Fifty years ago, pizza was still considered to be an exotic, “foreign” food by most Americans. These days, it’s as American as apple pie—and maybe more so. According to Technomic’s Pizza Consumer Trend Report, 41 percent of us eat pizza weekly, and 68 percent order pizza to go at least once a month.
A Harris Poll reports that pizza is Americans’ No. 1 favorite comfort food, earning twice as many votes as any other dish. The North American pizza industry earns upwards of $45 billion each year, and the trend is still scaling up. So, what’s on the horizon for this all-American specialty?
Square it up
One new trend is Detroit-Style Pizza, a square-shaped pie that puts traditional toppings on the bottom layer, followed by the cheese and sauce on top. It’s moved beyond the borders of the Motor City and is increasingly popular across the United States. Read this On Your Plate post about two native Detroit brothers who have made an impact on the Austin dining scene with their square pies.
Heat and health
Spicy flavors are making an appearance in the category, with options that include such favorites as Pieology Pizzeria’s Spicy Southwest (red enchilada sauce, mozzarella and cheddar cheeses, roasted red peppers, jalapeños, cilantro and chicken) and Chicken Chile Verde (green enchilada sauce, mozzarella, roasted red peppers, diced mild green chilies, cilantro and chicken).
While no one would mistake pizza for a health food, it’s beginning to gain a bit of a halo, thanks to new options for gluten-free and vegan diners. Crusts made from cauliflower instead of dough are a popular substitution, and toppings have expanded to include vegan sausage, cashew ricotta and jackfruit meatballs. Another trend that’s rapidly gaining in popularity is topping a hot-from-the-oven pizza with cold shredded lettuce salads or other crispy vegetables. Dessert pizzas, topped with fruit and/or chocolate, are also popular choices.
Savvy chefs and operators are searching the globe for the next irresistible pizza trend. Perhaps it will be the Australian toppings of kangaroo, emu or crocodile meat. It could be the South Korean black rice crust pizza, topped with sweet potato and bulgogi. Or perhaps the next trend will take a cue from modern Mexican interpretations of the Italian classic, with dough from blue corn instead of white flour.
T. Marzetti™ tips
Try Marzetti Sweet & Bold BBQ sauce to replace the traditional tomato sauce on your next pizza special.
To appeal to diners who love to dunk their slices, offer the perfect creamy dipping sauce. Choose from Marzetti Avocado Ranch, Blue Cheese, Buttermilk Ranch, Creamy Caesar, Chipotle Ranch, Garden Harvest Ranch, Parmesan Peppercorn Ranch and Roasted Garlic Parmesan.