Why Do People Like Pineapples on Pizza? Why Is it so Polarizing?

(Last Updated On: April 5, 2021)

We all have friends who like pineapple on pizza. We also have friends on the exact opposite of the spectrum–they find pineapples and pizza absolute sacrilege and anyone who dares put pineapples on their pizza should be burned at the stake. Honestly if we’re getting that worked up over pizza we probably have better things to think about. But YouGov surveys hold 25% of Americans think pineapple is one of the worst pizza toppings so maybe we don’t. What makes pineapples so special though? Why do people like pineapples on pizza? 

We’re less concerned with whether or not pineapples and pizza are acceptable. Everyone has their own opinions and it’s unlikely anybody’s minds will be changing today.

More Data

Even though 25% of Americans hate pineapple on pizza, 12% put pineapples as one of the top three. 17% think it’s their favorite. So pineapples attract people on opposite sides of the spectrum. They don’t have a plurality on being hated, though. People hate anchovies (49%, with less than 2% of respondents saying it was their favorite) and eggplants (30% ranked it among their least favorite) more. 

So people might dislike pineapples on their pizza more than they like it–pizza is far from being the unanimous worst. That assumes we generalize American data out of course, but it’s safe to say “there exists a significant number of people who unironically like pineapples on pizza.”

More American pizza stats, 73% eat pizza at least once a month and 21% eat it once a week. Of that 21%, younger Americans are far more likely to number among them. Hopefully you guys are experimenting a bit with your pizza, at least?

People Who Hate Pineapples

If you were somehow insulated from hating pineapples on pizza as a meme, rest assured it’s a real time waster. We’ve got chefs weighing in all over the place–though many just cede to what people order

There was also that time in 2017, while Americans were embroiled in whatever Donald Trump was tweeting, Iceland’s president, Guðni Th. Jóhannesson mused that he’d outlaw pineapples on pizza. He was joking but his joke caught wind on the internet and he ended up making a statement; declaring that he did not have the power to unilaterally outlaw pizza. Still doesn’t like pineapples on it, though. Jóhannesson also recommended seafood on your pizza, which we’re pretty sure someone has equally strong opinions on.

Regardless, he brought back the whole pineapples on pizza debate. 

It’s not really a point for or against pineapples and pizza, but we normally call it “Hawaiian pizza.” Yeah it’s not Hawaiin. Nor is it Italian. Pineapple pizza is Canadian.

So if nothing else, we learned something today about pineapples and pizza.

Pineapples, Pizza, and the Taste

Hating pineapples with your pizza isn’t a genetic thing like it is with brussels sprouts. That doesn’t mean there’s some biology that might influence your opinion though.

We’re primed to like sugar, and that includes salty and sweet combinations. You know, chocolate pretzels, salted caramel. Sweeter pineapples and sodium rich tomato sauce fulfill that combination for some. But why do we like salty and sweet things?

Well we like sweet things because they’re sugar. Sugar is energy our bodies can store away for later. We’re primed to want salt because we need it to live. Our cells need salt to move things in and out of themselves. We can’t store sodium like we store minerals like calcium though, so we just crave salt. Getting sweet and salty together is efficient–you’re killing two cravings with one stone. 

So if you’re still dead set on condemning pineapples on pizza, maybe you’d feel a little better knowing that there’s biology behind it?

On why pizza is so polarizing, it’s probably just because we as a society are becoming more polar globally. Politically, anyway. Sucking in seemingly apolitical things into that sphere is a great way of flexing… Something on other people. Plus, our social groups are trending smaller, and we’re moving towards picking our friends based on interests rather than meeting people by circumstance. Think about it, there are definitely opinions that would single-handedly make you not want to be someone else’s friend. So having strong opinions on anything (pizza included) is just another mechanism for us to self-select our groups.

But also, it is political. An Italian town banned “foreign food” in 2011 as an attempt to “preserve Italian culture.” Denmark also found itself in a food culture war over halal pork in 2013.

Anyway, just let people eat their pizza. 


See if you know the top pizza chains here.

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About Kyler 563 Articles
Kyler is a content writer at Sporcle living in Seattle, and has just finished his undergraduate at the University of Washington. He's been writing for Sporcle since 2019 and has accumulated so much random, general knowledge he'd rather not think about it. Most of his free time is spent drinking black coffee like water.