Pizza Trends 2023 – New York and New England
Pizza is a beloved comfort food, bringing families and friends together at mealtime as they share a delicious pie. Yet, even comfort foods can change as customer preferences shift course. Pizza is no different. Here are the latest pizza trends in 2023 we see for the New York and New England regions.
Although the Millennial generation brought in some new food preferences, Generation Z has amplified that trend. Today, pizza is the ultimate go-to food for 56% of Gen Z between 18 and 23 and 50% of Gen Z between 24 and 29. It beats chicken entrees by seven points and appetizers by eight points.
What does this mean? When Gen Zers head out for casual eats, nighttime refueling, or last-minute study sessions, they’re not reaching for burritos, tacos, or even burgers nearly as often as they reach for pizza.
What about the top and fastest-growing pizza toppings? For top ingredients in New York and New England, we find that cheese at 32% still reigns supreme, followed by popular sauces (think tomato sauce, white sauce, or marinara sauce), chicken, tomatoes, onions, and peppers. These toppings are often considered long-standing favorites across generations.
However, things start to shift when you look at the fastest-growing ingredients. At 25%, pickles take the top spot in New York and New England, followed by white cheddar, ranch sauce, cilantro, black beans, avocado, and basil pesto.
Pizza topping trends are on the move, with consumers favoring ingredients that offer a punchier flavor, enhanced crunch, creamier texture, or a more global taste experience. Consumers are showing that fresh ingredients, spicy toppings, and diverse foods are a welcome addition to the traditional taste profile.
When looking at pizza flavor trends in 2023, we see similar changes in the fastest-growing types. Top flavors, though, still lean toward Italian tastes, such as prosciutto, olives, salami, Italian sausage, provolone, and basil. Italian flavors sit at a staggering 74.4% in popularity. These pizza flavors have been widespread for a while, while others like Mediterranean, garlic, ricotta, buffalo sauce, and Parmesan have a smaller following.
In the fastest-growing pizza flavors, we find cilantro at 13.1% and Indian flavors at 9.5%. Interestingly, sharp flavors — think aged asiago, goat cheese, arugula, or pickled red onions — are inching their way up, as are garden vegetables, truffles, and buttery flavors.
More businesses are adding complexity to their pizzas to appeal to changing customer preferences. For example, sharp or spicy pizzas might showcase gourmet flavors, global ingredients, or elevated comfort-food tastes.
Looking at some trendy flavor pairings, we might see peppadew peppers with red onions, bacon, goat cheese, and honey. Here, mild spice enhances the subtle sharpness of goat cheese and onion, the sweetness of honey, and the salty crunch of bacon.
Other pairings might include roasted mushrooms, pecorino Romano cheese, oregano, thyme, and mozzarella over a creamy sauce. With this pairing, the earthiness of mushrooms adds complexity to the sharpness of the herbs and aged cheese. It’s rounded out with creamy textures from the sauce and mild mozzarella.
What do pizza trends in 2023 show in terms of style? Plenty. New York especially has a lengthy history of food innovation or admiration, and New Yorkers’ love of pizza fits right in with this historical trend.
Here are the pizza styles taking the region by storm in 2023.
This style is about the shape, the dough, and the cheese. Detroit-style pizza comes in a rectangular pan, giving it a squared shape. Unlike other popular pizza crusts with a chewy texture, Detroit-style crusts are softer and more porous, much like rip-apart focaccia dough.
Many pizzas use grated or fresh mozzarella. Not Detroit style. This pizza uses high-fat Wisconsin brick cheese, which goes on top of the toppings. It adds oil to the dough and enhances the crispy cheese texture that extends to the pan edge. Sauce is essential, but it’s added last to avoid an uncooked crust.
St. Louis Style
St. Louis-style pizzas are distinctive. Their crust is extra thin and crispy, like a cracker, because the dough has no yeast. This style favors heaping piles of bacon, sausage, onions, and bell peppers for toppings. To compensate for the weight, there’s another twist: the tavern cut. St. Louis-style pizza is cut into strips and then turned and cut again, making squares out of a round pizza.
What about the cheese? By and large, it’s a regional exclusive called Provel — a processed blend of white cheddar, Swiss, and provolone that creates a creamy consistency.
Another trendy pizza style, Roman has a light, airy dough made from high-protein Italian flour and olive oil and rested for 48 hours. Roman-style pizza uses toppings like tomato sauce, basil, pecorino cheese, anchovies, and peppers and gets its oval shape from an oversized rectangular pan. It’s cut into squares using special Roman scizzas, or scissors.
Finally, Neapolitan is another pizza trend 2023 is seeing. This back-to-basics style has a chewy crust with a soft center. Toppings are fresh and simple.
Pizza margherita is one of three sub-styles, topped with fresh mozzarella, basil, tomato sauce, and olive oil. Pizza marinara has garlic, oregano, olive oil, and tomato sauce, while pizza margherita extra exchanges regular mozzarella for buffalo mozzarella for a bolder, creamier texture.
2023 pizza trends also extend to presentation. While pizza by the slice is still popular, the cheap slice may be a thing of the past. We see that inflation plays a part in slice shops raising their prices, with average prices reaching $3.00 per slice in December 2022, up 16% from $2.52 in 2014.
Changing prices aren’t stopping innovation. With independent shops and chef-driven restaurants, there’s a strong preference for gourmet ingredients like smoked salmon, crème fraiche, caviar, dill, and pancetta. Likewise, high-end casual chains are taking a cue from independent shops, opting for black truffle, fig jam, fior di latte, coppa, apple, and black pepper.
Branching out to mainstream casual chains, trendy toppings include arugula, goat cheese, olives, balsamic, gorgonzola, and basil pesto. However, the fast-service chains are hitting pause on innovation. These restaurants prefer to stay traditional, with pepperoni, cheese, sausage, tomatoes, and onions decorating their pizzas.
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