According to industry tracker Technomic, Americans are scarfing down a slice of pie four times a month, up from 3.4 a month two years ago, due in large part to chefs and pizzaioli pushing culinary boundaries on the blank canvas of pizza dough.
"Today's consumers are less beholden to their standard pizza orders, as emerging players push the envelope of what's expected on a pizza menu," Deanna Jordan, manager of consumer insights at Technomic, told Food Business News. "New chef-designed specialty pizzas positioned as customizable thought-starters will serve to convey kitchen skills and allow for the personalization these consumers increasingly expect."
What's more, Food Business News reports that there has been a marked increase in the consumer demand for "unique toppings," and a growing desire to know the nutritional content of pizza. And while healthy pizza remains a draw for a third of consumers, it would seem that vegetarian pizza—long the compromise for those who crave carbs and cheese but struggle with pizza guilt—is falling out of favor.
Furthermore, meats like chicken and prosciutto appear to be growing in popularity, while tomato sauce, one of the three main pillars of pizza, seems to be losing ground to buffalo and sriracha sauces.
This news may rattle purists, but it's a true testament to pizza's ability to adapt and evolve in an almost Darwinian manner. In the jungle of the American diet, pizza is the species that cannot be killed, and only gets stronger with every passing generation.