Pizza chains in Thailand have benefited hugely from soaring sales since the outbreak of avian flu in the country.

The Pizza Company, Thailand’s largest pizza chain, says it recorded 29% growth in the first two months of this year, compared with the same period last year.

Bill Heinecke, chairman of the Minor Food Group, which owns The Pizza Company, said the significant growth was driven by the switch in consumers’ choice from chicken to non-chicken dishes. Narai Pizzaria, another major chain, has also seen double-digit growth since the outbreak of the bird flu.

Thailand’s pizza industry is estimated to be worth 2.5bn Thai Baht (US$63.4m).