Pizza Hut's 3-Cheese Stuffed Crust pizza was accompanied by a television ad campaignAmong quick-service brands, the hamburger segment — with its prolific ad campaigns and low prices — maintains the highest average value perception, but the pizza segment has cut into that lead significantly, according to new data from YouGov BrandIndex.

The consumer perception research firm found that, from July 1 to Nov. 29, the average “value score” BrandIndex calculated for the pizza category rose steadily from its starting point significantly below scores for the hamburger, Mexican and chicken segments to finish just behind the hamburger category. At the end of that five-month span, hamburger chains and chicken brands finished with slightly lower value scores than their starting points, while the Mexican segment had the steepest decline and finished with the lowest category score.

BrandIndex calculates “value scores” by surveying thousands of American consumers each weekday about hundreds of brands, asking, “Does this brand give good value for what you pay?” Negative responses are subtracted from positive ones, and a moving average is calculated on a scale from negative 100 to positive 100, in which a zero rating denotes a neutral value perception.

The most significant conclusion BrandIndex could draw from the five months of data was the dramatic improvement for value scores in the pizza segment over time, which also tracked with a significant improvement in purchase consideration, which BrandIndex calculates from the percentage of respondents saying they likely would buy pizza in the near future.

“The value changes are interesting, but when you match it up with purchase consideration, that’s a stronger story for the pizza chains,” said Ted Marzilli, chief executive of New York-based BrandIndex. “They’re becoming a bigger part of people’s consideration sets.”