It’s difficult to find people who don’t like pizza. And here in Italy, pizza-haters are so rare they’re almost mythical.
But the full extent of the country’s love for pizza has been revealed in a study by the Osservatorio Buitoni Culinary Lab, who surveyed some 2,500 Italians aged 20-55, Italian media reports.
52 percent said they ate pizza “at least once a week” and 34 percent said they gave in to the temptation to eat pizza “whenever they wanted.”
Most people said they enjoyed sharing, and ten percent said they often have pizza for Sunday lunch. But only four percent said they’d eat pizza every single day.
Proscuitto e funghi, or ham and mushroom, was the most popular pizza topping chosen by 32 percent of people surveyed. A classic margherita was the preferred choice of 27 percent, while 34 percent prefer their pizza piled high with different toppings.
But of course, not all pizza is created equal. And the survey shows that Italians are, to absolutely no-one’s surprise, extremely fussy about their pizza.
42 percent say they’ll only eat pizza with a ‘very thin’ crust, while 12 percent prefer a thicker base - as long as the dough is well risen. Three Italians out of 10 (33 percent), on the other hand, consider the typical thick Neapolitan crust to be fundamental.
42 percent prefer to eat at a pizzeria, while 39 percent would rather order delivery and 12 percent get takeout.
Apart from the taste, respondents said they loved pizza because it’s cheap, portable and satisfying.
One Italian in ten said pizza made them feel happy.
And there may be a scientific explanation for pizza’s huge popularity in Italy and beyond.
The combination of pizza's ingredients "seem to be especially rewarding and do not occur together in foods found in nature ... and this may contribute to its association with addictive-like eating behaviours," said to Erica M. Schulte, a doctoral candidate in clinical psychology at the University of Michigan, who authored a study on food addiction which ranked pizza as the food “most associated with symptoms of addiction.”