The Future of Pizza in America
The popularity of pizza as an American staple goes almost unrivaled by any other food. In a span of about one lifetime, America went from the first pizzeria opening in the early 1900’s to having at least one pizza restaurant open in almost every town. According to the USDA, 13% of Americans eat pizza on any given day!
With such an explosive history, what’s next for our pizza obsession?
Pizza is certainly going to keep diversifying as small business owners take their own approach to the perfect pie and the war between New York style and Chicago deep dish gets new contenders. Barstool Sports’ founder David Portnoy has swayed pizza culture considerably with his pizza reviews. Posting a YouTube pizza review almost every day, frequently getting over 1 million reviews, Portnoy has projected his ideal style of “bar-style pizza” across the US as the new standard.
After a high rating from Portnoy, lines can be out the door an around the block. With this type of boon, it’s no surprise that many pizza places are now working to make their crust a little crispier and their cheese a little tastier in hopes that the king of pizza reviews gives them a decent score.
Despite the pressure to conform to what’s drawing the most attention, some local pizza places are staying true to their roots. It’s been difficult enough to survive the waves of restrictions, lack of employees, and any personal disruptions due to COVID-related illnesses. And after all, if your business has been serving the community for years, they might not appreciate the change in recipe regardless of how many pizza reviews they’ve seen.
Even though a considerable number of pizza restaurants went under over the last two years (sorry if your favorite spot was one of them), our consumption of pizza will most likely continue to grow. The pace of life is only getting faster and our need for quick but delicious food is growing. The pizza places that have adapted and survived the pandemic are now starting to flourish again. Pizza restaurants like Ambler Pizza, who set up custom contactless pizza delivery systems to allow even rural pizza lovers to get their fix during the pandemic, plan to keep it going long after this ordeal is over.
A Pizza Prediction
In the next twenty years we will see the differences between deep dish and thin crust dwarfed by more adventurous pizza variations. Traditional pizza chefs are already turning in their graves to see some of the stuffed crust variations by fast food chains like Dominos, but this is just the beginning. Following a similar trajectory to pizza itself, BBQ short rib and seafood pizza variations will find their way on to menus first in major cities, then into the suburbs and eventually into rural cities.
Homemade pizza quality will get better, prompting more people to bulk up on ingredients or frozen pizza and cook at home. We will probably see some creative 3D printers and small ovens that are good enough to bring restaurant quality pizza right into your home. If the quality gets high enough, we could see pop-up mini pizzerias on every block!
Finally, the pineapple-on-pizza debate will rage on as part joke part serious debate... giving us something to talk about and hopefully something to laugh and bond over as a meme.
For more posts like this, check out our blog.