With endless possibilities in crust, sauce, and topping combinations, pizza is a food anyone can enjoy. And the availability of breakfast, dessert, and snackable pizzas makes it a tasty treat for any time of day. Maybe that’s why 43% of Americans consume pizza at least once a week.
While the traditional pizza isn’t going anywhere, consumers are increasingly reaching for fresh flavors and on-the-go options. They’re also paying more attention to how their food is made and sourced. With that in mind, here are some of today’s hottest pizza ingredients and innovations, fresh out of the oven.
As an emerging alternative to conventional crust, pizza producers are using more plants in their dough formulations. That’s because consumers generally perceive plant-based doughs as healthier, and depending on the other ingredients, they can be lower in fat and calories than regular doughs. The most popular plant-based ingredient is cauliflower, with other rising stars including beets, sweet potatoes, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts.
Plant-based doughs can also cater to gluten-free and vegan consumers, though some brands include eggs and cheese in their mixes. Plant ingredients may also alter the appearance of the crust to create colorful dishes.
Artisan and authentic
Whether thick or thin, premium crusts are in. And consumers are willing to pay extra for high-quality ingredients and carefully crafted, expertly baked doughs.
An example of this is Neapolitan-style pizzas made with “00” flour imported from Italy. Holy Napoli offers a version of this authentic style pizza for the frozen foods aisle.
Alternative sauce and cheese options
Move over tomato and mozzarella. Sauces made from beets, oils, alfredo, and roasted red pepper spreads are adding new spices and flavors to pizza. And rich and rare cheeses like Gouda, Gruyère, and Havarti make it an indulgence.
Topping it off with new tastes
Consumers are most creative with their toppings, searching for visual appeal as well as interesting tastes and textures. Traditional toppings like pepperoni, sausage, and mushrooms are still the favorite, but consumers are exploring new protein toppings, like seafood and eggs, and vegetable options like eggplant and Brussels sprouts. Some restaurants are even layering pizza with secondary meals like salad and pasta.
And, love it or hate it, pineapple is no longer the only fruit on pizza, especially with dessert pizzas gaining popularity. Apples are a great fit for a cheese pairing on traditional pizzas, while fruits like peaches and figs can boost the taste of dessert pies.
The freedom to choose
Some consumers want more control over what goes onto their pizza, as well as the opportunity to experiment with new flavors. That’s why many restaurants offer a “build your own pizza” menu option.
But this doesn’t have to be restricted to eating out and ordering in. Packaged pizza kits are a great alternative for families that want to cook together but don’t have the time to prepare their own ingredients.
Quick, easy, and snack-sized
Frozen pizza is seeing a sales surge — the market is expected to grow to a value of $20.80 billion by 2026. This is thanks to the trend of convenience. It’s is a meal option that’s readily available and continues to be a favorite among busy households.
But in a search for satisfying snacks, consumers are reaching for much smaller pizzas, too. Bakers who already produce regular pizzas can funnel a smaller portion of ingredients toward mini pizzas and bite-sized options. It’s a good way to meet the cravings of those who prefer to snack their way through mealtimes.
Pizza has gone far beyond its Italian roots, and in some ways, has also come back to that birthplace. Today’s pizza lovers crave healthy and simple ingredients, adventurous flavors, and on-the-go convenience. But since there’s perhaps no food more versatile, who knows what kind of pizza we’ll be eating tomorrow.