Pineapple on pizza: Where did it come from and why do some of us hate it? (2023)

Our opinions on potential friends, film stars and sportspeople are regularly formed using the pineapple on pizza method, and it's even sparked debate among colleagues on Blue Peter.

But why is it so controversial and where did it even come from? BBC Bitesize grabs a slice of the action.

The origin of the Hawaiian

The modern pizza we know today evolved from dishes created in Naples, Italy in the 18th and 19th Centuries.

(Video) Pineapple pizza is a SIN.

Italians take their pizza very seriously, particularly in Naples, where the local pizza received traditional speciality guaranteed status by the EU in 2009, protecting the original pizza base recipe and its production methods against misuse or falsification.

But the Hawaiian pizza, topped with ham and pineapple, was not an Italian invention.

And despite the name, it did not come from the US island state of Hawaii either.

(Video) Gordon Ramsay: "You Don't Put Pineapple on a F**king Pizza!"

The pizza was actually created in Canada in 1962 by a Greek immigrant called Sam Panopoulos.

Panopoulos, along with his brothers, owned a restaurant in the province of Ontario. The food was initially very simple - traditional diner dishes such as pancakes and burgers. Inspired by a recent trip to Naples, Panopoulos decided to introduce pizza to the menu.

It was a relatively new dish in North America and at the time, most of them they served were topped with mushrooms, bacon or pepperoni. Panopoulos did the same, but as he became more adventurous with other dishes, introducing Americanised versions of Chinese meals such as sweet and sour chicken, which also includes pineapple, he decided to take a risk with his pizzas as well.

(Video) putting pineapple on pizza in front of an Italian #shorts

He added canned pineapple to one pizza, with ham – not knowing whether it would be a hit or not, but soon found the combination of sweet and savoury was proving a winner with his customers.

But why? One possible reason is the growing fascination at the time with Tiki culture. Hawaii had officially become an American state in 1959 and people had fallen in love with the island lifestyle. Canned pineapple began to be imported into North America, along with pineapple juice - providing Panopoulos with his crucial ingredient.

As for the name, the brand of tinned pineapple was called Hawaiian, so Panopoulos’ invention was named in its honour.

(Video) Putting pineapple on pizza in front of an Italian

Hawaiian hatred

From its humble Canadian beginnings, the combination spread across North America, and ultimately the world - but despite its global appeal, pineapple pizza has remained controversial.

A 2017 YouGov poll found that 82% of people surveyed liked pineapple, but only 53% liked the fruit on their pizza. 12% of people said they disliked it on pizza a little bit while 29% said they hated the idea.


1. Why do you guys hate pineapple on pizza
(Curious Reddit)
2. Which of these doesn’t Belong to you? Pineapple Pizza, Country Music, Snow, Cucumbers, Cats
(Which one is YOU?)
3. I hate pineapple on pizza! 🍕🍍
4. Why I hate pineapple pizza (and it's for a stupid reason)
5. PIKOTARO - PPAP (Pen Pineapple Apple Pen) (Long Version) [Official Video]
(Ultra Records)
6. Italian ambassador: Do not put pineapple on pizza
(Sky News)


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