Gaining with gluten-free options
The future of pizza will include a widening variety of gluten-free options due to growing demand for gluten-free products, whether for dietary necessity or personal choice.
“Gluten-free continues to grow as consumers are choosing gluten-free options for dietary reasons,” said Tina Battistoni, customer marketing manager of prepared foods for Rich Products. “I don’t think it shows any signs of slowing. Gluten-free menu penetration continues to grow with pizza being one of the most prevalent gluten-free menu options.”
While gluten-free has come a long way, Ms. Battistoni said, opportunity exists for improving gluten-free crusts, both in flavor and texture, to appeal to the broader market.
DiGiorno introduced its first gluten-free thin-crust product this year with the Ultra Thin Crust Pizza. The crispy thin crust is topped with non-G.M.O. ingredients such as 100% real cheeses and Italian sausage. The Ultra Thin Crust Pizzas were released in May for a suggested retail price of $6.49.
Nation Pizza produces gluten-free dough for its manufacturers. Vince Nasti, vice-president of operations, said gluten-free, like other organic and natural claims, has proved it has staying power. “Those items have really taken off; there is really a demand for those types of products,” he said.