Consumers who buy pizza from limited-service restaurants are turning such flavorings as Buffalo sauce and Asiago cheese into the pie ingredients of the moment, but peers who prefer pies from full-service places are demanding comfort options like traditional tomato sauce and cheddar cheese.
That was one of the takeaways from a new report on pizza trends from Technomic, the Chicago-based research sister of Restaurant Business. The study shows that patrons’ options depend greatly on where they’re buying the pizza.
For instance, the researcher found that chicken perceived as being more healthful is an increasingly common topping in limited-service places, while prosciutto is becoming a familiar customer-pleaser in full-service places.
Among the other consumer changes that Technomic noted:
1. Pizza wins more mentions on fast-casual menus
Pizza is becoming as familiar in the fast-casual market as signature options like burgers and sandwiches. The rapidly growing sector is offering “notably more” pizza options, with 15 percent of establishments featuring some sort of entree version, Technomic reported.
2. Red is far from dead
Traditional tomato sauce, already the most common sauce option for pizza customers of full-service restaurants, is continuing to gain popularity in that service channel, Technomic found. But it’s disappearing faster than any other sauce option in the limited-service sector.
5. Hold the veggies
A fast decliner for both sectors is the vegetarian pizza.