Why is pizza so expensive?

What is the average cost of pizza and why is it so expensive? In this article, we discuss everything to do with pizza prices. We calculate the price of homemade vs frozen pizza to find out which one is cheaper. Also, is homemade pizza the best?

How expensive is an average pizza?

According to a one study, the average cost of a pizza in the US, across all 52 states, is around $8-$9. To be exact, I calculated the overall average based on their findings to be $8.89.

Average pizza
The average pizza in the US is around $8-$9

Bear in mind that not every pizza place serves the same size pizza, so they couldn’t choose one size. Instead, they averaged the price of all pizzas served at each pizza place. In other words, $8-$9 is the average price of the average sized pizza in the US!

Unfortunately we don’t have the figures for the average size of a pizza but I would estimate that to be around 10-12 inches.

How much is a pizza in New York?

According to the study, the average price of a pizza in New York is $9.20. Bear in mind that this is the price for an average sized pizza of probably somewhere between 10-12 inches.

Average New York pizza
In New York the average pizza is $9.20

This price is towards the more expensive range of pizza prices within the USA, with only a handful of states having a higher average price. This is perhaps to be expected though given the generally high demand for pizza and the typically higher business rates.

How much is a slice of pizza in NY?

A more affordable way to eat pizza in New York is by the slice. Many pizza places in NY serve slices individually from a large pizza. According to Bloomberg, the average price of a slice of pizza in NY is $3.14.

The New York slice costs around $3.14 on average

Some of these slices are rally big too, so they can represent pretty good value. This is especially true when you consider some places sell them for as little as $1! Although I think it’s fair to say you probably wouldn’t be getting the same quality as a $3 slice.

Average pizza price in the UK

Based on a study carried out in the UK, I calculated the average price of a pizza from the most popular pizza chains to be £15.20 (around $19).

In the UK, the average price of a pizza from the popular chains was found to be £15.20 (around $19)

As with the average US price, this was calculated by taking the average cost of all sizes of pizza offered. But in this case, the sizes of the pizzas were listed so I could calculate the average size. The average pizza size in the UK came to 11.5 inches.

Why is pizza so expensive in the UK?

One of the reasons pizzas in the UK tend to be so expensive could be due to the demand for pizza exceeding the supply. This would almost certainly cause the price to increase.

Pizza is by no means the most popular takeaway food in the UK but the demand is still quite high. However, it seems that there may be a relatively low number of pizza places compared to other takeaways.

One reason for the cost of pizza in the UK could be due to demand outweighing supply

According to a poll carried out by yougov, just 12% of Brits chose pizza as their favourite takeaway. 25% of Brits chose Chinese as their favourite and overall they rated Indian food and Fish and Chips higher. Perhaps pizza gets overlooked by business owners in the UK?

Also, the UK has National VAT (GST) at 20% where the USA doesn’t have any VAT(GST). This has to be taken into account when considering the price difference in any goods.

Additionally, in London specifically, rates (rent) for businesses (and individuals) are very high. This almost certainly increases the cost to end users.

What’s the most expensive part of a pizza?

This may suprise you but the most expensive part of a Margherita pizza is almost certainly the cheese. In fact, the rest of the ingredients are relatively inexpensive.

Most expensive part of a pizza
The most expensive part of a pizza is generally the cheese

The ingredients in the pizza dough itself are fairly inexpensive since a large proportion of the dough is just water. The rest of the dough contains flour, salt, and yeast (and sometimes sugar). The salt, yeast, and sugar are used in very small quantities and flour is relatively inexpensive too, especially when purchased in large catering sized bags.

Cheese is relatively expensive compared to these ingredients and it also tends to be used in quite large quantities.

However, if you order a meat pizza, such as a pepperoni, the meat may be the most ecpensive part of the pizza. This is why meat pizzas are usually quite a bit more expensive.

Why is pepperoni expensive?

As with any meat, pepperoni requires quite a lot of proccessing before it reaches the consumer. This makes the cost per gram relatively high. Also, the cost of pepperoni specifically has been increasing recently.

Pepperoni pizza slice
Pepperoni is also one of the most expensive pizza ingredients

The price increase of pepperoni has largely been attributed to a knock on effect from the coronavirus pandemic. Pork production slowed down which almost certainly directly effected the availability of pepperoni, thereby increasing it’s cost. Of course, this is supply and demand.

Also, the popularity of pizza seems to be on the rise, increasing the demand for pepperoni as a result. Unfortunately, this all means that consumers have to pay more for their pepperoni pizza.

Is it expensive to make pizza?

The bottom line is that pizza isn’t very expensive to make. The raw ingredients are relatively cheap and the cooking time is relatively short.

Making pizza
Pizza is not actually very expensive to make

Also, when the ingredients are bought in bulk, the cost comes down massively. Even making pizza at home is cheap, but for a takeaway or restaurant, it is even cheaper.

What’s the markup on pizza?

According to one estimate, the cost of a pepperoni pizza to a takeaway could be as little as $1.90, and with a retail price of $14. This translates to a markup of 636%!

Additionally, this estimate included the rent, labour, energy costs, and any franchise fees, as well as the cost of the raw ingredients themselves. Perhaps starting that pizza shop is a good idea after all?!

The markup on some pizza could be as high as 636%!

Of course, not all pizza places will have a markup this large. Many places charge much less for their pizza and some will experience higher costs. But I think this goes to show the potential markup on pizza.

Is frozen pizza cheaper?

Frozen pizza is almost always significantly cheaper than takeaway pizza. It is usually produced in large factories where costs can be massively reduced when compared to pizza shops. Additionally, cheaper ingredients are often used, although not always.

According to Statista, the average price of a frozen pizza in the US was $3.34 in 2016. Taking roughly 20% inflation into account, that equates to around $4.

Frozen pizza
The average frozen pizza is around $4

If we compare the average frozen pizza at $4 to the average takeaway pizza at $8-$9, we can see that the frozen pizza is less than half the price. Clearly this represents a nice saving but can we do better?

Is Homemade pizza better than frozen pizza?

Homemade pizza is almost certainly better than frozen pizza. Just like with fresh bread, freshly made dough makes a huge difference in terms of taste and texture. In addition, higher quality ingredients can gerenally be used in a homemade pizza.

Homemade pizza can be some of the most delicious food

With homemade pizza, you also have the option to do a long prove, of say around 24 hours, to enhance the taste and texture. In contrast, frozen pizzas are usually made with a very short prove in order to save time and money.

In fact, with many frozen pizzas the dough isn’t proved at all. For me, this is a travesty. I see yeast as the magic ingredient since it helps to produce flavour as well as massively improved texture. In my opinion, pizza without yeast is not pizza – it’s flatbread.

Light and airy pizza
Yeast is the “magic” ingredient that can produces crusts like this!

Most frozen pizza also contains preservatives which can be detrimental to the quality of the pizza, as well as raising health concerns. Many frozen pizzas contain higher levels of salt, sugar, and fat when compared to their homemade counterparts.

In my opinion, good homemade pizza is better than most takeaway pizzas and even restaurant pizzas. Many pizza places don’t even make fresh dough and to me, all great pizza starts with the dough.

Is homemade pizza cheaper than frozen?

The good news is that homemade pizza can be cheaper than frozen pizza. In fact, depending on the ingredients selected, it can be significantly cheaper. I calculated the average cost of a homemade pizza to be $1.10, much cheaper than the average price of a frozen pizza at around $4.

Below, I have calculated the cost of a 10 inch homemade Margherita pizza using roughly average priced ingredients.

IngredientWeight (g)Cost ($)
Flour (00)1500.37
Tomato Sauce (Tin)350.07
Mozzarella (Grated)650.60
Olive Oil (Extra Virgin)70.06
Total Cost$1.10
Table showing cost of ingredients in homemade pizza

As we can see from the table above, the cost of homemade pizza can be much cheaper than frozen. I haven’t included any meat in the costing but I only used roughly “average” priced ingredients. To save money you could select cheaper ingredients.

Homemade pizza ingredients
The ingredients for homemade pizza are relatively cheap

It’s also worth noting that with these average priced ingredients, they will still generally be of higher quality than most frozen pizzas.

With the flour, for example, I have assumed a price of around $2.50 per 1kg bag. For this price you should be able to get some very high quality Italian 00 pizza flour. Considering how little the ingredients cost, I don’t think it’s worth skimping on the flour since it can make a huge difference to the quality of the dough.

Why is pizza so expensive?

I think it’s fair to say that the main reason why pizza is so expensive is due to the time involved in it’s production. The cost of the ingredients themselves are quite low but there is a lot of hands-on work required to make pizza, particularly when compared to most types of fast food.

Stretching Neapolitan pizza
Pizza takes quite a lot of time, but you can make it at home – and it’s fun!

However, pizza doesn’t have to be expensive. In fact, homemade pizza is very affordable. It’s cheaper than restarants, takeaways, and even frozen pizza!

Homemade pizza is also incredible! Using quality ingredients and time-tested methods, you make a pizza at home that is better than almost anything you can buy. It’s also very satisfying when you make a beautiful pizza. It takes practice, but try it out, you may just love it!

Neapolitan sourdough pizza
With a bit of practice, you could be making amazing homemade pizza like this

Take a look at my recipe for Authentic Neapolitan pizza here. Delicious Italian homemade pizza is just around the corner!

Tom Rothwell from My Pizza Corner eating homemade pizza

About Me

I’m Tom Rothwell and I’m super passionate about all kinds of homemade pizza! In the last few years I've been on a quest to find the perfect pizza. Now I'm sharing what I've found out with the world!

Ooni Karu 16
Tom Rothwell's Ooni pizza oven

My Pizza Oven

I often get asked what type of oven I use for my pizzas. Well, I use a pizza oven made by a company called Ooni.

The range of pizza ovens that Ooni offers is just brilliant. They cover all bases, and all price points. There's affordable and portable models such as the Fyra 12 Pizza Oven and then there's state-of-the-art models such as the Karu 16 Pizza Oven pictured below.

In all honesty, I would say that the oven makes a huge difference. If you're looking to make authentic Italian pizza, a pizza oven is a must.

Pizza cooked in Ooni pizza oven

By clicking the link below and purchasing from Ooni, you would be supporting this website. I've been using their ovens for a long time now and I wouldn't recommend them if I didn't believe in their products.

Time to make some amazing pizza!

K16 - US
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Tom Rothwell from My Pizza Corner eating homemade pizza

About Me

I’m Tom Rothwell and I’m super passionate about all kinds of homemade pizza! In the last few years I've been on a quest to find the perfect pizza. Now I'm sharing what I've found out with the world!

Ooni Accessories