Natural Products Expo East Pizza Product Trends Reflect Brick-and-Mortar Favorites

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We’re still basking in the aroma and taste tests from the latest food show: Natural Products Expo East. From brick-and-mortar to home baking back to dining out, the pizza industry has come full circle once again, and new spins on traditional favorites were showcased at this year’s Expo East. The industry reflected a time of the last year where pizza makers invented in their home kitchens. But, those trends are ready to break out of the house and back into the pizzerias, restaurants and other brick-and-mortar establishments ready to serve pizza lovers from across the nation. 

Thin Crust Pizza

Of the 43% of people who eat pizza at least once a week. 61% of those prefer a thin crust. This was also reflected in our #BYOP bracket, which had New York-style crust coming out on top. (More to come on that later this week.) Simply put, thin is in!

Cauliflower Crust

Two years ago, PMQ Magazine named cauliflower pizza the “Top Food of the Year.” It rose in popularity an astounding 650% in that year, according to a Grubhub study, which said that “plant-based foods are here to stay.” But then, 2020 came, and cauliflower crust didn’t really have a proper year to shine in the reigning champ spotlight. We saw more cauliflower crust debuts than most at the Expo — and that trend is definitely reflected back into brick-and-mortar restaurants. So much in fact, that we’re almost ready to retire the term “alternative crust” from this offering.

Gluten-Free’s Resurgence

The global gluten-free pizza crust market is expected to reach $3.08 billion by 2025, and even though countless Americans are making the switch to a gluten-free diet, we went to Celiac.com for the best gluten-free pizzas in the country. From Base Pizzeria in Phoenix to Pinky’s Pizzeria in Portland, we’re suckers for alliteration and a pizza pie with this trend that’s here to stay.

Chickpea’s Rise

Expo East also saw its fair share of chickpea crust debuts, and just this summer California Pizza Kitchen answered the question “What’s next” by debuting cauliflower pizza crust in select restaurants. Brian Sullivan, senior vice president of culinary innovation, said that the new crust follows “other inventive pizza crusts like the gluten-free crust and the cauliflower pizza crust.” Chickpea flour is high in protein and fiber, and it’s also gluten-free — seems like a fitting ingredient for pizza’s future. 

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