You could call it the ‘roasting’ of pepperoni. When it comes to pizza toppings, it seems chicken has a leg up on the long time standby and has become the most popular protein ingredient listed on restaurant menus.
That’s according to the findings of a market research report by Technomic which revealed last week that chicken has become the most-listed protein topping in full-service restaurants in the US.
In the fast food or limited service segment, however, chicken falls third, topping mostly barbecue and Buffalo chicken style pizzas.
Other chicken applications include Thai, Southwest, curry, chicken parmesan, chicken Caesar and gyro pizzas.
Meanwhile, analysts also found that pizza consumption in the US is on the rise, with 41 percent of consumers polled saying they eat pizza once a week compared to 26 percent two years ago.
One of the big reasons? Gourmet ingredients, and innovative, specialty pizzas.
Recently, Pizza Hut’s hot dog-stuffed crust in the UK gained the attention of everyone from the Los Angeles Times, The Guardian in the UK to Fox and CBS News for its artery-busting potential. Pizza Hut had also caused a stir when they released their cheese-stuffed pizza in the 1990s.
Meanwhile, on the other end of the spectrum, consumers are also seeking out classic and authentic pizzas like Neapolitan, Sicilian and other regional flavors which are prepared using traditional methods like hearth-baked, wood-fired or brick-oven cooking, the report says.
Here are some other stats regarding pizza consumption in the US
37 percent of consumers order pizza from restaurants that aren’t necessarily pizzerias.
Almost half –- 49 percent –- of consumers are purchasing pizza from a grocery store once a month, making it the second leading foodservice source for pizza, after limited-service restaurants.
68 percent of consumers now order carryout pizza once a month or more.
45 percent order delivery once a month.