Pizzas are the quintessential Italian-American food in the United States with annual sales running in the billions. Like any industry, nonetheless, even a classic food will be subjected to the changes brought on by contemporary times. In 2018, we are seeing several notable trends that we like to discuss in this article.
Customized Pizzas, Creative Ingredients
At one point or another, every American with a fondness for pizzas has eaten his fair share of customized pizzas. These pizzas are anything that you want them to be – a sweet or savory pie, a meat lover’s dream or a vegetarian’s choice, and a square- or round-shaped pizza. The chains of pizza restaurants, such as Pizza Express, Domino’s, Pizza Hut , Little Caesars, and Papa John’s, have long been in on the customize pizza bandwagon.
The pizza industry, however, is taking the concept of customized pizzas to the next level! Many pizzerias are actually redefining their menus so that their pizzas can cater to a wide range of dieting philosophies, especially vegan and gluten-free.
The trend toward a more inclusive menu appears to be partly fueled by the realization of pizzeria owners that there is, indeed, a good return on investment in attracting specific subsets of their target markets. The consumers with gluten allergies and people who have adopted the vegetarian and vegan lifestyles deserve to enjoy restaurant-quality pizza, too.
The bottom line for consumers: With patience, you will find a pizzeria that caters to your special dietary needs! You can now enjoy pizzas along with your family and friends without worrying about your gluten sensitivity kicking in soon, for example.
And then there are the creative use of common ingredients in making pizzas. Take, for example, the unicorn pizza inspired by the mythical creature, thus, its bold and bright colors. Many pizza lovers who saw it for the first time even say that it’s a combination of bright, bold and bizarre because of its colors and combinations of ingredients.
While Pizza Express hasn’t made its own unicorn pizza – and we’re hearing sighs of relief from readers – it appears to be popular with the younger set, especially kids fascinated by unicorns. The unicorn pizza takes many forms but it’s usually a mishmash of rainbow colors – a rainbow-colored crust, frosting made from cream cheese, cotton candy, and Pop Rocks. The result: A too-sweet, too-colorful pizza that is as far from the original pizza is the tropics to Antarctica.
Fortunately, unicorn pizzas aren’t going mainstream anytime soon. We are happy instead that Detroit-style pizza is coming into the spotlight because these are more in line with our idea of pizzas, square-shaped, deep-dish pan notwithstanding. Besides, life is too short to limit yourself to the thin-crust pizza – unless, of course, it’s the unicorn pizza, which we will pass up on.
Online Presence Matters More
Nowadays, most of the successful pizza chains use digital tools in strengthening their market presence. Even the holdouts among independent pizzerias are realizing that the online world is a whole different ballgame and they have to act fast before they are run out of business.
The pizzerias and pizza chains use the Internet in several ways although all of these are designed to improve the customers’ experience with the business (i.e., customer-centric thrust).
First, pizzerias are tapping into digital tools to improve the efficiency of their delivery services. These tools include zero-click apps, fast Facebook messaging services, and tweeting locations of food trucks, among others, which make ordering easier and delivery faster. The use of the Internet as part of an ordering and delivery system isn’t surprising considering that more and more people have smartphones.
Second, pizza chains are using social media in broadening its market reach and in raising awareness of its brand. Many chains, for example, use advanced customer targeting techniques on social media in driving sales. Many of them also use social listening tools in looking for trending events and in determining their target customers’ changing needs.
Of course, there’s also the fact that the Internet can be an effective venue for tapping into new markets, as well as for keeping in touch with the millennials, most of whom are the strongest influencers on social media.
What do these trends mean for pizza lovers? Well, we have to say that these trends can mostly mean positive things for you and the pizza-loving community.
You will be able to make your order, track the status of delivery, and air your concerns via your smartphone, a more convenient way than picking up the phone or going to the pizzeria. You can also be updated about the latest events in your favorite pizza chain, said events of which can include promotions and offers.
There’s also the opportunity to start a pizza trend of your own! You just never know when your creative idea becomes the new normal in the pizza industry.