The Ardent Mills culinary team showcased top flour-and-grain trends at the International Pizza Expo 2019, held in Las Vegas, Nevada, the USA.
“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. 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,” said Laurie Scanlin, R&D culinary manager with the R&D culinary team at Ardent Mills.
Ardent Mills served up a variety of brick-oven style pizzas featuring ancient and heirloom grains and individually quick-frozen (IQF) grains at the Pizza Expo, now in its 35th consecutive year of operation at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Here are the five pizza trends and Ardent Mills menu innovations that rose to the top:
- The Real Deal – Authenticity is increasingly important to pizza eaters; 49% desire authentic pizza offerings, and it doesn’t get more authentic than traditional Neapolitan-style pizza. Authentic Neapolitan-style pizzas use imported “00” flour from Italy, which is quite costly. Ardent Mills’ 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.
- Simple Stand-Out Ingredients – Transparency in nutrition is a growing trend that resonates with pizza consumers. Simple recipes featuring healthier ingredients are attractive, and the more rustic, the better. The quality of pizza can also be elevated with artisan ingredients.
- Celebration Pies – Seasonality and food holidays offer more ways to create festive eating occasions like “National Donut Day” or “Fall Harvest Fest.” Themed pizzas can capture some of this celebratory spirit and serve well as limited-time offers.
- Toppings with Texture – Eighty percent of consumers wish their local pizzerias would offer more premium, innovative toppings, and consider adding both visual and crave-worthy flavor appeal with unique toppings that create texture. Ardent Mills IQF grains as a gremolata topping allowing operators to dial up the “wow factor” by adding a meaty texture to a plant-based pizza. Operationally, the IQF format reduces back-of-the-house labor and allows for more consistent cook times.
- Mini Mania – As the snacking category continues to expand, consumers are looking for bite-sized options to satisfy their snack cravings. Operators can leverage in-house ingredients to deliver on this demand by using existing pizza dough to create pizza bites, a fun appetizer or a bar menu addition.