Americans consume 350 slices of pizza every second, and 15 percent deem it their top comfort food. In the November issue of Food Technology magazine associate editor Melanie Zanoza Bartelme outlines eight American pizza trends, preferences and consumption habits.
- Over half (58%) of U.S. pizza eaters say they would buy more frozen pizza if it had more premium or gourmet ingredients (Mintel 2016).
- Pizza consumption in restaurants is trending at its highest level in the past four years (Technomic). Seventy-six percent of consumers have eaten at a pizza restaurant in the past 12 months (Packaged Facts 2015).
- Pizzas are trending toward thinner crusts and half of consumers prefer to go thin. Hand-tossed, however, is the No. 1 crust type found on restaurant menus, preferred by 57 percent of consumers (Technomic 2016).
- Another trend in pizza crust centers on gluten-free. Gluten-free launches increased 58 percent between 2012 and 2015 (Mintel 2016).
- Tomato-based red sauce remains the most common topping on pizzas, but nontraditional sauces such as ranch, alfredo and white sauce are also appearing (Packaged Facts 2015).
- Mozzarella is the most commonly used pizza cheese, with 71 percent, with ricotta and Parmesan at a distant two and three (35% and 32%, respectively), but alternate cheeses are on the rise (Packaged Facts 2015). These include goat, gorgonzola, fontina, Romano, asiago, provolone, feta, and even pepper jack gaining traction. In addition, preference for gouda is increasing, and it is among the fastest-growing cheeses on restaurant menus (Technomic 2016).
- Sausage and pepperoni are still the top meats, being featured on 73 percent of restaurant menus, but bacon is also widely available, and chicken breast is up 22 percent, likely due to its perception as a healthier meat (Technomic 2016). Prosciutto is growing, up 27 percent since 2010. Other emerging meat toppings include meatballs, salami and anchovies (Packaged Facts 2015).
- Onion, tomato, mushroom and peppers are featured as pizza toppings on at least 73 percent of restaurant menus (Technomic 2016).
Pizza “is ideally suited for nearly universal appeal,” writes Euromonitor. Depending on an individual’s likes, nearly everything about pizza can be modified to fit his or her desires, from the shape and style of its crust to the sauce that’s slathered on top to the plethora of meats, veggies, and cheese that crown it.
Read the article in Food Technology here