Happy National Pizza Day! Businesses across the country are celebrating with supermarket deals and discounts on delivery.
Pizza has moved far beyond the humble Margherita. Just look at the regal offering from Lancashire-based supplier Preston Pizza Oven Pioneer which has created the Meghan Pizza in honour of Prince Harry’s future wife. It has turkey meatballs, crayfish tails, cannellini beans, cherry tomatoes, parmesan and chilli flakes plus blue carrots, lavender and garlic flowers.
While that may be a bit out there, its proof that pizza can be used as a starting point for experimenting with trends and unusual flavours.
Here’s our pick of five top trends for National Pizza Day:
Pizza is no longer confined to the sofa as part of an evening in front of the telly. It’s breaking out into lunch, brunch and even breakfast. Yep, breakfast pizza is now a thing.
Think of it as a full English but in a different format. One example is Bella Italia’s Breakfast Pizza, available at its Luton Airport branch, which is topped with bacon, Cumberland pork sausages, tomatoes, mushrooms and an egg.
They can also tap the trend for more flexible pattern of eating and individual portions can make a great grab-and-go offering for busy consumers, as British Baker explored in the pizza feature late last year. Subscribers to the magazine can view it here.
There’s no ignoring the rise of veganism and, thanks to the increased availability of vegan cheese, pizza is back on the menu for those avoiding meat and dairy.
Pizza’s major players are paying attention. Just last month Goodfella’s debuted its first ever vegan pizza, topped with falafel, red peppers and hummus drizzle, while The White Rabbit Pizza Co claimed its Smokin’ Vegan was the first vegan pizza to gain a supermarket listing in the UK back in August. Zizzi’s has also got in on the action with a trendy beetroot and avocado offering, and pizzas featured among Tesco’s new Wicked Kitchen range.
There’s no escaping the war on packaging right now, as Brits demand that supermarkets and suppliers shift away from needless waste.
Asda, for one, has committed to making all of its own-brand packaging recyclable by 2025. For pizza, this means the polystyrene bases will be switched to cardboard, removing 178 tonnes of plastic from customers’ homes.
But consumers also want packaging to make their lives easier. One example of this is the oven-ready insert on M&S’ range of Detroit-style Deep & Loaded Pizzas. This means consumers can remove the outer box and place the product and tray straight into the oven.
Driven partially by demand for healthier and lighter options, alternative pizza bases are becoming more popular. It’s a trend that is predominantly played out in-home as consumers use the likes of tortillas and pitta bread as the base for pizza toppings.
Warburtons, meanwhile, advocates the use of its crumpets as an alternative to traditional pizza dough, and topping them with tomatoes, pepper, olives, chicken and mozzarella.
Around the world
While the pizza most UK consumers are familiar with likely has its origins in Italy or the US (think deep-pan pizzas), bread topped with sauce isn’t exclusive to these regions. And as foodies search for more unusual fare, some are gaining popularity.
One that is growing thanks to interest in street food is the Turkish lahmacun, comprised of a flatbread topped with spiced minced meat, vegetables and herbs.
Other lesser known ones, in the UK at least, are tarte flambée from France – bread dough topped with fromage blanc, thinly sliced onions and lardons – and the Polish zapiekanka, a type of open sandwich made from half a baguette topped with tomato sauce, mushrooms and cheese.