The Sauce Source
November 2018
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The Sauce Source from Paradise

In the last edition of Sauce Source, we covered trends impacting our industry, focusing on: ethnic flavors, healthy focus, veggie centric, clean label and local/selling with a story. Now we are doing a deep dive into pizza-specific trends. First, a few facts:

  • Pizza remains a staple, 83% of consumers eat it at least once a month
  • 57% of 18-34 year olds eat pizza at least weekly

These are big numbers and a large audience to capture. So, how can you use these trends to differentiate yourself from the crowd? Fast casual pizza has changed the landscape and consumer expectations. Here are a few ways to keep up:

  • Specialize in differentiated, unique offerings
  • Try regional variations
  • Become more authentic
  • Expand pizza dayparts with lighter or portable options


How do you build the best pizza according to consumers? Not surprisingly, sauce is key! Sauce quality was outranked only by dough/crust quality. This graph shows how important using a great sauce is:


A new sauce does not have to be a highly specialized sauce for just one pizza. It may be a concentrated flavor pouch of sauce that is added to your current sauce to create a Limited Time Offer that is unique. Or it can use in-house ingredients to make a new, exciting sauce from ingredients on hand.

Sauces have become a key point of innovation and differentiation, pointing to the importance of signature sauces.

Original Sauce Ingredients
Top Growth Pizza Ingredients

Showcasing bold, spicy flavors are a great way to differentiate through sauce. Sriracha, buffalo sauce, and chile-based sauces can help you do that.

As consumers become more adventurous in trying new flavors and merge with pizza connoisseurs, make sure to offer pre-built, culinary driven options.

Pizza Order Format

Chef designed pizzas are ordered more

The opportunities are endless.  Here are a few examples to differentiate your pizza offerings:

Honey Sriracha Chicken Pizza - Honey softens the intense chile heat of red jalapenos in Paradise Honey Sriracha Sauce. Topped with mozzarella, sweet onions, jalapenos, and tender chicken.

Porchetta Pizza - Taste true Italian heritage with aromatic Paradise Tuscan Pizza Sauce topped with fresh mozzarella and Asiago cheeses, succulent pieces of porchetta and the sweet aroma of roasted garlic.

Peppa Pepperoni Pie - Spicy pepperoni and mozzarella cheese are the perfect complement to Paradise Peppadew Sauce, featuring the sweet, mild heat of Peppadew peppers with notes of garlic.


Regional pizza versions abound in the USA and many have not hit mainstream. We all know about a New York style pie, Chicago deep-dish and Neapolitan style. Detroit style has been making a comeback recently, but what about Jersey Boardwalk pizza, St. Louis style pies, Roman style cut with scissors, Quad Cities pizza, Trenton Tomato Pie or Ohio Valley style pizzas? Or perhaps it is a sauce with a unique regional ingredient that sets it apart. There are too many varieties to list. Let Paradise show you how they are different and how we can create the perfect sauce for your menu! How about trying one of these regional pies?

The Arch Pie - A square St. Louis Style pie topped with Paradise Oreganata Tomato Sauce with house-made sausage and Provel cheese, on a cracker thin crust cut into squares.

Trenton Tomato - A round, dense and crunchy crust lightly topped with mozzarella and then topped with a thin Paradise Crushed Tomato Basil Sauce and baked.

Texas BBQ Brisket Pizza - Mozzarella cheese topped with smoky, sliced brisket. Finished with Paradise Texas BBQ Sauce and crispy fried onions.

Here are the current flavor favorites by region in the USA:

Flavor Favorites


This diagram shows consumers want authenticity. Sauce choice is a very important piece of the pie, literally! It also helps to showcase the ingredients used in the sauce on the menu, since these ingredients can help improve perceptions of authenticity. To showcase your pizza sauce, think of using terms like vine-ripened, grown in the USA, 100% California tomatoes, or packed within hours of harvest.

Areas for Improvement

Beyond Dinner

Consumers are also looking for more convenient options and pizza can easily expand into dayparts beyond classic dinnertime.

Smaller size options can entice consumers to indulge in a meal of pizza beyond dinner. Consumers also have less time for the lunch. So, offering snacking and portable options make pizza more attractive throughout the day and evening. Smaller sizes are also helpful to test new flavors, as consumers are willing to take a chance to try new flavors with smaller plates.

Small Plate Occasion Drivers

Consumers are increasingly likely to order small plates and appetizers from LSRs for late night and happy hour occasions as well as small plates from FSRs as midafternoon snacks.  The graph also showcases that value and variety are both very important to consumers.  Here are a few ideas that fit with this trend:

Italian Piada Pizza Sandwich - Paradise Spicy Calabrian Chile Sauce with salami, pepperoni, smoky ham and mozzarella rolled in a thin pizza dough, then baked to create a portable pizza.

Italian Pizza Nachos - Small triangles of traditional pizza dough baked until golden and topped with your choice of pizza toppings. Served with Paradise Italian-Style Charred Tomato Salsa.

Pizza Kits - “To go” kits for easy pizza assembly at home, including a parbaked dough, small pouch of Paradise Artisan 3-Cheese Marinara, cheese, and toppings. Consider co-branding opportunities for all components.

It is obvious the pizza landscape is changing, with much influence from consumer demands and the expansion of fast casual pizza and its influence. We hope these highlights give some insights and solutions on how Paradise can help you address the trends to refresh menus and add innovation!

For more trend info and ideas, contact Allison Rittman,
Paradise’s Corporate Research Chef at

Be sure to check out our blog.

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