In the supermarket deli, freshly made pizzas cater to consumers who plan to eat them immediately or heat them up after they get home from work.

For British Columbia-based Pace Processing & Product Development, a part of Toronto-based Bond Bakery Brands, take-and-bake remains a key focus area with its Artisan Hand Panned Pizza products at the forefront.

“Consumers are looking for quality products in the HMR [home meal replacement] set that provide value when compared to the products that can be purchased within the restaurant or foodservice space,” said Sean Darrah, president, Pace Processing.

Atoria’s Family Bakery, Gilroy, Calif., focuses on using simple ingredients to bake its pizza crusts, naan, lavash and other flatbread that are convenient for putting together a pizza, meal or snack, noted Lilea Eshoo, chief operating officer.

“People have busy schedules and are often looking for the quickest and easiest meal to throw together,” she said. “Our pizza crust is perfect for that while also delivering on taste. We’ve also noticed that making pizza at home is on the rise. All of our flatbreads make a perfect crust for an easy, homemade pizza night.”

Atoria’s offers a Cauliflower & Coconut Mini Lavash that became so popular among low-carb consumers that the company created a Cauliflower & Coconut keto-friendly pizza crust. For making personalized pizzas, it’s rolling out Mini Naan that is available in Traditional and Upcycled Multigrain, which is made from grains rescued from the end of the beer brewing process.

Additionally, its Cinnanaan, a cinnamon and sugar variety, can be transformed into dessert pizzas topped with fresh fruit.

“Upcycling is a newer idea around the US, giving it plenty of opportunity to rise,” Ms. Eshoo said. “Food waste is something that concerns 99% of Americans, and choosing upcycled products is one small way to divert food waste and reclaim high-protein, high-fiber grains by giving them this second life. Pizza in itself is a resourceful way to use up odds and ends in the fridge and prevent waste so this item is truly a win-win for consumers looking to lessen their footprint.”  

The better-for-you segment can incrementally grow the category, but it’s a constantly shifting landscape.

 “In the frozen aisle, interest in No-Carb Pizza products continues to see higher traction among consumers, while select offerings, such as gluten-free, for example, seem to have slowed down and have potentially reached a peak,” Mr. Darrah said. “Better-for-you pizzas remain a small category segment for Pace Processing. One barrier we see to the category, in our experience, is the perception of consumer value relative to the higher price point for select customers.”

However, most consumers prefer mainstream pizzas unless they medically need gluten-free alternatives, they’re highly dedicated to a keto diet or the BFY pizza makes them feel better about themselves, noted Joe Delduco, vice president of sales and marketing, Molinaro’s Find Italian Foods, Mississauga, Ontario. 

“They may like the idea of gluten-free, but nobody has yet perfected the taste that makes a gluten-free pizza taste like a really good pizza,” he said. “At the end of the day, people want an indulgent meal. They aren’t watching their weight. They’re saying, ‘I’m cheating today. I’m eating regular pizza.’ ”

This article is an excerpt from the August 2023 issue of Baking & Snack. To read the entire feature on Pizza, click here.