Norway's 4.6 million inhabitants devour pizzas at a rate no others seem to match, according to financial daily Dagens Næringsliv.
The major players in Norway's seemingly boundless pizza market enjoyed a record year in 2004, and the newspaper predicts that 2005 will be even better.
In 2004 Norwegians spent over NOK 2 billion (US $318,920,230) on 50 million pizzas, a total consumption of 50,000 tons of the Italian treat.
Frozen pizzas made up 22,000 tons, restaurant and take-aways 13,000 tons and industrious Norwegians produced 15,000 tons of home-made pizzas.
Arne Larsen Økland of the Dolly Dimples pizzeria chain told the newspaper that they expected 10 percent growth despite 2004 being their best year ever in both turnover and profit.
At first, we were impressed by the stats. Anytime you start throwing around millions and billions, anything seems impressive. Then we crunched the numbers. When you break it down, 50 million pies distributed among a population of 4.6 million breaks down to 10.87 pies a year. That's not even one pie per Norwegian per month. At Slice, our editors eat at least four pies in a slow month. Surely America couldn't be far behind us. We are not a nation of slice slackers.
But wait. We consulted a pizza-fact webpage and found that, even though pizza in the U.S. is a $32 billion industry, all 295 million of us only eat 3 billion pies a year. That's 10.16 pies per person. By our calculations (assuming an eight-slice pie), the average pizza-eating Norwegian outeats the average pizza-eating American by 5.68 slices.
Given that 2005 is the centennial of pizza's birth in this country (Lombardi's was granted the country's first pizzeria license in 1905), we call on all Americans to increase their slice-supping quota. Let's hose the Norwegians this year and leave them with nothing to boast about but their fjords.
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