No matter how you slice it, Americans love pizza. We eat 23 pounds of the stuff every single year. We take down 350 slices every second. Calling pizza a staple of the American diet would be a huge understatement.
But pizza’s powers waft beyond the borders of the US. Our cheese-laden love affair has also extended to the rest of the world. It’s cheesy, delicious, and available just about anywhere you go. In honor of National Pizza Week, here are 20 fun facts about everyone’s favorite dinner… and lunch… and breakfast (when cold).
1. Pizza didn’t gain popularity until the 1950s, but the word “pizza” actually dates back more than a thousand years. A manuscript from 997 A.D. found in the small Italian town Gaeta, is the first known documentation of the word, Italian newspaper La Repubblica reported.
2. The first documented pizzeria in the world was opened in Port’Alba, Naples. It was called Antica Pizzeria, and it also responsible for creating the Margherita pizza in honor of Queen Margherita of Italy.
3. The first pizzeria in the United States was Lombardi’s in New York City. Lombardi’s was originally a grocery store, but started selling pizzas in 1905, long before the explosion of other pizzerias came on the scene in the late 1940s.
4. World War II soldiers are responsible for the spread of pizza. Soldiers who were stationed in Italy grew to love pizza and brought the idea back to the States — some of them opening up pizzerias themselves.
5. According to Pizza Today, pepperoni is the most popular pizza topping in America. More than 250 million pounds of the stuff is served atop slices every year.
6. No surprise here, but the United States is one of the biggest consumers of pizza worldwide. Pizza has become a $38 billion industry in the country.
7. According to Pizza Today, 3 billion pizzas are sold every year in the United States.
8. There are 70,000 pizzerias currently operating in the U.S. New York state is home to 9,000 of those — lots of those being located in the five boroughs that are famous for their New York style pizzas. Pizzerias represent 17% of all restaurants in the country.
9. Does anyone not eat pizza? According to the USDA, 93 percent of Americans have at least one slice per month.
10. About 13 percent of Americas eat pizza on any given day, according to the USDA. That’s about one in eight people in the United States.
11. The Louis XIII is the most expensive pizza in the world, and it’s made by Master Chef Renato Viola. Toppings include lobster, buffalo mozzarella, three different types of caviar, squilla mantis (a type of shrimp), and Australian pink salt. All this comes with a price tag of about $12,000 USD.
12. The world’s largest pizza was baked on December 13, 2012, according to the Guinness World Records. The pizza was gluten-free and was made in order to help rain awareness about health-conscious food choices.
13. The price of a slice of pizza in New York City has been on pace with the price of a New York City subway ride since the 1960s. This parallel is known as the “Pizza Principle.”
14. If pizza didn’t already have all of the things you love about food, the Scottish take it one step further. Across the pond, they offer pizza deep-fried instead of baked.
15. Astronauts love pizza too. NASA commissioned an Austin-based tech company to create a 3D printer that could make pizzas with a variety of toppings and sauces for astronauts.
16. Pizza Hut is one of the world’s largest pizza chains, with over 5.5 million in sales in the United States alone, according to Pizza Magazine.
17. Online ordering today seems like a no-brainer, but it hasn’t always been around. In 2001, Papa John’s became the first pizza chain to offer an online ordering option. According to the company’s records, by 2008, more than $1 billion came in from online sales and another $1 million from mobile phone orders…
18. But the very first pizza ordered by computer actually happened in 1974. The Artificial Language Laboratory at Michigan State was testing its new “speaking computer,” and tried out the technology by order a pepperoni, ham, and sausage pizza from a local pizzeria.
19. Originally, pizzas in Italy were square-shaped, also known today as the Sicilian cut. Those first pies would have also contained Romano instead of Mozzarella cheese.
20. Eggs are a common topping in Australia. Common toppings in Japan include mayonnaise and squid. Brazilians go for green peans, and in India it’s pickled ginger and minced mutton.
21. Philadelphia hosts a pizza museum called Pizza Brain. The attraction is home to the largest collection of pizza memorabilia in the world.
22. More pizzas are sold on Halloween than any other night of the year. The night before Thanksgiving, New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day, and Super Bowl Sunday are also major sales days for pizza joints.
23. And the least common day to order pizza? Thanksgiving. Jan. 5 is the average day of the year with the lowest sales — presumably because of previous holiday indulgence and New Year’s resolutions.
24. Saturday night is the most common night to eat pizza, according to UberEATS.
25. Pizza fans pack themselves into the International Pizza Expo, held every year in Las Vegas. Now in its 35th year, the next expo will be held March 4 – 7, 2019, so sign up now.
Also see, Pizza can make you more productive.