
And the timing certainly seems right. With the days of stockpiling shelf-stable food subsiding, evidence suggests shoppers are once again returning to healthier options. Nielsen sales figures provided by Banza show that better-for-you versions of frozen pizza (i.e. pizza crust made with legumes, cauliflower or almonds) grew 26% between May and August, outpacing demand for the more traditional variety, which increased 7% during the same time period.
The chickpea itself is also becoming more popular. Dozens of emerging food products, from meat and dairy alternatives to innovative condiments and dressings, contain the ingredient, according to data analytics firm Label Insight.
Banza’s new line of frozen pizza, which was in the works prior to the pandemic, comes in four varieties: margherita, four cheese, roasted veggie and plain crust. The products are available nationwide at retailers such as Target and Whole Foods, as well as online at Amazon and Banza’s own website.
Much like other CPG brands, Banza has seen an uptick in online orders since the outbreak of Covid-19. Brian Rudolph, CEO of the company, said ecommerce has increased “across the board,” whether that’s been on Amazon, Instacart, Target.com or the brand’s own platform.
Founded by Rudolph and his brother Scott in 2014, Banza currently sells its products in over 13,500 stores. Last November, the company received $20 million in additional funding led by Prelude Growth Partners and Enlightened Hospitality Investments.