Pizza is a perennial American favorite that, as big as it already is, somehow continues to get bigger every year.

Grocery prepared foods sections are continuing to thrive post-COVID, as consumers who got used to saving money by not going out to eat as much increasingly look to the perimeter for easy meal solutions.

Put those two food facts together and what do you get? Surging demand for ready-to-eat and heat-and-eat pizza in deli/prepared.

Pizza dough and crust specialist Baker’s Quality’s current lineup for the prepared foods sections of grocery stores is “very robust,” said Anne Cookson, the company’s vice president of sales and marketing.

For those looking for more quick-and-easy solutions, Baker’s Quality makes pre-sheeted self-rising pizza crusts, parbaked pizza crusts and premade flatbreads.

For more traditional applications, the company encourages its customers to explore its dough balls, since they can provide a wider range of products such as pizza, calzones and breadsticks, Cookson said. They also allow customers to control how thin or thick of pizza they want to make.

balls of pizza doughSource: Baker's Quality

In recent years, Baker’s Quality has seen tremendous growth in its dough ball division, she added. 

“It’s our opinion that the labor shortage is causing grocers to re-evaluate their practice of making dough in house. We can provide doughs of the same quality but with increased consistency and ease of use.”

In addition, the company has launched a retail-specific crust brand, Crustology, that’s meant to fill the gap between premade frozen pizzas and delivery.

Several of Baker’s Quality partners in the Midwest, in particular, are using Crustology crusts to create pizza kits in their deli sections, Cookson said.

Baker's Quality Crustology pizza crust in packaging next to a cooked pizzaSource: Baker's Quality

With Crustology, rather than purchasing a pre-made pizza, customers can buy one kit with all of the necessary ingredients and enjoy the pizza making process at home with their family and friends.

When it comes to trends in the pizza world, Baker’s Quality has found that customers are consistently asking for products that align with nutrition goals, Cookson said — better-for-you crusts that shoppers feel good eating and feeding their families is a prime example.

“We launched our Crustology brand with the intention of serving a better pizza at home. We’re always focused on providing products with clean ingredient statements and improving the quality of our products naturally.”

(Healthy) Detroit-style

The latest pizza innovation from Rich Products combines a top health trend with a top pizza trend. Rich’s Gluten-Free Parbaked Detroit Style Pizza Crust is a 9”x7” premium personal-sized crust that, like other parbaked pizza crusts from Rich’s, offers operators the flexibility and ease of a freezer-to-oven format that bakes up reliably and consistently every time with minimal skill required, according to the company.

slice of pizza in a square shapeSource: Rich Products Corporation

“Rich’s truly has a pizza crust option for every consumer at the table,” said Alyssa Barrett, customer marketing manager, Rich Products. “The new Gluten Free Parbaked Detroit Style Pizza Crust is the ideal solution for Pizza Shops, QSRs, and fast casual restaurants. It’s a delicious crust that’s not only labor-friendly, but also uniquely meets the exploding demand for this regional pizza style and the growing requests for gluten-free alternatives.”

The crusts are each 9 ounces and come 20 per case, with a shelf life of 240 days frozen or 7 days refrigerated.

The product has earned a “Superior Clean Label” rating. It has no artificial colors, flavors or sweeteners, no high fructose corn syrup and no hydrogenated oils. It also has no bleached flour, MSG or added sulfites.

Pizza Expo

The International Pizza Expo and Conference, March 28-30 in Las Vegas, celebrated its 39th year with a full lineup of activities and events.

The world’s largest pizza industry event featured more than 60 seminars, workshops and demonstrations covering everything from dough to business management.

Attendees connected with like-minded pizza professionals through special events like the Beer & Bull Idea Exchange and the Pizza Expo Block Party. More than 270 industry suppliers attended.

Commissary insider: improve efficiencies shredding cheese

The Somerset SCS-150 cheese shredder is small enough to fit into a retail location and strong enough to handle commissary style production. It can shred 25+ pounds of cheese per minute, and comes fully assembled with a 3/16” standard blade. Save costs shredding cheese for pizza or specialty cheese programs.