Developments in Pizza for 2017

Pizza is being pushed in some exciting new directions.
 
Pizza remains one of the most popular foods in America, and for good reason. It combines ingredients that we love in a simple and straightforward way, but that doesn’t mean that operators aren’t looking to push its boundaries in delicious directions.
 
Some recent developments in the food world suggest the popularity of pizza is continuing to climb and is inspiring bold choices.
 
Gluten-free foods of all types are trending, and pizza is no different. “With gluten-free having become something of a lifestyle choice in Western countries, especially among younger generations, it is no surprise that a growing base of consumers is buying into gluten-free pizza,” said Alex Beckett, global food and drink analyst at Mintel. 
 
Over the next three years, the restaurant business's demand for gluten-free food products will likely double, according to Statista. Alternative flours are being used at major retailers such as California Pizza Kitchen to produce a variety of gluten-free pizza options.

The latest in the Craft Pie series from Your Pie.
 

Speaking of health, you can also pair pizza with a matching salad. Your Pie, the self-proclaimed “world’s originator of the fast casual, brick-oven, customized personal pizza category,” announced the latest addition to its seasonal Craft Pie series last week. The new Pear Gorgonzola Pizza features an olive oil base with mozzarella, and topped with spinach, caramelized onions, pecans, and pear sprinkled with Gorgonzola. The accompanying salad includes spinach, caramelized onions, pecans, pears, Gorgonzola, and is drizzled with pomegranate acai vinaigrette.

Major chains are looking for any possible avenue to explore. Starbucks, for example, recently announced that it plans to debut a line of standalone Italian bakeries in America in the next few years. These Princi bakeries, named for renowned boutique bakery and café operator Rocco Princi, are expected to offer focaccia and Neapolitan pizzas in addition to their bread menu.

Xavier University is the site of the very first pizza ATM in the country. Image courtesy of Paline.
 
Pizza has so dominated food culture that pizza ATM machines are making their way into the landscape. The first pizza-dispensing ATM came to Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio in August of 2016. Paline, the company that operates these machines in Europe mostly, says that colleges and universities are jumping at the opportunity to provide these machines for students.
 
If your bakery provides a lunch menu that features pizza, you can stand out from others with interesting flavors. Some of the more interesting toppings we have seen in recent months are a Flamin’ Hot Cheetos pizza from Ameci in California, a raw tuna and wasabi pizza from Mercer Kitchen in New York City, and a chicken and waffle pizza from Chicago hotspot Dimo’s. 
 
These pizzerias have used food trends to great success. Cheetos (junk food), sushi, and breakfast foods are incredibly popular meal themes that can make excellent inclusions on pizza. Your bakery may not have the resources to put something like sushi on a pizza, but the idea is that working outside the norms can be an advantage for a retail bakery.