The pizza industry been going to the extremes lately.
But on the other end of the spectrum, artisanal chains are blowing up.
With new players, pizza has been getting a fancy makeover with a personal touch — in the custom, assembly line style of Chipotle.
The divide is causing a decline in classic pizza chains that simply serve cheese or pepperoni.
The rise in custom pizza with organic ingredients might be attributed to the influence of millennials.
According to a study by Smart Flour Foods and The Center For Generational Kinetics, millennials love pizza.
Millennials also can truly influence many markets. “If [millennials] like a brand … our parents are looking at us on Facebook,” a millennial expert and marketing strategist of The Center for Generational Kinetics told Business Insider. “Our belief is if you win millennials, you have a really good shot at winning everybody else.” If you are unable to win millennials, you risk losing everybody else.
More critical to retailers, “we see millennials are the driver of retail, as well as food trends”.
The survey revealed what people (millennials, particularly) like about pizza, and it sheds on light on recent trends. According to the survey, 77% of pizza lovers say they care about the ingredients of their respective pizza being natural, and millennials care about having a gluten free option more than any other generation.
54% of millennials post pictures of their pizzas; only 26% of people in other generations do. This could account for the Instagram-friendly pie.
Since millennials care so much about these qualities, it might justify the onslaught of all-natural, highly customizable, beautiful looking pizza.
It’s not just millennials, though. Millennials…are more knowledgeable [about food] and boomers are looking for healthier options, trying to live a healthier lifestyle so they can live longer.
Perhaps one of the most significant reasons custom-made pizzas are on the rise is these pizza places offer options for those with dietary restrictions. Some children and adults can’t eat gluten, and it was noted dairy as a potential problem for many customers.
Plus for millennials, when you incorporate components like gluten free [crust] and ancient grains … it almost represents what you believe.
Millennials are more aware of quality of ingredients, and they want transparency. They’d like to know that they were sourced locally.
Millennials often can’t pay for the high quality food they claim they love, but pizza remains a relatively affordable food item.
You may have three roommates. You may not own a house … But you can splurge and get a really awesome pizza. And added to this great equalizer [is] uniqueness, which is just fabulous.
These sorts of pizzas sell well at lunch, when people are short on time or are not sharing their food with coworkers. Plus, these custom pizzas thrive at lunch … if the toppings are selected properly, they don’t have to be diet busters.
He also adds that these pizzas go so far as to be close to simulating [as if it’s something you’d find] if you were in Italy or you were in Naples. [That’s] typically how pizzas are cooked — very, very fast, thin crust.
But what about the other end of the spectrum?
The “over-the-top menu” items like a hot dog pizza were more tactical solutions … to create conversation, something to talk about, and to post across Instagram.
It also allows the brand to test new ideas, as many [are] positioned as…LTOs [limited time only offers].
The classic pizza shop may be in danger.
We still see the corner pizza shops with classic pepperoni pizza and chocolate and vanilla ice cream the but the reality is, people have changing dining preferences” toward customizable pizzas.
But because these mom and pop pizza shops do not offer options for those who crave custom experiences or have dietary restrictions, they could see some problems ahead. Many old school pizza shops struggle with that because they’re staying with their core. But the reality is, they’re seeing their business decline. And the reality is, if you don’t change, if you don’t evolve, you become a dinosaur.
Still, despite the rise of artisanal pizza and the insurgence of lowbrow pizza, everybody has their favorite Chinese restaurant and their favorite pizza shop.
However, with custom-made pizzas, Small said that when people customize their own pizzas, they can create their own masterpiece and control their own destiny. Yum!