Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development


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In the age of Instagram, pizzas that showcase a range of artfully-placed colors and texturally interesting ingredients are essential for that all-important “hover-over-the-table” shot. Enter ricotta, which pizza chefs are piping into rosettes or dolloping with a spoon to create a pop of bright white—and a creamy bite—amidst a sea of red sauce and brown meats. Justin Hellwig, the founder and owner of It’s Za Time!, a pop-up and event pizza concept based in Arizona, pipes ricotta rosettes onto his Sourdough Za with mortadella, featuring Fra’ Mani mortadella, mozzarella, garlic extra-virgin olive oil and basil pesto.


On any pizza menu, there are a few must-haves, “consumers-will-riot-if-we-don’t-offer-them” options: sausage, pepperoni, mushrooms, mozarella. But with a dynamic category like pizza, where its popularity demands new builds and constant innovation in order to stand out, a new generation of ingredients and toppings are keeping this Italian favorite fresh and on-trend. Let’s call these the “new classics.” They aren’t on every pizza chain menu (yet), but they are go-tos for hip pizzaiolos crafting unique pies across the country.

About The Author

Mike Kostyo

Mike Kostyo is the VP of Menu Matters. Mike has been a recurring guest on Fusion TV’s “The A.V. Club” show; has been featured on NBC News, CBS Radio and Gimlet Media’s “Why We Eat What We Eat” podcast; is regularly featured in newspapers and magazines; speaks at numerous conferences across the country; and was a judge on Food Network’s “Eating America.” For nearly 11 years, Mike was an associate director and trends expert at one of the industry's largest research firms. He has a master's in Gastronomy from Boston University, plus certificates in the culinary arts, baking arts, wine and artisan cheese production. [email protected]