N. Jay Sorensen, MBA RD
Last Updated: January 12, 2015
Babyboomers, Gen-xers, and Gen-yers are all familiar with the warmth, comfort and convenience pizza brings to their lives. Can you remember where or when the last time you ordered pizza? Most likely, you’ve ordered pizza sometime during the last month. Many Americans order the classic style thin crust pizza for home delivery everyday. A survey states that pizza is not just for dinner anymore; Leftover pizza and soft drinks are common breakfast fare for many Americans. Eating pizza can now be nutritious. It has and will continue to satisfy an important gap in food gratification. To meet the consumer needs, pizza has changed it’s size, type of crusts and broaden the variety of toppings offered. Today, pizza can be anything that we desire.
We all influence the rapid changes in products and services offered to us at restaurants and grocery stores. More of us are working harder and longer hours, especially the women in the work force, who use to spend their afternoons preparing the evening meal for dad and the kids. More of us, especially women, are spending less time preparing and cooking meals at home with our families. Although we are not spending hours preparing home cooked meals, we still crave a variety in the foods we eat. Consumers today buy a variety of foods to satisfy the needs in their diets. After a difficult day of work, moms and dads find ordering a pizza to be a quick remedy for the long day. Pizza satisfies their hunger, provides a variety in foods, tastes great and more importantly the kids love it.
As a pizza connoisseur, I will share with you why pizza continues to be a popular choice in meal convenience, trends in some of the variety of pizza styles, and how you can bring the flavor of restaurant pizza home. First I will explain how the impact of women have increase the demand of pizza orders, then look at some trends in products being offered by producers and food service operations, and finally share with you three mouth watering quick and easy pizza recipes. Let us first examine why pizza is so popular.
During the past ten years, pizza has become a popculture icon. Continuing its popularity throughout America with advertisements and the ease of having a pizza delivered to your door. We can all remember the parties, the people, and the delicious pizza on our birthdays. Attempt the Friday night pizza party with the kids. Play the referee and see how much or what pizza toppings go on. Trendy pizza restaurants, like Sidneys are hip for twenty or thirty-something's. A place for eating, drinking and to socialize at. Pizza restaurants are busy according to CREST data; Orders for pizza were up 53 percent from 1990 to 1994 in casual-dining restaurants, and pizza was ordered on 3.1 percent of eater occasions at casual-dining restaurants in 1994, (Restaurants USA). This trend is partially due to the increasing number of married women in the work force. Increase labor force participation on the part of women has instigated massive changes in the way consumers shop, eat, and cook (Asp, Kinsey Senauer, p.111). Although, women still cook and plan the majority of the meals at home, the convenience of pizza has made their job easier. All types of restaurants now offer pizza on their menus emphasizing a variety of pizza styles. Grocery stores like Byerly’s in Minnesota sell pizza fresh from the deli, frozen types and some stores will cook it for you. All of these conveniences make pizza a simple solution. The needs of family are met when time is in short supply. The current demand in pizza gives us the opportunity to enjoy pizza anytime on menus in fine-dinning, casual or even take-out restaurants.
Before placing an order from your favorite pizza restaurant, ask about the specials they offer. You’ll be surprised how long you’ll be on the phone. Pizza restaurants are offering an enormous number of pizza varieties to choose form. Almost anything that goes on a sandwich now can go on a pizza (R&I Marketplace July 1996 p.24). Everything from apples, chicken, pineapple, shrimp and wild mushrooms can go on a pizza. The array of choices can make any consumer confused. Many specialty pizza items like BBQ chicken are trends that come and go. Myself along with many others, avoid the odd combinations and stick to what is the familiar. A winner near to my heart is a thin crust sausage and pepperoni cheese pizza. Surprisingly the popularity of chicken topped pizza is being seen as a permanent item on today’s menus. Some of the more popular trends have not only focused on the ingredients, but focused on the crust and the ingredients that are baked in or on them. Pizza Hut’s theme of Family Night In offers a stuffed crust pizza with a ring of cheese in it. Another pizza giant, Domino’s bake garlic right into their Classic Hand Tossed dough, sprinkling Parmesan cheese around the edge. Both restaurants advertise their specialty crusts surrounded by a wide variety of fresh ingredients.
Foodservice operators are marketing specialty pizza crust as signature menu items. Customers are beginning to realize that the pizza crust is really just a form of bread, (R&I Marketplace July 1996 p.24). This realization has also prompted a number of new pizza crust products, at the grocery store level. Some new frozen pizza crusts have a self-rising element that promotes texture, while processed brands and baked pizza crust are ready available today. Most if not all of these products are value-added with sauce, cheese and toppings in the same display case. The most notable are the deli baked crust displays with ingredients and recipe's cards for their products. Restaurants and producers are making pizza a value both in time and nutrition. Yet, they neglect to share with us the simplicity of creating pizza at home. Let us move into the kitchen.
The increase of grocery store value-added items have made shopping easier. The availability of kitchen cooking aids such as pizza-stones, high quality sheet pans and tabletop mixers have made the cooking part easier. The recipes I offer are basic and many variations of them are possible. The pizza recipes each have different types of crust, ranging from home-made, processed and baked brands. In the following table I compare the home-made dough, processed dough brands, and a deli baked pizza crust for their nutritional content and price per serving (CPS). While there are many products on the market for pizza crust, the examples below where chosen not just by price, but more importantly for convenience. Pizza is an ideal meal to prepared at home. Once the ingredients are purchased, preparing, baked and serving, It’s less then 45 minutes away.
The continued popularity of pizza in the nineties has been contributed by the increase number of working women, less time spent cooking at home, and the consumers desire for an exciting variety in their diets. Pizza sales will continue to flourish as part of today’s American popculture. These trends are associated with the social interaction in eating out, combined with meeting the needs of the time conscious consumer. Families fast pace lifestyle reflects less cooking at home. Most of us are still attracted to the restaurant quality pizza offered at grocery stores. These mouth watering pies make it easy to prepare good tasting and satisfying meals.
In conclusion, remember to try something different the next time you order out or create your own pizza for your family. Also, remember to try it again if you liked it. Each pizza I make, is better than the one before. Yet more importantly, “There is no love sincerer than the love of food.” George Bernard Shaw.