The pizza industry is on a roll. Business is booming, chains are growing and independents are thriving. Seems like the perfect time to sit back and relish in the success of such a mature industry, right? Wrong!
Now is not the time for the pizza industry to rest on its laurels, and I’m thrilled to see key players adopt this attitude as they continue to revolutionize and innovate across multiple mediums.
For example, did you see that Pizza Hut has changed its Original Pan Pizza recipe for the first time in 40 years! That’s right, a new cheese blend and sauce signals the chain’s determination to not let tradition get in the way of innovation and what the newest generation of consumers wants.
Also on the chain side, Little Caesar’s recently launched the Impossible Pizza, a pie made with meatless sausage. The Detroit-based company is the first national pizza chain to add a meat substitute to its menu, reflecting an increasing interest in plant-based foods from millennials and Generation Z.
Not content to let Little Caesar’s steal all of the plant-based spotlight, CPK (formerly California Pizza Kitchen) is adding a BBQ Heirloom Carrot Flatbread to its summer menu. The new offering is a spin on the company’s popular Original BBQ Chicken Pizza, without the meat. The flatbread contains hearth-roasted carrots, smoked Gouda, charred red onions, Parmesan, cilantro, BBQ sauce and ranch dressing.
If plant-based toppings are not enough to satisfy s consumer’s dietary needs, countless independents throughout the country have embraced cauliflower pizza crusts. Check out this San Jose Mercury News article that rates the top cauliflower crusts in the area.
And finally, Artificial Intelligence has officially been embraced by the pizza industry. From chatbots to automated advertising to quality control checks, AI has significant potential to improve the quality and experience of eating pizza.
Congratulations to the pizza industry for bringing innovation to the forefront when times are good. All too often we see industries use innovation in times of desperation. Everyone in the pizza industry should be proud of the work it’s doing to stay relevant.