Your parents will tell you that there are three things you should never talk about at a dinner party: money, politics and sex. Well let us tell you something, they are wrong. There is, in fact, one more topic, or rather topping you should always leave unspoken: pineapples, on pizza.
Seafood, BBQ sauce, eggs or even chips, no problem, chuck ‘em on. But choose pineapple and you’re in trouble. Rumour has it that Italian Nonnas can disown a grandchild on the spot, should the poor youth dare to top his pizza-pie with some juicy tropical fruit. ‘You have let your country down, your family name down, but most importantly, Gianluca, you have let yourself down’ they chant, purifying him with holy water.
The debate reached melting point in 2017 when Iceland’s president stated that he would pass a law to ban the controversial topping. The world erupted. The internet could not cope. Guðni Th. Jóhannesson (the president) was forced to publish an official statement explaining he was merely joking. He does not have, nor want, the means to pass such a treaty. Such great power could not be handled by one human alone. No, this is something that belongs to all of humankind.
But nothing Mr Th. Jóhannesson said could stop the chaos he created. Memes, gifs, tweets, articles, news stories (yes NEWS STORIES, on the telly, along with all the other serious stuff) from all around the globe created such a furore that, if nothing else, established this as one of the key unsolvable questions of the 21st Century: does pineapple belong on pizza?!
Now, we at Just Eat pride ourselves on our fine journalism, tackling the issues that matter. So we have done some research on the pineapple pizza, drilling down on key stats, and finally answering all the questions you never dared to ask at dinner.
First up, where did this mythical dish spawn from?
This pizza is often referred to as the Hawaiian. Yet pineapples are originally from South America, whilst pizza, as we all know, is Italian. How did the two meet?
Several months of investigations led us from Naples to Greece and finally to Ontario, Canada. We discovered that the Hawaiian was invented by a chap called Sam Panopoulos. Born in Greece in 1934, he moved to Canada at the age of 20 to set up a restaurant and inscribe his name in the annals of history.
His eureka moment came in 1962. Yes by 28 Sam had changed the culinary landscape forever as he decided to put the fruit on a Margherita ‘just for the fun of it’. We know, we know, when most of us do ‘experiments’ in the kitchen we create monstrosities like raisin risotto or truffle trifle. But then again, none of us have the genius of Sam Panopoulos.
Oh and the name Hawaiian? It’s the brand of pineapples he used on that fateful day. Of course.
Do people actually like it?
So, now we know where it came from. But it’s time to finally uncover the truth behind the biggest myth of them all: do people actually enjoy eating it? Is it one of those things that people say they love, just to be different, but when it comes down to it, when it’s just them and the pizza menu, they opt for the safe Pepperoni option? Or maybe it’s the naysayers that we should stop listening to. Perhaps the world has evolved and decided that pizza and fruit do mix. Well, enough speculation. Let’s take a look at the cold, hard numbers.
We looked at 19,000 Just Eat restaurants across six European countries to see how popular the combo was by calculating the proportion of Hawaiian orders against the total number of pizza orders. So, in Italy only one in 15,000 pizzas has the controversial fruit on it. Nonnas rejoice.
As you can see from the table below it’s the Scandinavians who are the most blasphemous. In Norway, one in ten pizza orders requests a topping of pineapple. The more north you go, it seems, the more the people crave a sweet, tropical topping.
To finish, we will leave you with this little brain teaser. Your average Norwegian will consume an average of 11 pizzas a year, with a total 55 million pizzas being produced in the country annually (the highest in the world per capita). Yet the Italians gobble 5 million each day. With a population of 70 million, the total number of pizzas produced per year in Italy is 1,620,000,000.
Our question to you is, which of the two countries actually eats more Hawaiian pizzas?
- Who cares, I’m hungry now, let me order pizza my way.
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