You may not be surprised to learn that pizza is America’s favorite food. While the most popular toppings include pepperoni, onions, and mushrooms, the customizable nature of this dish ensures that there’s always wiggle room for experimentation.

What are Americans obsessed with when it comes to current pizza trends? Which toppings and techniques are taking the cake, or pie, as the case may be? How can restaurants and food manufacturers evolve accordingly?


 Salad Pizza

The classic combo of pizza and salad never goes out of style, so why not cut to the chase by putting the salad directly on the pizza? Delicate greens aren’t necessarily going into the pizza oven, where they can easily scorch. Instead, let the heartier veggies cook while you toss greens with dressing, then add them to the top before serving.


Roasting Done Right

The biggest current trend in gourmet pizza toppings is roasted squash and vegetables. Go beyond expected additions like onions and bell peppers and opt for flavorful, roasted pumpkin, sweet potatoes, or butternut squash.

These unique toppings pair well with rich sauces, from creamy pesto to vodka cream sauce, and unique cheeses, such as goat or gorgonzola. Zucchini, broccolini, and eye-catching Romanesco cauliflower are outstanding with nutty sauces like cashew cream and truffle oil.


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 Feeling Saucy

Experimenting with sauces on pizza is nothing new. While tomato, pesto, and alfredo offer beloved flavor combinations, this is well-covered territory. Currently, the consumer market seems to crave alternatives for everything from chicken sando sauce to chip dips.

This offers unique opportunities to meet consumers where they’re at, with a new menu of sauce options. A good place to start is with trending exotic spices like harissa and za’atar that are popping up in all kinds of cuisine. 

Although pizza lovers are divided on the inclusion of pineapple on pizza, you might consider a sweet alternative like fig jam that provides a perfect counterbalance to salty prosciutto and peppery arugula.


Related: Where Is the U.S. Chicken Sandwich Craze Headed in 2024?


 Alternative Crusts

More consumers are looking for gluten-free options, whether they’re allergic, intolerant, or simply steering clear of wheat. Offering alternative crusts is a great way to make this popular meal more inclusive.

Cauliflower crust has emerged as a major contender for favored crust alternatives, thanks to a pleasantly starchy texture, mild flavor, and a tendency to crisp beautifully. Interesting options like zucchini and quinoa bases are also emerging, although the right rice flour blend could make for a more attractive and palatable gluten alternative.


Sustainable Sourcing

Sustainability is more than just a buzzword in the food industry. A growing segment of the consumer market is concerned enough to let this factor drive their purchasing decisions.

In addition to choosing organic and GMO-free ingredients, you might consider seasonal menus, local sourcing, and supply partners committed to overall sustainability. Besides being good for the planet, such practices provide a selling point, and they could even save you money in the long run.


Technology Integration

If you’re not looking for new ways to use technology in your business, you’re missing prime opportunities to streamline and better serve consumer needs. Options like online ordering and self-checkout stations are practically tailor-made for restaurants that offer customizable food options. 

The right AI programs can also be employed to track consumer preferences, informing supply choices and minimizing waste.


Easy Adaptation

Pizza is one of the easiest dishes to customize for individual consumer tastes, and that’s what adventurous diners are looking for these days. By offering a range of new crusts, sauces, and toppings alongside classic standbys, restaurants and food manufacturers can reinvigorate their base while inviting new customers to the table.


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