If 2014 is any gauge, the changes we see in the food industry in 2015 will be coming as fast as a tweet on your mobile device.
This past year, we saw the coming of age of sustainability and environmental concern within restaurants; a commitment to local community became a building block for branding and reputation; fresh foods bought locally repeated the idea of a place that cares about its customers as well as its food; finally, and most importantly, a continuing wave of technology rose to new heights as a form of communication and speed of service.
Menu-wise, it was all about whole grains, ancient grains and gluten-free foods, while organic and non-GMO menu ingredients made headlines. Bite-size ideas, children’s nutrition and veggies like kale and brussel sprouts were somehow aligned with everything bacon and gourmet Angus beef burgers.
On the pizza front, pepperoni remained the No. 1 topping of choice but in almost every pizza restaurant in town you could also find a swath of fresh, smoked or wild ingredients to add to your pie. At Liguria, we introduced Bravo Gusto Pepperoni to take advantage of the trend towards smoky flavors.
So, as we approach 2015, let’s take a look at the trends that are bound to either evolve or emerge:
- Build-Your-Own-Pizza – This singular concept hit a high note at Blaze Pizza, Pie Five and PizzaRev, all of whom are rolling out locations faster than you can say “Pepperoni.” The idea of customization is ideal for consumers looking to “have it your way.”
- One-Food Concepts – Well, the pizza folks were one of the first to concentrate on one type of food. Now many have followed by narrowing it down even further to just grilled cheese sandwiches, meatballs or ramen. Many of these ideas evolved out of food trucks which didn’t have the space to offer large menus.
- Ethnic Foods – From the ever-popular Fusion foods to classic breakfasts and exotic appetizers, ethnically-inspired menus will make a huge impact on the food scene. Look for things as obscure and delightful as Peruvian cuisine and Southeast Asian ideas to emerge.
- Online Ordering – Brand after brand is announcing the installment of online ordering systems to tap into mobile devices and increase speed of service. If you haven’t done so by now, it is time to look into an online ordering system to better serve your highly mobile customers.
- Food Waste Reduction/Management – It goes without saying that you have to reduce your costs while wasting less food. It is not just the right thing to do for your bottom line but for the environment.
- Sustainability – The benefits of natural, local, sustainable, organic, and even the labeling of products manufactured using genetically modified ingredients are a very real and substantial part of the foodservice conversation. How and where you source your ingredients, how your prepare them, how you light your restaurant, energize it and even build it are an integral part of any credible eating establishment and will remain so for years to come.
- A Better Pizza Experience – Beer and pizza have been partners since the dawn of the pizza oven. Now it’s all about pairing craft beers with your pizza. Then there’s the movement toward customization, freshness and additional variety. And, of course, ideas like the 3-minute pizza. Ultimately it’s about improving the overall pizza experience.
- Tech, Tech, Tech – The unstoppable movement towards mobility means that every restaurant has to examine how they are communicating with their customers. Is your website up to date? Do you have online ordering? Do you tweet, post and put pictures on Instagram? Do you have a mobile app? Customers, especially the Millennials, will expect you to be on top of the tech game going forward. Overall, everyone is saying make it easy to order and eat … they want the convenience of how and when they want it.
The turn of the calendar offers each of us an opportunity to reinvent our thinking and our attitudes toward business, customer service and pizza innovation.
At Liguria Foods, we are proud of our plant and production team and know that our focus to produce the highest quality pepperoni and other pizza products remains firm each day of every year. Liguria Foods produces the Pizzaiolo’s Pepperoni – Happy New Year!