In the world of pizza, toppings receive a lot of attention, but recent menu research shows that crust also ranks high in consumer appeal. Chicago-based Datassential, a menu research firm, determined that thin crust is the most prevalent pizza crust called out on menus. Pan, thick, New York, and deep-dish crusts complete the top five menu varieties, followed by wheat, Chicago, hand-tossed, square and wood-fired. Next are Neapolitan, brick oven, stuffed and organic crust. Since 2012, wood fired, wheat, and stuffed crust pizzas have seen the strongest growth on menus.
There are plenty of ways to slice today’s pizza trends to fit your menu
For a half dozen ideas, read on:
For instance, red wheat can stand up to heavier toppings like sausage and sliced peppers. White wheat is better suited to lighter toppings and sauces and flour is a main component for pizza performance. Pizza makers should experiment with several types of flours and grain for optimizing the process and finished product needs.
High-heat pizza ovens
Wood, coal or gas burning ovens can crank the heat as high as 900°F for quickly-prepared, customized pies in fast-casual, campus dining and other settings with a need for speed. Oven styles must be considered when formulating the right thickness to handle the weight of the sauce and toppings. Thin or thick, you want the right bite and chew.
Consumers are willing to pay a premium for better quality pizzas with gourmet ingredients, from local cheese to super grain crust with additions like flax seed and chia seeds and sprouted grains.So don’t be afraid of fancier pies!
Try a dough with some rye flour in the mix, add sauerkraut topping and serve with a German beer. Or, include some buckwheat flour in the dough to emulate the flavour and colour of Japanese soba noodles in a flatbread application. The deep colour and flavours of the buckwheat hold up to the bright, savoury and sour flavors of kimchee.
Clean and Healthy Pies
Whole grain crusts, no artificial preservatives, nitrate-free pepperoni, non-GMO and organic flours and grains add a healthier halo to pizza. Diet-specific crusts, like vegan and gluten free, also feed some health-minded consumer demands.
An easy way to repurpose pizza dough for varied menu options, from salad-topped flat bread starters to less bulky sandwiches and dippable wedges. These always work well as shareable appetizers.
Whatever stands out about your pizza and flat bread offerings, make sure you’re communicating it. Today’s dining is as much about the experience as it is about the food. Consumers are interested in knowing the details of the ingredients they eat – from local heirloom tomatoes to organic, ancient grains. There’s a big push for minimally processed foods that come with interesting back stories. So now, instead of “multigrain pizza crust” as menu copy, restaurants are including brief descriptions of each individual grain, as well as cooking details like wood-fired oven, etc. People love the story behind great tasting food, and pizza can deliver.
For more pizza inspiration: