Concepts To Watch: Key Trends You Can Include On Your Menu

Key points

  • Following the rise of the cauliflower pizza base, we’re now seeing bases made from chickpea, quinoa, flaxseed, sorgum and buckwheat
  • Pizza toppings which contain less fat and sugar, such as vegetarian options, make it easy for offer pizza as a healthy snacking choice
  • With pizza such a versatile menu option, its potential as an all-day breakfast is limited only by the chef’s imagination.
  • Meal personalisation is also a perfect fit for pizza – the challenge is to ensure effective portion control

Such is pizza’s popularity as an ‘on trend menu’ item and profit-maker that in recent times its market penetration has extended into cafes, pubs, clubs and even upmarket restaurants. This has led to creative chefs taking advantage of emerging trends, adapting and innovating to create new presentation styles, toppings and service opportunities. Check out these latest trends which are fast becoming mainstays of the pizza menu:

Alternative flours for pizza bases

Growing out of the demand for gluten free food, alternative flours are becoming more and more popular and easier to obtain, and are now starting to be used to create both pizza bases and pasta.

In 2019 we saw the rise of cauliflower pizza bases and we’re now seeing bases made from legumes such as chickpeas, pseudocereals including quinoa, flaxseed, sorghum and buckwheat, and even exotic newcomers such as fonio, an African grain.

Also new to the Australian market are colourful vegetarian/vegan pizza bases made with ingredients such as pumpkin and carrot (orange), beetroot (bright pink) and basil (bright green) – made not from flour but from 100 per cent vegetable puree, so they contain no animal products and have added nutrients.

Healthy snacking

Snacking has been on the rise for some time and the trend shows no sign of slowing. Market research conducted by Innova shows almost one-third of millennials (a key component of your customer base) replace meals with snacks due to their busy lifestyles.

But the same research shows younger consumers are also looking for a healthier diet – with less added sugar and fat, and higher levels of proteins. Convenience is also a key component of snacking, and pizza is a great fit as it ticks all the boxes in this regard.

Choosing pizza toppings which contain less fat and sugar – such as vegetarian options, which are a key component of many pizzas in any case – make it easy to offer pizza as a healthy snacking choice for on-the-go customers.

Breakfast all day

With more and more people choosing to eat out earlier in the day, it’s no surprise that breakfast pizzas began being added to menus a few years ago. Domino’s introduced its All Day Aussie Breakfast Pizza back in 2014 – basically a scrambled eggs and bacon pizza. In the years since, dine-out breakfast has grown from a defined daypart into an all-day menu option, with many consumers wanting to choose from the breakfast menu even at 3pm or later.

With pizza such a versatile menu option, its potential as an all-day breakfast is limited only by the chef’s imagination. You can find Eggs Benedict Pizzas with bacon, spinach, mozzarella, poached eggs and hollandaise sauce, along with smoked salmon pizzas with crème fraiche, red onions, dill, potatoes and tomatoes or an Italian style breakfast pizza of eggs, spinach, mozzarella, mascarpone and parmesan.

As always, it’s a question of taking classic breakfast dishes and adapting them to pizza presentation – such as Pancetta Affumicata pizza from New York, a new take on a classic Italian dish, consisting of eggs, bacon, crème fraiche and caramelised onions; or how about a Sweet Cinnamon Toast Pizza of mixed berries, butter, sugar and cinnamon spice glaze?

Personalised pizza and pasta

Meal personalisation is another trend that’s a perfect fit for pizza. With ‘build your own burger’ options promoted heavily by McDonald’s along with many independent burger bars, build your own pizza is a concept that’s growing in overseas markets.

The challenge in making this a cost-effective menu option is to ensure effective portion control – you need to standardise your production costs while still meeting customers’ desire for recipe variation.

The key is to cost out each ingredient appropriately – weighing, measuring and portioning out accordingly. This way, every time a customer orders a particular sauce or topping, the staff can measure out the correct amount and make sure it’s evenly spread over the pizza.

You can offer customers their choice of pizza base – such as traditional, gluten free, wholemeal etc – then a choice of cheese, and a set number of other toppings including vegetables, fruits and meats. And if you offer personalised pizzas at a set price, it’s a great way to entice customers looking for quick, value for money meals.