Consumers shopping around to get the best value for their food dollar are putting the heat on pizza companies battling for a slice of the takeaway pie.

Gourmet pizzas are shaping up to be a casualty of the recession as consumers move toward cheaper-value toppings and other takeaway options such as fried chicken.

The tough market has forced franchised pizza company Hell Pizza to now compete on price shortly after lifting its prices in November.

At the time Hell Pizza general manager Colin Mellar justified the price rise in a leaked memo to franchise holders saying the company was able to operate at a higher price point than its competitors because of its superior pizza offering.

Now Mellar says latest research conducted by the company shows price is a driver when it comes to generating sales.

”There’s no doubt about it, you do need to be able to light a bit of a fire under people’s backsides to get them out of the chair these days.”

The company is offering a $13 pickup deal for its Double Gourmet and Premium pizzas to celebrate its 13th birthday, a price point that Mellar describes as ”a lot cheaper than we’ve gone in the past.” Traditionally those pizzas would retal for about $17.

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