IFT17 Top 10 Food Trends and their impact on the pizza industry
2017’s Top 10 Food Trends were unveiled at IFT17 which took place in Las Vegas on June 25-28. Presented by Innova Market Insights, the trends show the increasing demand for healthier foods and bolder flavors. While some have started on a small scale, trends such as low sugar or dairy free are now gaining momentum and turning into consumer lifestyles. In this article, we will present each of the 10 trends and discuss their impact on the pizza industry.
- More veggies, less meat
Vegetables and plants are becoming a bigger part of day-to-day life, as we start to see more meatless options in restaurants and on supermarket shelves. According to Kara Nielsen, manager of sales and engagement USA at Innova Market Insights, “new global product launches with a plant-based claim grew 63% from 2011 to 2015”. The incredible demand in plant-based products is driven by consumers’ increasing desire to go meatless more days of the week. In fact, according to Nielsen, “38% of Americans are going meatless at least once a week.”
What this means for the pizza industry: Since plants are becoming major ingredients in global product development, we will start to see plants becoming a bigger part in product development in the pizza industry as well. Miss Nielsen affirms that “Plants are coming into categories where they haven’t normally played a role or taking on new roles and changing the face of some of these categories and changing the conversation.” An example of an innovative use of plants in the pizza industry is our very own Carbon Black Pizza Dough. The unconventional black color is achieved by using vegetable charcoal powder, which is said to reduce symptoms of indigestion and bloating. Read more here: Introducing Carbon Black Pizza Dough.
- Clean labeling
Transparent labelling is becoming the industry standard. In fact, according to Innova Market Insights, claims such as “environmentally friendly” had a compound annual growth rate of 72% in new global food and beverage launches from 2011 to 2015. Consumers are showing a growing interest in knowing where their food comes from and getting accurate information from manufacturers on environmental impact and animal welfare.
What this means for the pizza industry: As we have outlined in our blog Pizza for Millennials Part 1: How to successfully introduce healthy pizza to the menu, the end product is not the only showstopper anymore. Consumers want the story behind the food on their plate. Start by thinking of the quality of your flour or the purity of the olive oil. In the case of pepperoni and bacon toppings, claims such as “raised without antibiotics” are a great example of transparent labelling. According to “The Canadian Pizza Consumer Trend Report“, pizza made with premium and all-natural ingredients will appeal more than a traditionally healthy pizza.
- Less sugar, sweeter tastes
Developing low sugar, appetizing products without compromising the clean label has been a constant challenge for food manufacturers, especially because “new products with no added sugar have increased 21% in the past five years” and the trend is expected to continue to grow, according to Nielsen.
What this means for the pizza industry: In the case of sugar, less is more. Desert pizza can be turned into a healthier dish by substituting indulging toppings such as Nutella with cream cheese spreads. Healthy fruit pizza can be topped with strawberries, blackberries, kiwis and even almonds or walnuts for an added crunch.
- Food as a cultural experience
Consumers are craving for cultural experiences and dishes inspired by local and regional recipes from around the world. According to Innova Market Insights, the number of ethnic flavored product launches doubled from 2012 to 2016. The most popular flavors include Thai, Indian and Mexican.
What this means for the pizza industry: The pizza industry has been reacting to the ethnic cuisine trend with new, exciting dishes such as Butter Chicken Pizza, Thai Chicken Pizza or even Chorizo Pizza. Revamping classic dishes is another winning strategy when it comes to competing with the ethnic food trend. A good example is our very own Garlic Panouzzo which is available at Costco or the Focaccia Toscana that can be found at Metro.
- Functional diets on the rise
While some consumers are increasingly interested in adopting personalized diets like Paleo or low-FODMAP, others are looking for functional ingredients, such as added protein and probiotics. According to Nieslen, there is an increasing trend toward “protein added” in categories like cereals, dairy, ready meals, snacks, meat, fish and eggs. Moreover, dairy-free yogurt is considered healthy by 55% of U.S. consumers.
What this means for the pizza industry: Given the rising interest in healthy lifestyles, the pizza industry must continue to grow in this space by developing nutritious, diet-friendly products. Some examples are: dairy-free or low-fat cheese options, an abundance of vegetable toppings, gluten-free pizza crusts and high protein, nutritional toppings like ham, spinach or broccoli. Lower carb options can be achieved by replacing red meats with white meats or fish and substituting thick pizza crust with thin flatbreads. A great article on nutritional pizza toppings can be found here: http://www.foxnews.com/health/2012/09/08/nutritional-pizza-toppings.html
- Hand crafted products
The showcase of sophistication in food manufacturing is clearly gaining momentum, with “food and beverage launches with a craft positioning increasing by 15% in 2015” Nielsen said. Consumers are more interested in crafted products and small artisanal details, even in mass produced products. Ms. Nielsen cited as an example Hellmann’s Carefully Crafted dressing and sandwich spread.
What this means for the pizza industry: Hand stretched dough has always been an immense advantage for pizza makers because it shows the attention to detail and the craft that goes behind each pizza. In the case of multiple restaurant locations, working with a dough supplier can help achieve product consistency while preserving the authenticity of the recipe, whether it is a dough ball or a par-baked crust. Read more about working with a dough supplier here. Finally, a brick oven is a great asset to have when it comes to achieving an authentic, wood burning flavor and texture.
- Special moments
An interesting trend is given by products which are geared toward specific occasion and moments of the day, such as coffee breaks and mid-morning snacks. Ms. Nielsen highlighted Kellogg’s Special K Biscuit Moments as an example of a product geared toward taking an indulgent break.
What this means for the pizza industry: According to Innova Market Insights, new products geared toward a sharing moment increased 24% last year. Pizza makers can take advantage of this trend by offering limited time offers targeted toward special seasonal events, winter holidays, Halloween or even local events like game nights. You can read more about game night specials in our article here. Offering breakfast or brunch pizza is another innovative way to cater towards different moments of the day.
- Children’s options
According to Innova Market Insights, products targeted toward children are also gaining momentum in dairy, cereal, snacks, ready meals and fruits and vegetables categories. Brands are also encouraging children to cook and create their own dishes.
What this means for the pizza industry: Many restaurants have already implemented kids’ menus and specific products tailored toward the younger demographic. The most popular product launches in the food industry are fruit flavors, growing 80% last year, vegetables 65%, spices and seeds 55% and herbs 7%. With the growing niche directed towards children’s food products, there is an opportunity for the pizza industry to develop more creative and wholesome items for the younger demographic. For example, at MiMi Foods, we create nutritional pizza crusts that adhere to school board dietary guidelines.
- Surprising flavor combinations
Co-branding, hybrid product innovation and unexpected flavor combinations are all part of this year’s growing food marketplace trends. Popcorn grew 10% in new global product launches in 2016.
What this means for the pizza industry: The pizza industry can adapt to this trend by thinking out of the box when it comes to toppings. Sweet and salty can be achieved by combining grilled chicken with feta cheese and adding a sweet balsamic glaze on top. Sweet and spicy combinations are also popular. A great example is pepperoni, pineapple and chili flakes.
- Seeds as superfoods
Consumers are showing a growing interest in chia, quinoa, buckwheat and millet because of their nutritional benefits and added flavor. According to Innova Market Insights, hemp is on the rise, with 42% in global product launches on a CAGR basis from 2011 to 2016.
What this means for the pizza industry: The pizza industry can take advantage of seeds to create highly nutritious pizza crusts. Our own Amazing Grains is made of a nutritious blend of super foods and dehydrated organic fruits. It can be used in pizza dough balls and par-baked crusts for an added boost of nutrients.