Making Dough with Diane: January-February 2014

Top 7 pizza trends
Diane Chiasson
January 13, 2014
By
Early food trends for 2014 seem to continue to point in the direction of consumers’ desire to eat more healthy foods, and to know where their food comes from.

Turkish pizza  
The pide, which is a Turkish pizza, is ripe for a sales rise given the current leanings towards Middle Eastern flavours.

 
Today’s consumers are concerned about the environment, the economic landscape of our society, and eating socially acceptable and socially responsible foods. I believe these seven trends will be prevalent in the pizza industry this year.

Ancient grain crusts
Many pizza operations nowadays already offer a gluten-free crust, but in 2014, look for more whole-grain crusts as more and more consumers seek to avoid products made from “big, bad, white flour”. Expect to see pizza menus offering crusts made of spelt, cornmeal, quinoa, freekeh, farro, kamut, flax or even buckwheat flour. Ancient grains are considered a superfood, so ancient grain crusts fit right into the consumer desire for eating more healthy foods.

Smaller, gourmet portions
The gourmet pizza trend continues to grow at a rapid pace with more and more fast-casual chains offering custom-made, handcrafted, artisanal pizzas featuring high-quality ingredients. Consumers’ taste buds are getting more sophisticated, so there is stronger demand for artisanal pizzas. It’s also been shown that consumers will pay more for a higher quality product. Also, smaller-sized pizzas will help to eliminate food wastage, which is another area where socially responsible eaters want to help.

Food origins
Consumers want to know what they are eating, and where it came from. It will be very important to specify where you source your food on your menu. Expect to see more homemade pizza sauces made from the tomatoes grown in the garden, or handmade sausages using locally sourced, free-range, antibiotic-free, farm-raised animals.

Technological takeover
Technology will soon take over the pizza industry. Ordering by telephone has been taken over by online ordering. Many large pizza chains have now developed an app that allows consumers to simply tap their smartphones to order. Digital ordering not only speeds up the order, payment and delivery service, but also helps you build your database at the same time. Next up, expect to see drones take over pizza delivery. Testing of such drones is already in the works and anticipated for 2015.

Middle Eastern flavours
With its heavy reliance on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, spices, nuts, seeds, herbs and olive oil, Middle Eastern cuisine is beginning to get the attention of consumers. Middle Eastern flavours are expected to be a big trend for 2014, so look forward to seeing more pizzas – including the pide, a Turkish pizza – use them as toppings.

The Pizzarito
Each year, there is always a hybrid product that makes the Top 10 food trends lists (think of the Cronut in 2013). This year, a fairly fun trend that might spark up on some pizza operations’ menu is the pizzarito – a combination of a pizza slice and a burrito. The pizza slice replaces the tortilla in a burrito to create a fusion of Italian and Mexican flavours for the ultimate feast.

Dessert pizzas
Dessert pizzas are expected to be quite trendy in 2014. Pizzas slathered in Nutella or marshallow sauce, and covered with fresh fruit, coconut and/or nuts are popping up on restaurant menus nationwide. Also expect to see cheesecakes baked in pizza dough, or more dessert pizzas featuring more refined toppings like apples and brie, or pear and blue cheese.

Let these seven trends inspire your menu and help keep you on top of the latest advances in the pizza industry.


Diane Chiasson, FCSI, president of Chiasson Consultants Inc., has been helping restaurant, foodservice, hospitality and retail operators increase sales for over 25 years. Her company provides innovative and revenue-increasing foodservice and retail merchandising programs, interior design, branding, menu engineering, marketing and promotional campaigns, and much more. Contact her at 416-926-1338, toll-free at 1-888-926-6655 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or visit www.chiassonconsultants.com .

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