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The Price of Pizza Has Gone Up. Here's Why

There's more than inflation to blame for the rising price of dough.

Slice of pizza in a box
The average price of a delivery pizza has risen by more than a dollar in the last year.
Aleksandr Zubkov/Getty Images

It's Super Bowl Sunday and Americans are expected to eat more than 12 million pizzas before the game is over.

They'll be paying more for those slices this year, as manufacturers and restaurants have been facing higher prices for many ingredients and passing that cost on to customers. 

Tomato paste is up 36.3% from 2022, according to data from commodities market intelligence firm Mintec, which points to higher energy costs associated with processing, storage and delivery.

An ongoing drought in the Great Plains has continued to boost the price of wheat for pizza dough, with Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine stymying wheat exports from both countries

And cheese is also pricier -- thanks to supply chain disruptions, labor shortages and higher prices for animal feed, according to Mintec.  A wholesale pound of mozzarella is now $2.54, compared with $2.22 in February 2022.

Read on: Why These Supermarket Staples Are So Expensive Now

"It's not just the cost of ingredients that's gone up," said Terrence Morash, vice president of brand and creative for Slice, a pizza delivery platform for more than 19,000 independent pizzerias. "It's also the cost of cardboard and bags for delivery. And small restaurants have had to raise compensation to retain reliable staff."

According to Slice's new report on its member restaurants, the price of a large cheese pizza rose year-over-year in all but five states. Nationwide, the average price for a pie rose more than a dollar -- from $16.74 in 2021 to $17.81 in 2022.

"Pizzerias have a very thin profit margin -- these are mom-and-pop shops, with, like five or 10 part-time employees," Morash said. "They can't afford to eat the cost, so it gets passed on."

Overall, inflation on food items is up 10.4%, according to December's Consumer Price Index, the most recent report available. But not every menu item is being hit equally: The wholesale price of chicken wings has gone down 22% since Super Bowl 2022.

Read on: Restaurants with Super Bowl Freebies and Discounts