|Mini versions of everything will appear on menus in 2013.
Here are my predictions for what trends we can expect to see at pizza operations across North America this year:
1. Ethnic flavours
This year, expect to see strong ethnic flavours from all parts of the world appearing on pizza menus, especially ingredients from Southeast Asia. However, expect to see chefs mixing up ethnicities as well. Don’t be surprised to find a pizza that features Indian, Italian, Mediterranean and Asian influences all in one! Take a trip to your local ethnic markets, and experiment with all the different flavours, spices and ingredients that could potentially make it onto your list of pizza toppings.
2. Transparent ingredients
A healthier lifestyle continues to be the trend this year, as people are becoming more and more conscientious of what they put into their bodies. Restaurant owners and operators will be expected to show exactly what ingredients they are putting in their food.
Customers will be looking for pure, simple and all-natural ingredients.
3. Gluten-free and vegan pizzas
Gluten-free is now considered a lifestyle – and the number of people choosing the gluten-free way continues to increase rapidly.
Vegans are also on the rise. As a pizza operator, it may become imperative to offer a gluten-free pizza and a vegan pizza to stay competitive. However, make sure you designate a specific area in your pizza operation to prep and bake your gluten-free pizzas, so as not to cross-contaminate with the wheat flour from your regular menu offerings.
4. More green veggies
Vegetables are expected to be a big trend this year, especially kale, beet greens, chard, turnip greens and mustard greens. Expect to see more locally foraged and imported items like kale, beet greens, chard, turnip greens and mustard greens, Asian greens, sunchoke, Jerusalem artichoke, different types of squash and turnips, and other non-traditional vegetables to make appearances as pizza toppings.
5. Healthier kids
Leading a healthier lifestyle is one of the key trends of 2013 and it also applies to our kids. Pizza is arguably the most popular kids’ food, so look for pizza operators to re-evaluate their kids’ menu items and create tomato sauces with “hidden” vegetables, adding more healthy grains to the crusts, and using less fattening toppings like turkey pepperoni and turkey bacon.
6. Smaller/cheaper items
Moving forward, people will also continue to eat more often, but in smaller portions. Expect to see “mini” versions of everything on menus around the world. Pizza operators should look to offer snack size products selling in the $1 to $2 range.
There you have it! These six trends are sweeping North America and are worth considering when you are reviewing your menu for the new year.