Following its attendance at the International Pizza Expo 2018, the Ardent Mills culinary team shares ideas for using premium flours and grains to add value to one of America's favorite foods and one of the most vibrant categories in the restaurant industry.
"High-quality wheat flour is the foundation for strong, flavorful pizza dough, and additional grains can do so much more for pizzerias," says Chef Jason Gronlund, technical sales manager Foodservice, Ardent Mills. "Ancient and heirloom flours and unmilled grains can differentiate crusts, add texture to salads and inspire innovative ideas across pizzeria menus."
Ardent Mills showcased pizza flours, ancient and heirloom grains, as well as new products: crisped and IQF grains. Here are four pizzeria trends and ideas from Ardent Mills to watch:
1. Pizza for Better Health – Consumers have a range of dietary concerns and preferences when it comes to healthful eating, and these demands are showing up in their choices for all food, not just traditional "health food." In pizza, that means that whole, mixed and gluten-free grains can add nutrient density, satiety, higher protein and more fiber to dough formulations. These grains also bring culinary interest to the crust with varied flavors, textures and colors. People appreciate having their pizza and getting a nutritional bonus, too.
Menu Idea: Power-Pack Pizza: An energy-packed flatbread pizza featuring Ultragrain® Whole Wheat Flour crust topped with sweet potatoes, kale, ricotta, roasted garlic and onion, and fresh parsley.
2. Food Trends in Pizza Format – Consider on-trend ideas that aren't entirely new but are new when applied to pizza. For instance, Ardent Mills featured an "Avocado Toast" spelt flatbread crust with olive oil, mozzarella, shaved Parmesan and green onion during the expo. As the fast-casual pizza segment gets more crowded and competitive, operators need differentiators. Tying into on-trend ideas and popular ingredients can do the trick.
Menu Idea: El Hombre Pizza: Heirloom White Sonora wheat crust layered with Mexican street corn, carnitas, Hatch green chilis, guacamole smear and shredded Jack/cheddar and cotija cheeses; and Great Plains Quinoa Crisps as garnish.
3. Better Sides and Extras – As pizzas become more upscale and artisan-styled, it's important that salads, starters and side-dish options keep pace. Operators are using pizza dough for breadsticks, garlic knots and other appetizers. Salads and sides with varied textures and crisped or chewy grains pair well with pizza and bring more nutrition to the table.
Menu Idea: Great Grain Gremolata: IQF White Sonora Wheat, IQF Pure-Purple™ Barley and IQF Farrow (Spelt) with basil, Italian parsley, lemon zest, lemon juice, tarragon, black pepper, salt and crushed red pepper; served with breadsticks.
4. Dessert Pizzas – More pizzerias are adding dessert pizzas to the menu in a bid to capture add-on sales. So far, apple pie filling and chocolate versions have been some of the first to emerge. Fresher ingredients, such as seasonal, regional berries, fresh basil or mint, sweetened, soft cheese and citrus zest are some great flavor pairings for Italian settings that score a "wow factor." Operators should try smaller sizes in dessert pizzas – either individually sized or small but sharable.
Menu Idea: Northwest Berry Pizza: Sprouted-grain crust with blackberries (and cherries, if available), basil, ricotta and lemon zest; dusted with powdered sugar.
For more information on the ingredients used at the Pizza Expo, contact the Ardent Mills team at 800-851-9618 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Ardent Mills
Ardent Mills is the premier flour-milling and ingredient company whose vision is to be the trusted partner in nurturing its customers, consumers and communities through innovative and nutritious grain-based solutions. Ardent Mills' operations and services are supported by more than 40 flour mills and bakery-mix facilities along with a specialty bakery, Ardent Mills Innovation Center and Mobile Innovation Center, all located in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico. Deeply rooted in communities throughout North America, Ardent Mills is headquartered in Denver, Colorado, and employs more than 100 certified millers, supporting thousands of local jobs and contributing billions of dollars to local economies.
To learn more about Ardent Mills, visit www.ardentmills.com.