At the recent International Pizza Expo in Las Vegas, the culinary team at Ardent Mills presented ideas on how to use premium flours and grains to maximize pizza’s potential. Pizza flours, ancient and heirloom grains, and products like IQF grains all were presented with America’s favorite food in mind.

“Pizza is a comfort food that always stands the test of time, and although thin and thick pizza crusts continue to be favorites, 2019 is shaping up to be a huge year in pizza innovation,” says Laurie Scanlin, R&D Culinary Manager with the R&D culinary team at Ardent Mills. "Consumer preferences are changing, and new flour choices, as well as heirloom and ancient grains, are bringing new textures to crust and meeting the growing demand for plant-forward pizza."

Here are five of the latest pizza trends to watch, according to Ardent Mills:

  1. Authenticity – 49 percent of pizza eaters desire authentic pizza offerings, according to Technomic’s 2018 Pizza Consumer Trend Report. Ardent Mills suggests traditional Neapolitan-style pizzas, which typically use costly “00” flour imported from Italy. The company’s Primo Mulino Neapolitan-Style Pizza Flour uses wheat grown and milled in North America, providing the same crispy yet soft and subtle dough as traditional “00” flour without the imported cost.
  2. Simple, Stand-Out Ingredients – Healthier, artisan ingredients appeal to pizza consumers looking for transparency in nutrition.
  3. Celebration – Help customers get in the festive spirit for holidays and other special events with themed pies. For instance, Ardent Mills suggests a Mardi Gras pizza made with New Orleans favorites such as Cajun chicken, andouille sausage, Creole sauce, mozzarella, onions, peppers, and parsley toppings.
  4. Toppings to Create Texture – Datassential’s Foodbytes: Pizza Keynote Report 2018 shows that 80 percent of consumers wish their local pizzerias would offer more premium, innovative toppings. Use toppings that add visual flair and appealing taste. For instance, Ardent Mills IQF grains can be used as a gremolata topping to add meaty texture to a plant-based pizza.
  5. Go Mini – Snacking is popular among consumers, who are looking for bite-sized options to satisfy their appetite. Operators can use existing pizza dough to create pizza bites for a fun appetizer or menu addition.