Pizza’s Finest Hour

It’s 6:00PM and your regulars are running late from work…again. They need to feed their family and want to be sure that their hard-earned money will be well spent. They’re looking for something that will please everyone, has fresh ingredients and can fill their family’s bellies fast. They need pizza!

After all, out of all the dishes you could serve, pizza is overwhelming America’s favorite food. Sixty-four percent of Americans say they “love” pizza (even slightly higher for Millennials at 66%)[1]. Pizza scores nearly 10 points higher than the next favorite, garlic bread, and it’s popular across all regions – equally beloved by males and females of every age group[2].

While many are likely to order the top proteins on pizza like pepperoni, chicken, sausage or bacon[3], you know this family is seeking something a little more adventurous. They want a meal they can’t make at home, and one only you can deliver.

Today’s pizzas are setting new standards with creative toppings, non-traditional sauces and unique crusts. Consumers love a flavor adventure, so operators are experimenting with combinations like meatball, feta and olives or prosciutto, goat cheese, pesto (up 75%[4]) and fig.

Why not offer a cheeseburger pizza with crumbled beef, mustard and pickles or tap into the brunch craze with a pancetta, arugula (up 60%[5]) and a poached egg?

Often, foodservice operators look to their top selling sandwiches for inspiration in building a signature pizza. By utilizing existing sandwich sauces, they can manage space and inventory while offering a combination of flavors that already has high appeal within their operation.

And, since we know consumers like to customize, offering a dipping sauce gives them a reason to start with the crust rather than leaving it on the plate.

So, how will you discover the winning combination of ingredients for your guest’s pizza cravings? A good approach to developing a new pizza is to start with one special ingredient you already have in your pantry and then identify two or three complimentary items that will offer additional texture, layers of flavor and color. Look for ways to incorporate fresh cues like whole basil leaves or slices of ripe tomato, and don’t forget to offer customization through parmesan cheese, red pepper flakes and bold dipping sauces.

It’s a good time for innovation during pizza’s finest hour.

[1] Datassential’s FOODBYTES: Flavor March, 2017
[2] Datassential’s FOODBYTES: Flavor March, 2017
[3] Technomic MenuMonitor Grab & Go Slides: Pizza, Q1 – 2017
[4] Technomic Pizza Consumer Trend Report 2016 (Pesto up 75% at FSR pizza appetizers)
[5] Technomic Pizza Consumer Trend Report 2016 (Arugula up 60% at FSR pizza appetizers)

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