Pizza Margherita celebrates its 131st birthday these days despite its sales decreased by about 50% (compered to 2019) due to the Covid-19 pandemic emergency and the long lockdown period. These problems persist even in the undergoing reopening, putting at risk 63 thousand pizzerias and about 200 thousand employees in Italy alone, according to Italian farmers association Coldiretti.
A letter from the head of table services of the Royal House of Savoy, Camillo Galli, who summoned the chef Raffaele Esposito from the Brandi pizzeria to the Palazzo di Capodimonte – the summer residence of the royal family – to prepare his famous pizzas for Queen Margherita, dates back to June 1889. Thus was born the most famous among Neapolitan pizzas: the pizza Margherita, topped with tomato, cow’s milk mozzarella, fresh basil, salt and oil.
Since then, the turnover of pizza in the world has exceeded 100 billion euros (source: Coldiretti), confirming itself as a treasure of Made in Italy food and a symbol of the global success of the Mediterranean diet. In fact, in 2017 UNESCO proclaimed the art of Neapolitan pizza makers as an intangible heritage of humanity.
PIZZA IN NUMBERS
In the pre-Covid-19 period, in Italy alone about 8 million pizzas were made using 200 million kilos of flour, 225 million kilos of mozzarella, 30 million kilos of olive oil and 260 million kilos of tomato sauce. The forced closure of restaurants and pizzerias had a devastating impact not only on businesses and employment but also on the entire agri-food system, given the importance of this market outlet for suppliers.
However, during the lockdown Italians did not want to give up their pizza margherita, trying to make it at home. In fact, sales of pizza preparations, kits and ingredients have doubled (+101%). With the first re-openings, many have instead resorted first to home delivery and then to takeaway in order not to miss the iconic Made in Italy dish.
THE TOP CONSUMER COUNTRIES IN THE WORLD (yearly kg per capita)