Before the pandemic, you might have been wondering how someone would have come up with the idea of a frozen pizza. But with the coming of the corona pandemic and the lockdown and the buying and storing of foodstuffs, it would naturally make sense to you, at least it makes sense to me.
This article will look at the origin of the frozen pizza idea, how it took the pizza market by storm, and how it has developed and evolved into an ordinary reality for those who love pizza. Please sit back and enjoy the ride as we take you through the course of history.
With the invention and advancement of technology, there is always a need for new ideas and new ways of doing things. Before the invention of the fridge, you could not store your food for long. This meant that farm produce had to be transported to the nearest destination and the farm products consumed as fast as possible. This was important so that the food produce would not get worse.
But with the invention of the technology on how to preserve food, we got to discover that it was possible to preserve things longer, such as meat, vegetables, dairy products, and even pizza. By the late 1940s, the pizza was already making waves in the United States and getting a lot of attention.
This attention was further increased when the soldiers fought in the second world war and returned from Italy. This post-war boom in the pizza market also meant that pizzerias had to develop a way to be unique and outshine others.
Hence pizzerias took advantage of the freezer invention and came up with producing pizza that could be taken and prepared at home. Right now, the idea of having a frozen pizza can make sense to you, but it was not always like that in the beginning.
People were used to the everyday life of going into a restaurant and ordering their fresh pizzas straight from the oven. The frozen pizza gave them the option of preparing their pizzas at home whenever they wanted it.
Earliest forms of frozen pizza
The first restaurants that sold these frozen pizzas started by selling frozen unbaked pizza. All the customers had to do was pop this pizza in the oven, bake them, and have them ready. In the early days of this invention, most people did not give it attention. Some saw frozen pizza as food for kids whose parents were too busy and the easiest way to make food available.
Also, this initial production of frozen pizza was problematic, and many customers made a lot of complaints. This is because these unbaked frozen pizzas turned out to be soggy, and they had had a crumbly dough and tasteless toppings when they were prepared at home by customers.
The reason for this problem was that ice crystals interrupted the chemical process of the dough. Ice crystals will form when the dough is freezing; this will break down the gluten in the dough and affect the cellular structure of the pizza toppings that were frozen. This meant that things had to be done differently for this frozen pizza business to thrive.
Chefs came up with the idea of pre-baking the pizza crust before freezing it to preserve the crust structure. Other pizzerias used the flash-freezing method to prevent ice crystals from forming during the freezing stage.
This was an improvement in doing things, it made some difference to the texture of the dough, but the taste of toppings was still questionable. But these were the first necessary changes made by pizzerias to improve the quality of the frozen pizza.
Which Pizza chain really invented frozen pizza?
It is good to be aware that when the frozen pizza business started, it was produced by different local pizza restaurants. There was no pizza chain or restaurant that you could point to or claim the rights as the owners and starters of this idea. So, it would not be easy actually to know who began this idea.
But the earliest pizza chain that began to gain national popularity with the frozen pizza trend is attributed most times to the Celentano Brothers based in Newark. They opened a specialty shop in 1947, and they sold freshly made ingredients for Italian cooking, such as meat and cheese.
They later applied this technique to pizza, producing frozen pizzas meant to be prepared at home. While some will attribute the beginning of national popularity of frozen pizza to Celentano Brothers, others see Totino as the first pizza chain to make it significant nationally with the frozen pizza brand.
While it would be difficult to say which of them made it first nationally, we cannot deny that Totino made it big when it came national popularity of the frozen pizza brand. Totino was a pizzeria in Minneapolis started by a couple, Rose and Jim Totino, in 1952.
They entered the frozen pizza business and started the mass production of their frozen pizza brand, and they were considered the best-selling company nationally. In the 1970s, their annual sales of frozen pizza went from $10 million in one year to $50 million in another year.
Although the frozen pizza business was really gaining momentum and many brands had joined this lucrative business, there was still a problem. All the brands involved in the business had to pre-bake their dough to reduce or minimize the tendency for the crust to be soggy and wet and the toppings being tasteless.
Revolution of Frozen Pizza
Many food scientists were studying and researching ways to improve the frozen pizza dilemma. Then in 1995, there was a breakthrough and a big revolution to how things were done. Most frozen pizza brands had to deal with the problem of chewy crusts and rubbery cheese because of the freezing difficulty.
The scientists at Kraft’s food came up with using a rising crust to solve the problem, which was sold under the DiGiorno pizza brand name. Using freezing technology, they could sell frozen pizza, which the dough did not have to be pre-baked.
This technology featured a dough that rises as it is being baked. This new feat was achieved by adding different food additives such as yeast, oils, and baking soda to the dough. These ingredients helped strengthen the dough and keep it hydrated rather than dry as the old frozen pizza doughs.
Best Frozen Pizza brands
Some pizzerias and pizza brands have perfected the art of making excellent frozen pizza, and you get to have them just like the fresh pizzas sold at the restaurants. The brands to look out for include DiGiorno, Schwan, Cappello’s, Spinato’s, Amy’s, UDI’s, Roberta’s Pizza, Caulipower, and American Flatbread company.
These are just some of the brands that offer the best option when it comes to frozen pizza. If you are looking for the best option, you could begin with any of the brands stated above.
Before the technological advancement that we have now, gluten was necessary for the flour to give it the right chewy texture that a crust is supposed to have. One of the early problems faced by the frozen pizza brand was that the ice crystals formed during the freezing period broke down the gluten.
This break down of gluten was producing a crumbly crust. With the advancement and new revolution of the frozen pizza brand, you can freeze a gluten-free crust, and your crust will still be perfect when you prepare it at home.
If you are also trying to avoid many carbs, there is a frozen pizza made from cassava flour and arrowroot. You still get to enjoy your frozen pizza and not compromise your health.
The advantage with this advancement is that you get to have a perfect crust, and you also have a crust that is perfect for those who are gluten intolerant made from cauliflower. So, the revolution of frozen pizza has also made it possible for those who are sensitive to gluten to get the opportunity of preparing their pizzas at home.
Impact of the frozen pizza revolution
Although the frozen pizza brand’s innovation caught a lot of attention in the 50s, 70s, and 80s, many people were not patronizing it because of the soggy crust problem, the tasteless vegetables. And some people saw it as food for children whose parents were busy working and had no time to cook.
But with the innovation of the frozen pizza brand in 1995, the sales and market value for frozen pizzas skyrocketed, making it a dollar billion market. Since its first sale of the new frozen pizza idea from Kraft foods, DiGiornor has made a lot of profits.
For the last two decades, their annual sales stand at more than $1 billion. They continue to be the top sellers of the frozen pizza brand here in the US. Freschetta by the pizza chain Schwan is another brand that also came up with its self-rising crust, and although DiGiorno has sued them for copyrights, they have also raked in millions of dollars.
The frozen pizza business in the US is so lucrative that the market is worth $5 billion presently, and the global market is worth double and stands at about $11 billion. We can undoubtedly say that the frozen pizza business will be around for a very long time. The market keeps increasing day by day, and with the lockdown and uncertainty of the Corona pandemic, this year might go down in history as the year with the highest sales of frozen pizzas.
Is Frozen Pizza Healthy?
There is a tendency for a frozen pizza to become less healthy because of the high contents of fats, sodium, additives, preservatives, and refined carbs. This, in total, may not be good for the health of your heart if you are eating this frequently. If you eat frozen pizza once in a while, this might not really impact your health.
To keep things healthy, try to choose frozen pizza that does not use artificial preservatives because they are not healthy. Also, go for the frozen pizza option that contains a lot of protein, or use food that contains high protein as accompaniment.
Try to avoid frozen pizzas that contain a lot of processed meat, such as ham and pepperoni. Choose a pizza that has a lot of veggies as toppings and one with a thinner crust. Taking these steps can help you eat frozen pizza in a more beneficial way to your health.
How Long Does Frozen Pizza last?
The shelf life of pizza depends on a lot of varieties. First, you have to consider what ingredients the pizza is made with, the preparation method, the sell y date factor, and the means of storage.
Roughly a frozen pizza should last between a year to a year and a half. But it would be essential to look at the date it was manufactured to the “best by” date as stated on the packaging wrap. This will enable you to know how long your frozen pizza will last.
Can I Microwave my Frozen Pizza?
It would be advisable to prepare your frozen pizza in your oven before consumption. Putting it in the microwave might not cook it thoroughly, and you might end up eating half-cooked food, which in turn is not suitable for your health. So, endeavor to cook all your frozen pizza in the oven, a stovetop, an air fryer or a grill before consumption.
The frozen pizza brand has made many impacts and has also undergone many changes, and it keeps getting bigger. The impact of lockdown from the coronavirus brought about an increase in the frozen pizza market. The demand doubled than the usual.
We can say that we in this generation will be more grateful for the frozen pizza idea more than anyone else because we have benefited more from it. If you are yet to try out this option, you should head to the closest pizza chain and make your order. It should be fun trying to prepare your pizza from home.