CuisinePosted on 18.04.2018

Pineapple on Pizza: A Brief History

Your parents might have told you there are three things you should never talk about at the dinner table: money, politics, and religion. Well, they’re wrong – in fact, there is one more topic, or topping rather you should always leave unspoken: pineapples, on pizza. *pause for gasps*

We’ve come across almost every type of pizza topping here at Just Eat, from BBQ sauce, eggs, and even seafood, many folks have welcomed such additions to their pizza! But choose pineapple and you’ll be the talk of the town. Rumour has it that Italian Nonnas can disown a grandchild on the spot, should the poor young one dare to top their pizza-pie with some of this 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. Yikes…

The debate reached a melting point in 2017 when Iceland’s president stated that he would pass a law to ban the controversial topping. Someone’s busy! The world erupted. The internet couldn’t cope. Guðni Th. Jóhannesson (the president) was forced to publish an official statement explaining he was merely joking. Pineapple pizza lovers everywhere breathed a sigh of relief! He continued, he does not have, nor want, the means to pass such a treaty. And all was right with the world again.

But that didn’t stop team internet! Memes, gifs, tweets, articles, news stories from all around the globe created such a buzz, 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 foodie knowledge. So we have done some research on the infamous pineapple pizza, drilling down on key statistics, and finally answering all the questions you never dared to ask yourself!

The Origins

First up, where did this mythical dish come from? This pizza is often referred to as the ‘Hawaiian’. Yet pineapples are originally from South America, while pizza, as we all know, is Italian. Confused yet? Good, us too. Anyway! How did the two meet you ask?

Well, after several weeks of investigation that led us from Naples to Greece and finally to Ontario, Canada. We discovered that the Hawaiian was invented by a bloke 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 history books.

His aha! moment came in 1962. Yes by 28 Sam had changed the culinary landscape forever as he decided to throw this tropical 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 just burn toast. 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. As you do.

Do people actually like it?

So, now that we know the Hawaiian origin story, let’s ask the real question here; do people actually enjoy eating it? Are people just saying they love it to be the cool quirky friend in the group or are most of us missing out on a taste sensation?! Enough speculation we say! 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 have the controversial fruit on it. Nonnas rejoice.

Scandinavians 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 conclude, 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. So our question to you is, which of the two countries actually eats more Hawaiian pizzas?

  1. Norway
  2. Italy
  3. I left maths behind at the Leaving Cert, just let me order my pizza!

Has reading up on the history of pineapple on pizza finally tempted you to try it? Well, don’t let us stop you – order on Just Eat.