Pizza has always been a food blessed by variety. Thin crust, thick crust. new style, Chicago style, and everything in between. And in fact an almost endless array of toppings.

Today’s food environment adds even more complexity to the pizza mix. In pizza crusts alone, consumers can choose between conventional, gluten-free, and vegan crusts. Cauliflower, sweet potato, broccoli, beetroot? Yep, they’re all wont to make pizza crusts.

Add to that consumer demand for authenticity, clean labels, local ingredients, texture, and exotic cuisines, and therefore the possibilities for pies expand even further.

For grocery retailers looking to form their prepared foods sections stand out, there’s never been a far better time than now to try to to it with pizza. All that variety within the category translates to countless opportunities to seek out your niche, and pizza ingredient suppliers are there to satisfy the necessity.

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An Organic First

Austin, Texas-based Whole Foods Market, already known by many for the standard of its hot to-go pizza, added another chapter to its pizza story in January.

The retailer partnered with Pasadena, California-based The Pizza Plant to deliver the primary USDA-certified organic take and bake plant-based pizzas. Stores in California, Arizona, and Nevada began selling the pies on Jan. 15.

The Pizza Plant is understood for its enormous 13-Topping, CBD-infused, plant-based Nacho Pizza and its adorned, bright green tour bus-sized pizza kitchen serving unique pies prepared on a scratch-made artisan crust loaded with a symphony of creative-yet-complimentary sauces, toppings, and garnishes.

Whole Foods’ prepared foods departments and pizza stations are offering four Pizza Plant pies:

The Sink Not Included. House-made ancho chilled spiced tofu pepperoni slices & Italian spiced wheat crumble, bell peppers, onions, Kalamata olives, made up of scratch mozzarella style cashew cheese & marinara atop an artisan crust.

Yes, We’ll Take You to Funghi Town. Roasted baby Bella mushrooms, broccoli, house-made pumpkin seed pesto, shaved purple onion & made up of scratch mozzarella style cashew cheese atop an artisan crust.

Sinful Yet Guilt-Free. House-made Italian spiced wheat crumbles, cured shiitake bits, shaved fennel, made up of scratch mozzarella style cashew cheese & marinara atop an artisan crust.

Not Your Grandma’s. made up of scratch mozzarella style cashew cheese & marinara atop an artisan crust.

The 10 in pies are packaged in an eco-friendly, certified compostable oven-safe to 425° F/Microwavable TreeSaver™ Pizza Pans made within the U.S.

Adding CBD to the Mix

Melrose Park, Illinois-based Caputo Cheese is bringing CBD to the pizza ingredients market with its new Elevated Cow fresh mozzarella.

The CBD-infused variety comes from 100% organic hemp sourced within the U.S. and lab-tested and verified.

“A rigorous amount of research and testing went into developing Elevated Cow and that we are excited to supply our customers with a replacement cheese experience,” says Natale Caputo, Caputo Cheese’s president.

After having a positive personal experience with CBD, Caputo had the thought to craft something unique: his company’s award-winning fresh mozzarella elevated with CBD.

After rigorous lab tests, Caputo put his stamp of approval on the cheese and commenced working to form CBD fresh mozzarella available to cheese lovers trying to find elevated offerings.

“I believe the positive effects of CBD,” he says. “Infusing CBD into my passion for fresh mozzarella just seemed natural.”

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Top 5 Pizza Trends for Pizza Lovers

Laurie Scanlin, R&D culinary manager with the R&D culinary team at Denver-based Ardent Mills, says that consumer preferences for pizza are changing, “and new flour choices, also as an heirloom and ancient grains, are bringing new textures to crust and meeting the growing demand for plant-forward pizza.”

The Real Deal

Authenticity is increasingly important to pizza eaters; 49% desire authentic pizza offerings, and it doesn’t get more authentic than traditional Neapolitan-style pizza. Authentic Neapolitan-style pizzas use imported “00” flour from Italy, which is sort of costly. Ardent Mills’ Primo Mulino Neapolitan-Style Pizza Flour uses wheat grown and milled in North America, providing an equivalent crispy yet soft and subtle dough as traditional “00” flour without the imported cost.

Menu Idea: Authentic Margarita Pizza. A classic Neapolitan-style crust made with Ardent Mills Primo Mulino Neapolitan-Style Pizza Flour topped with San Marzano spaghetti sauce, fresh mozzarella, and fresh basil.

Simple Stand-Out Ingredients

Transparency in nutrition may be a growing trend that resonates with pizza consumers. Simple recipes featuring healthier ingredients are attractive, and therefore the more rustic, the higher. the standard of pizza also can be elevated with artisan ingredients.

Menu Idea: Ardent Mills presented a Farm Stand Pizza built with Ultragrain Whole flour and Red Quinoa, providing a hearty yet healthy crust with fresh roasted vegetables, chevre, pesto, and additional virgin vegetable oil.

Celebration Pies

Seasonality and food holidays offer more ways to make festive eating occasions like “National Donut Day” or “Fall Harvest Fest.” Themed pizzas can capture a number of this celebratory spirit and serve as limited-time offers.

Menu Idea: Mardi Gras Pizza. New Orleans favorites are an enormous hit during a new format with Cajun chicken, andouille sausage, Creole sauce, mozzarella, onions, peppers, and parsley toppings with Ardent Mills Kyrol premium high-gluten crust.

Toppings with Texture

Research shows 80% of consumers with their local pizzerias would offer more premium, innovative toppings. Consider adding both visual and crave-worthy flavor appeal with unique toppings that make the texture. Ardent Mills IQF grains as a gremolata topping allow operators to dial up the “wow factor” by adding meaty texture to a plant-based pizza. Operationally, the IQF format reduces back-of-the-house labor and allows for more consistent cook times.

Menu Idea: Mediterranean Pizza. Ardent Mills White Sonora whole grain flour crust topped with an IQF Barley, Quinoa and Spelt gremolata, grilled chicken, roasted peppers, a four-cheese blend, fresh arugula, cracked black pepper, and shaved parmesan.

Mini Mania

As the snacking category continues to expand, consumers are trying to find bite-sized options to satisfy their snack cravings. Operators can leverage in-house ingredients to deliver on this demand by using existing pizza dough to make pizza bites, a fun appetizer, or a bar menu addition.

Menu idea: Savory Garlic Parmesan or indulgent Cinnamon Sugar pizza bites both made with Ardent Mills Classic Pizza Mix are bound to be crowd-pleasers.

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