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Ribbon Pepperoni Among Top-Five Pizza Ingredient Trends, Says Hormel

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Following the recent International Pizza Expo in Las Vegas and unveiling its Ribbon Pepperoni topping, Hormel Foods is heating up the conversation on what’s trending on pizza menus in the way of toppings. Colby Strilaeff, foodservice brand manager for Austin, Minnesota, USA-headquartered Hormel Foods, identified the top-five pizza trends to watch for in 2024 as follows:

Ribbon Pepperoni. This topping needs no introduction in Canada, where shredded pepperoni is a staple. Inspired by the pizza stylings of Windsor, Ontario, the introduction of Ribbon Pepperoni is already a game-changer for American foodservice operators, allowing for quicker pizza preparation with pepperoni that spreads as easily as shredded mozzarella. It iis also a foodservice-friendly option for non-pizza applications like pastas, subs and calzones.

Giardiniera. A condiment with deep Chicago roots, it is a celebrated tradition in many Italian American households. Giardiniera, which means “from the garden” in English, is a pickled assortment of vegetables like peppers, olives and cauliflower, submerged in a tangy mixture of vinegar and oil. The result is a flavorful medley that nicely complements a variety of dishes, especially pizza. Italian sausage and giardiniera is a particularly tasty and increasingly popular flavor pairing on pizza.

Global Flavors. Culture continues to reveal itself in pizza. “New international flavors are always being introduced in pizzerias across the country,” Strilaeff said. “It’s one of the fastest growing trends in the industry.” Flavor profiles from far and wide are featured on menus across the United States, with familiar profiles like Mexican, Cuban and Indian flavors emerging as commonly sought after favorites. Global ingredients like chimichurri, gochujang and miso are also adding a flavor twist to popular slices.

Post-bake. Creativity: Cooking a pizza isn’t the final step of the pizza making process. “We’re seeing a lot more people get creative with what goes on pizza after it is taken out of the oven,” said Strilaeff. Ingredients like chili-infused oils and hot honeys have emerged as popular post-bake pizza toppings. Shaved Parmesan is another commonly applied accompaniment, as are basil and other leafy greens including rocket and arugula.

Sesame Seed Crust.  While not a traditional ingredient in pizza making, sesame seeds are an increasingly popular addition for those craving an extra crunch in their pizza crust. “It adds a delicious, nutty undertone, which people really enjoy,” Strilaeff said. Whether garnished over a glistening, buttery crust or folded into the entire dough ball, look for the trend of sesame seed crust to take off.