Pepperoni, sausage and Canadian bacon are among the top choices for pizza toppings with American consumers. A recent study shows that 94 percent of consumers ate pizza in 2000, with these three toppings among the top five most popular ones.

The research, conducted by The NPD Group, a Chicago-based research firm that tracks consumer eating habits, also found that of all pizza meat toppings consumed, 77 percent are pork, 17 percent are beef and 6 percent are other.

In-home pizza consumption has doubled during the past 15 years. Almost two-thirds of all in-home pizza consumption include meat toppings, reports The NPD Group. Pepperoni options, including pepperoni/sausage combinations and deluxe/supreme scored the greatest growth in pizzas eaten at home.

Other research from The NPD Group shows that during 2000, (the most recent data year), the average American consumed pizza in-home 25 times. It also shows that 30 percent of Americans eat pizza more than once a week and that pizza consumption peaks in March but is fairly consistent year-round.

In addition, 70 percent of U.S. households purchased frozen pizza from a supermarket. Frozen pizza sales have increased at least 7 percent each year since the mid-1990s, becoming a $2-billion category. The restaurant pizza industry segment does $23 billion in business annually. Frozen pizza accounted for 9 percent of the entire retail frozen-food section, trailing only ice cream and sherbet. Pizza contributes more than 2 percent of supermarket service deli sales, estimated at more than $245 million.

All of these pizza sales turn into more pork-marketing opportunities. This trend is likely to continue with consumers looking for quick, easy meal options, with pizza fitting nicely into that category.