It's hard to beat the combination of pizza and football,
particularly with the college bowls cranking up and the NFL playoffs just weeks
Frozen versus pizzeria
After buying and baking more than 100 cheese pies, Consumer
Reports found that, yes -- frozen pizza can satisfy. Amy's Cornmeal Crust 3
Cheese, Home Run Inn Classic and DiGiorno Rising Crust Four Cheese all garnered
a CR Best Buy -- leading the ratings.
The best frozen pizzas, a trio of very different but very
good pies, included the artisanal Amy's Cornmeal Crust 3 Cheese, the priciest
pie tested at $7.99. Amy's won points for its combination of fresh-tasting
vegetables, herbs, and dollops of goat cheese over a flavorful cornmeal crust.
The Chicago-style Home Run Inn Classic Cheese, $7.42,
features a generous blanket of tasty cheese and abundant sauce over a
pastry-style crust. The Italian-style DiGiorno Rising Crust Four Cheese, $6.47,
has lots of cheese and sauce over a thick, chewy crust.
Could be better
But Consumer Reports found room for improvement, since no
pies were excellent. Shoppers shouldn't buy by brand, CR says, noting that its Best
Buy DiGiorno pie scored higher than the other DiGiorno pies tested. The same
was true of the Red Baron pizzas tested.
"Frozen pizzas are convenient and more cost effective than a
pizzeria and according to our tests, they can also offer quality," said a
Consumer Reports expert. "Shoppers
should take into account more than just price when purchasing, ingredients and
nutritional components factor into the overall experience."
Testing the pies
In Consumer Reports' frozen pizza taste test, cheese pies
were the focus. They are one of the
most popular types, according to the National Frozen Pizza Institute, a trade
organization. Seven trained CR sensory panelists tasted each
brand three times in an order designed to eliminate bias. They didn't know
which pizza they tasted and all samples were coded with three-digit numbers.
Testers graded crust, cheese, and sauce separately then also gave an overall
impression of each pie.
The frozen pizzas were also rated based on nutrition. All
brands scored adequately, but Consumer Reports discovered quite a range in
calories (260 to 380), fat (9 to 18 grams), saturated fat (3.5 to 9 grams), and
sodium (570 to 870 milligrams) per serving.
Top-rated Amy's stood out as the lowest in saturated fat and among the lowest in sodium, while Red Baron Fire Baked scored Fair because it was among the highest in calories, total fat, and saturated fat. Consumer Reports ratings are based on manufacturer's suggested serving size.