People eat about 100 acres of pizza each day in the United States. To put that in perspective, that’s about 75 football fields covered in gooey mozzarella and your favorite toppings. Pizza has been a staple in American diets for decades, so some may wonder what could possibly be new or trendy about the pizza industry. The answer? Plenty, as proven every year at Pizza Expo!
Thousands of pizzaiolos gathered at the 2017 Pizza Expo in Las Vegas March 27–30. Here’s a recap of what we observed as interesting trends and takeaways during our time at the trade show:
Food trucks and portable ovens were everywhere, and innovators are bringing pizza to the people through means other than your typical delivery service. The concept of portable pizza parties is growing in popularity — from graduation parties to wedding anniversaries. We see this trend becoming increasingly popular for people who want to add a new twist to their social gatherings.
What could be new about pepperoni? Well, if the first image that comes to mind is a perfectly round slice, then this small change could be a difference-maker. To provide a more artisanal or homemade look, food manufacturers are creating random-cut pepperoni as an alternative to the cylindrical shape. As always, flavor is still a must.
Pizzerias and restaurants that want to update their signage to take advantage of more eye catching and contemporary displays will be happy to know that prices have come down considerably in the past couple years, making promotional efforts more affordable.
Pizza Vending Machines
Though they seem like a novelty, there was a good presence for pizza vending machines — enough that it seemed worth noting. We’re not sure this will take off anytime soon, but with people on the go more than ever, you never know.
World Pizza Games
It’s always fascinating to watch world champion pizza makers taking on pizza challenges for Napoletana and Traditional styles. The winner received $7,500 in prize money and advances to the Pizza Maker of the Year bake off.
The competition was also fierce for the fastest pizza box fold and fastest pizza dough toss. As you can imagine, there were some exciting and amusing rivalries. The contest was a good conversation starter back at our booth when talking about our custom dough balls.
The interest at our booth for our new Authentic Wood Fired Pizza Crusts was incredible, and from the number of wood-fired style ovens on display throughout this year’s show, it’s safe to say that we’re on the leading edge of this “hot” trend. If you missed it at our booth, be sure to check out our video introducing this new par-baked wood-fired crust!
Fortunately for pizza crust manufacturers and restaurants, they don’t need to invest in the commercial domed ovens needed to offer a true wood-fired crust to their customers. We did it for them by hiring Italian craftsmen to create a large-scale lava stone deck oven that par-bakes the crust — creating an authentic wood-fired crust with the unmistakable flavors, texture and structure people love that can be finished in any oven.
The 2017 Pizza Expo had lots of great seminars and workshops for new operators and industry veterans. It was a great way to start off the food show season and spawned a lot of creative ideas for pizza crust manufacturers and restaurateurs alike. We’re excited for the remaining trade show events we’ll be attending in 2017. We hope to see you there!
To learn more from the pizza experts at Alive & Kickin’ Pizza Crust, check out our free eBook, Running Your Pizzeria Smoothly: Expert Advice from Industry Pros by clicking the button below.