How can beverage brands secure a slice of success in Italy’s Pizzeria Scene?

In Italy, pizzerias are more than just places to eat; they are integral part of daily life that present an essential touchpoint for beverage brands. With beer as the preferred choice followed by wine, pizzerias offer a strategic opportunity—but are beverage brands effectively leveraging this outlet?

To read the article in Italian, click here/ Clicca qui per leggere il blog in italiano


Pizzerias are the most frequented dining venues in Italy with 74% of consumers visiting them, surpassing bars (65%) and restaurants (64%) in popularity. For beverage brands, this presents a valuable opportunity to elevate performance and grow market share in Italy’s dynamic On Premise. 


Beer is the beverage of choice in pizzerias; 40% of pizzeria-goers opt for local or domestic beers, while 28% prefer imported or craft varieties.  There is also potential for wine manufacturers; sparkling wines, including prosecco, are chosen by 23% of pizzeria-goers. Meanwhile, whilst pizzerias are not a typical heartland for spirits, Spritz and Aperitifs may offer the serve strategy required to unlock headroom opportunity and drive relevance. 


Accounting for 18% of beer drinkers’ total spend, pizzerias offer enormous potential – particularly for beer brands. So how can brand owners maximise this opportunity and expand distribution in this sector? 


In Italy’s diverse HoReCa landscape, Pizzeria outlets are marked by nuanced regional differences.  CGA by NIQ’s Outlet Index provides an in-depth look at the licensed outlets that make up Italy’s HoReCa landscape, unveiling key insights into the number of outlets in particular areas, their distribution dynamics, and defining characteristics across the nation.  


The country hosts 34,406 pizzerias, with Molise, Puglia, Sicilia, Basilicata, Calabria, and Campania comprising of 34% of the total outlets, notably leading in size of market, commercial activity and consumer presence.  


While 27% of pizzerias are in big cities, 73% are found in smaller locales. Coastal regions house 40% of outlets, contrasting with a mere 2% in mountainous areas. Tourist footfall significantly influences pizzeria success, with 64% located in high or medium-high tourism areas. 


Outlet Index enables brand owner to identify high-potential outlets, with 72% in central and semi-central areas and 82% in high or medium-high tourism regions. These prime outlets are key targets for beverage brands aiming to maximize their reach and impact.


Pizzeria chains, though a small fraction of the market, offer strategic opportunities due to their concentrated presence in key urban centres. Over 75% of prominent pizzeria chains are located in Lombardia, Piemonte, Liguria, and Valle D’Aosta—areas known for their affluence and tourist activity. This urban concentration underscores the importance of these locations for market penetration and brand visibility. However, while chains play a significant role, their influence is not dominant, highlighting a diverse retail landscape where independent and smaller retailers also wield substantial influence. 


CGA by NIQ’s OPUS (On Premise User Survey) reveals that beer brand choices and preferences vary by demographic, occasion, and channel. Value for money drives 33% of beer choices, while recommendations from bar staff (19%) are increasingly influential, (+5pp vs YA). This shift indicates that, in addition to robust distribution strategies and compelling sales narratives, beer brands must invest in bar staff advocacy to drive recommendations and sales. 


Daniela Cardaciotto, On Premise Sales Leader, said, “The intricate and competitive Italian retail landscape, influenced by regional variations, tourism dynamics, and strategic chain considerations, requires a nuanced understanding for effective market navigation. Beverage brands must recognize that each venue type, influenced by geography and tourism, shows different affinities for beverage categories. By leveraging our On Premise insights, beer and other beverage brands can strategically expand their presence and maximize their impact in this lucrative sector. The key lies in recognizing the substantial gains available and developing tailored strategies to capture this vibrant market.” 


CGA by NIQ’s On Premise solutions provide valuable insights for businesses, facilitating targeted distribution lists, tailored sales stories, and activation approaches that capitalize on market trends and consumer preferences. For beverage brands, understanding and leveraging these insights can unlock significant opportunities in the thriving pizzeria sector, driving growth and success in the Italian market. Contact us today! 

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