Comfort foods are taking on a new level of importance in light of quarantines during the coronavirus outbreak. Many Americans are turning to an old favorite, pizza, for a dining option while stuck in their homes.
According to Technomic, 43% of consumers enjoy pizza at least once a week. It’s also the food most turn to in times of distress. If your bakery offers pizza, or if you’re considering offering it, now is the time to stand out.
Pizza expert Tony Gemignani, author of The Pizza Bible and a World Pizza Champion who owns dozens of pizza restaurants, says Detroit-style pizza is hot right now. Detroit-style pizza features a square pie with a thick crust and cheddar cheese that is spread to the edges where it makes a delicious crispy crust.
“The spike in the industry use of cheddar is going nationwide. It’s not just a melting cheese – it caramelizes the edges and that makes it a distinct flavor that’s reminiscent of the crisp bits of mac and cheese,” says Gemignani.
Generally, there are five characteristics of Detroit-style pizza: baked in a square or rectangular pan, frico crust, crispy bottom, airy middle, and stripes of sauce on top.
“We all grew up with Americanized Neapolitan-style pizza,” says Peter Reinhart, author of Perfect Pan Pizza: Detroit, Roman, Sicilian, Foccacia, and Grandma Pies to Make at Home. “Detroit-style, when done well, is equally great. This is probably the one you should start with, just to perfect your system and determine how your oven and baking shelf best needs to be set.”
A new trend at pizza competitions is cheese being added to pizzas after being baked in the oven.
“It’s the presentation, especially with arugula, chutneys, and cheeses, such as Brie and Camembert,” says Avalanche Pizza owner, pizza judge, and World Pizza Champion John Gutekanst. “When it cools down a bit you add the cheese and create the visual effect.”
The Ardent Mills culinary team showcased top flour-and-grain trends at last year’s International Pizza Expo 2019, where pizza-making experts and enthusiasts from across the restaurant industry gathered. One of the top trends it showcased was Mini Mania. Keeping in line with a broader food industry trend, consumers are looking for more bite-sized options to satisfy their cravings.
Operators can leverage in-house ingredients to deliver on this demand by using existing pizza dough to create pizza bites, a fun menu addition. One menu idea is Savory Garlic Parmesan or indulgent Cinnamon Sugar pizza bites.